Tessa Thompson Talks Style And Supporting Small Businesses
Photo: BFA, Courtesy of American Express

While not everyone is able to become an American Express Platinum Member, the company is curating conscious projects to make sure there is support for underrepresented businesses. On Saturday, the credit card conglomerate threw its first-ever Platinum House in New York City hosted by actress Tessa Thompson. Thompson is an avid supporter of small businesses especially through her fashion choices where she’s likes to incorporate pieces from Black or POC designers.

When applying for an American Express Platinum Card, it’s usually rewarded to individuals who are in high financial standings. And with the holiday season in full swing, this campaign comes right on time with the credit card company encouraging its clientele to support small businesses when shopping this season and beyond.

Tessa Thompson

For Thompson, she truly enjoys shopping small, which is why this partnership was a perfect fit. “I really do sincerely, not saying this just because I’m here, I love to shop small,” Thompson exclaimed. “It’s a favorite thing of mine. I’m always trying to find something that’s super meaningful and special.”

ESSENCE got a chance to chat with the actress about her mission to support small businesses, her favorite winter style trend, and how she is spending the holidays.

ESSENCE: What is your favorite time about this season?

Thompson: Getting to spend time with family. I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my co-workers, which, is lovely. We’ve been shooting this film, it’s so intimate. In another way, it’s like a family away from family. This Thanksgiving holiday, with this sort of new family and friends we sat around a fire in a circle and talked about things that we’re grateful for.

ESSENCE: How do you balance your style while your switching from coast to coast?

Thompson: Because of the weather in Los Angeles, there are no rules in terms of dressing. The seasons don’t dictate that you have to wear a coat. When I was growing up in high school, it was not uncommon for people to wear a pair of cutoff shorts and Ugg boots. Nothing made sense in relation to each other. If I can I spend most of the year in New York because I love the way the seasons change. You get to really pull out a heavy coat and layer. I love that, particularly now that I’ve gotten more sensible about what I wear.

Tessa Thompson

ESSENCE: How do you create looks with your stylist, Wayman + Micah?

Thompson: Well, for example, in this case, this is the first-ever American Express Platinum House in New York City. We’re celebrating how to shop small. I love the idea for the guys to do something that’s sort of on theme. I wanted the look to be a small business and small label here in New York. I think we’re always looking to break new ground. I like to wear things that are bold, fun, and interesting. I love to support young designers, particularly young black designers, or designers of color. That’s sort of something that we’re always looking for. We have so much fun together.

“I love to support young designers, particularly young black designers, or designers of color.” – Tessa Thompson

ESSENCE: When you’re not on a red carpet, what is your favorite thing to wear?

Thompson: I really love vintage clothes. I like to wear a lot of turtlenecks, it is a classic piece. This season, I’m really inspired by fleece. I think fleece has never been cooler.

ESSENCE: How would you describe your holiday shopping?

I’m a meaningful trinkets person. Obviously, around the holidays, I definitely have some shopping that I need to do, but I’m one of those people that buys throughout the year. I tend to buy things that remind me of somebody. I’m often traveling for work, but on my days off, I really love to go out and explore a city through dining and shopping.


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