Sure, Ariana Grande is engaged to an SNL cast member and Drake has a son, but most people would say it’s Tessa Thompson who’s having a record year. Not only did she make a reappearance in the TV version of her breakout film Dear White People, but she also stole the spotlight as a member of nomination-worthy ensembles in Westworld, Annihilation, and Boots Riley’s summer hit Sorry To Bother You.
But even when Thompson steps out of her eclectic roster of characters, it’s her real-life personality that tends to grab people’s attention — especially when it comes to her statement-making fashion a nd beauty choices. Now, with all eyes on her, there’s no better time to walk through Thompson’s impressive Hollywood transformation, from a fresh-faced actress to a bold boundary-breaking star. Check it out, ahead.
From the very beginning of her career — and a quick appearance on Cold Case — Thompson never shied away from a bold lip, starting with this classic red.
Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
Before the days of her graphic eyeliner and twisted updos, Thompson stuck to natural makeup ands loose curls for almost every red carpet.
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
With every additional role, it seemed as though Thompson was gaining more and more confidence with her look — and this bold orange lipstick was no exception.
Photo: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.
Sticking to classics like a black cat-eye and muted red lip, Thompson looks like a Hollywood star in the making.
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
A year later, Thompson lightened up her ends with some auburn highlights.
Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage.
Fast forward to 2014 and Thompson rocked — for the first and last time — a warm honey blonde hue.
Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic.
While attending the 6th Annual AAFCA Awards, Thompson let her shiny curls take center stage, complementing the look with a glowing base and burnt-orange lip.
Photo: Unique Nicole/Getty Images.
For the European premiere of Creed, Thompson opted for something sleek and sexy: a tousled blowout, bronze smoky eye, and wash of nude gloss.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images.
Certainly in the top five of her best looks, this blunt bob and brown monochrome makeup combo turned heads at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Photo: J. Merritt/Getty Images.
Thompson and her hairstylist Lacy Redway channeled Frida Kahlo with a modern take on her classic floral updo. Her makeup artist Kirin Bhatty stuck to soft browns and pinks to keep her look feeling soft and romantic.
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.
Thompson looked fresh as hell at HBO’s Golden Globe Awards after party, where Bhatty gave her a glowing makeup look and Redway topped her off with a set of cornrows.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.
According to Redway, you’re looking at Thompson’s glorious natural texture here. The modern cut and shape — not to mention that killer wine-stained lip — makes this one of our all-time favorite looks on her.
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.
Thompson’s first time at the Met Gala was nothing short of memorable — and it was all in the dramatic details, like her face and body pearl embellishments, upside down white liner, and three-tiered bun.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Most recently, Thompson became the newest member of Redway’s “braid gang.” Look even closer, and you’ll spot her subtle matchy-matchy red eyeliner, officially cementing her as the red carpet beauty star we always knew she was.
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29