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Tessa Thompson: Speaking out 'emboldens' others to do the same

Sarah Malik

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wants to inspire others to speak out against injustice.

The ‘Westworld’ actress has revealed she once defended herself on a film set when a “squeak” came out of her when she “didn’t even mean for it to”, and although she thought she would be ridiculed for trying to stand up for herself, she realised other women in the room were just “waiting to squeak together”.

And now, Tessa hopes that by speaking out against injustice herself, she can encourage and inspire others to do the same.

She said: “There’s invariably people in the room that have been silenced. I remember a distinct moment on set. A squeak just came out of me, I didn’t even mean for it to, and then I could see the secret little smile on some of the women around the room, and you realize that there’s a choir of wheels waiting to squeak together. It emboldens folks, and you realize you have support and you’re not squeaking just on your own behalf. You’re squeaking for everybody.”

Tessa recently signed a development deal with HBO, and is excited to “create a utopia” in her work where no-one feels discriminated against.

She added: “That’s my favourite thing to think about, particularly in building this company. Thinking around the voices I invite into it, how I allow them to retain as much ownership over their work and their ideas as possible…I’m really interested in trying to create a utopia. It’s imperative, because I’m curious about being able to give opportunity to folks that people might say are less experienced. A lot of people are batting a lot higher than their average because they just, frankly, haven’t been given the opportunity.”

And although the 37-year-old actress will be stepping out of her comfort zone, Tessa has said she can’t wait to get stuck in.

Speaking to Town & Country magazine, she said: “I think that’s why I like what I do. I’ve always felt a little afraid of what happens when we get too comfortable, that we’re not growing. Maybe I’m a masochist or maybe I’m a sucker for the discomfort of the first squeak.”

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