Actress Tessa Thompson is covering the July 2019 issue of Marie Claire magazine.
In the issue, Thompson talks equal pay, fame, and working with Chris Hemsworth. Thompson recently finished shooting Sylvie, a new love story set in Harlem, and she will soon be shooting season three of HBO’s Westworld where she plays a corporate executive named Charlotte Hale. This is all in addition to Thompson portraying the voice of Lady in the live-action adaption of Lady and the Tramp and the actress is also starring in Men In Black: International.
Thompson feels that only creatives of color are truly creating opportunities for actresses of color.“I look at actresses who are not of color and at the opportunities that they’re presented in terms of directors wanting to make work for them. When I look at my contemporaries of color, it’s only other artists of color who are doing that in a real, robust way.”
During Thompson’s interview, she talked about how exhausting it is for people to continuously find the success of black movies “shocking” such as Jordan Peele’s Us and Black Panther. “The idea that it was shocking is just tired,” the actress said.
Thompson also didn’t shy away from talking about equal pay in Hollywood, and not just in relation to men vs. women, but in relation to white actors/actresses vs. actors/actresses of color.
“When we talk about issues of pay equity, that means something different to Natalie Portman than it does to me. Women who are not of color are talking about pay equity with men. [We] are so far away from that,” Thompson said.
“The truth is, the system where you assess international value is inherently sexist and racist because we haven’t had those opportunities. The only way to disrupt that is to create new models. When we were having the conversation around how we structure our deals [Men In Black: International], I said, ‘I understand who Chris Hemsworth is and who I am not relative to him, globally and otherwise. But in the success of the film, that changes. In success, I want equity. Because then you can’t make the same argument.’”
Thompson also discussed Hollywood’s Time’s Up movement, saying that it created a space for her to talk about things that she never would have brought up before, including pay equity.