When people have asked me what it was like to attend the Met Gala this year, I’ve told them about the funny holding pen where all the journalists and photographers waited in the basement of the museum, the fact that the red carpet was actually beige, the expressions on Jaden Smith and Kris Jenner’s faces when they greeted each other and the hilarity of watching grown men assist grown women with the transportation of their weighty skirts as they ascended the staircases.
What I haven’t talked about is how enthralling it was to see Tessa Thompson in the flesh. I haven’t talked about it because it felt like a secret between me and my eyeballs that Tessa Thompson was, in fact, the most naturally stunning human being I’d ever seen up-close, and in a room full of very attractive people that’s saying a lot. On top of that, I really liked her outfit. Though simple compared to some of the other ensembles that walked the carpet that night, her black dress was styled perfectly with a tweed blazer and thick choker.
I’m talking about Tessa Thompson now, two months later, because everyone else is about to be — or already is. She is far from new to the scene, having starred in dozens of films (and winning Best Actor for her role in Mississippi Damned at the American Black Film Festival in 2009), but she is undeniably having “a moment” right now, as they say in the biz. She played one of the lead roles in the recently released female-led scifi horror film Annihilation, she became a major player in the latest season of Westworld, she made multiple noteworthy appearances in rumored girlfriend Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer music videos (including one inside Monáe’s legendary vagina pants) this spring and, just last week, she made headlines for what Racked aptly referred to as her character’s “literal statement jewelry” in Sorry to Bother You.
As evidenced by the press photos of Thompson I’ve mentally bookmarked over the past month, it has become clear to me that her personal style is also on its way to being revolutionary in its own right — another indicator, no doubt, that she’s about to go from famous to mega-famous.
Though Thompson has always looked great on the red carpet, I’ve noticed she and her stylists (Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald) have really stepped up their game lately. Her outfits have been a parade of the exact quality that personal style is meant to exude: personality. Like a fingerprint or a signature, they’ve conveyed a sense of specialness that feels all-too-rare in this era of ubiquitous Instagram trends and safe red-carpet dressing.
They’ve been different, colorful and weird-in-a-good-way: a crinkled metallic suit, a red skirt paired with a matching cape, a midi dress accented by feathery shoes, a boxy briefcase and dapper necktie. Not only that, but I also get the sense that this is just a warm-up lap — that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the depths of both her style and her talent. I can’t wait to see what she wears (and does) next.
Any other Thompson oglers out there? Meet me in the comments.