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Is Tessa Thompson Really Deaf?

The answer might surprise you.

When an actor or actress plays a role so well…sometimes, fans can actually mix up reality with entertainment. 

For a while, people thought actors and actresses really performed all sex scenes in movies and films to sell the authenticity of the situation, only to find out later that some sex scenes were nothing more than camera angle tricks and exaggerated movements on behalf of the actors. Unfortunately, even after all the behind-the-scenes documentaries and in-depth interviews with actors discussing what it took to create a particular role, we still are awed enough by their acting to forget that the actor is not the same as the character they’re portraying. This is why after seeing Tessa Thompson play hearing impaired Bianca Taylor in Creed, people still ask, “is Tessa Thompson really deaf?!”


If you haven’t seen the Creed franchise starring Michael B Jordan, you should find some time this week to watch it after reading this article. It follows the story of Adonis Creed–son of the famous character Apollo Creed in the Rocky sequel–tries to follow in his father’s footsteps as he enters the boxing world with dreams of making a living as a professional boxer.

In the film, Tessa Thompson plays a musician with a hearing impairment that will progressively worsen over time and manages to steal the show as Michael B. Jordan’s love interest. The actress gave such a realistic performance that rumors began to circulate that one of the reasons Tessa could tap into the character so well was because she herself was hearing impaired.

But the truth is, Tessa Thompson is not hearing impaired at all. She just feels really passionately about giving her character Bianca the representation she deserves.

“People with disabilities are hugely underrepresented and not talked about enough and culture, particularly film culture,” the actress said in an interview while promoting the first film, Creed, in Philadelphia outside the Museum of Art in 2015. “We tend to think about it through our own lens as someone who is not disabled, we think of it as something so terrible because we can’t fathom it for ourselves.”

This is why, according to the Chicago Tribune, it was important for Thompson to play the character with a blend of confidence in the present and optimism for the future. In addition, the actress wanted to make sure that Bianca’s story really captured the essence of what the hearing impaired experience as they struggle to adjust to their situation but still provide an inspirational tale of strength and determination. “I think it was important for Bianca to tell the story of someone doing the best that she can,” Thompson said. ” Would she prefer to not be dealing with that at certain points? Yes. But she also maybe sees it as an opportunity, and it in no way makes her feel like she’s not capable.”

So Is Tessa Thompson Really Deaf?

After those last comments, I could see how some may have misconstrued that Thompson’s energy came from a personal connection to the character. However, that’s just not the case. It has never been reported that Thompson had a hearing impairment, and even though the actress herself has never directly disputed the rumors (more than likely, because she didn’t even know they existed), she’s made it quite clear that she isn’t hearing impaired.

“If I was someone that was dealing with this and I got to see that on their own, it would make me feel really empowered and proud that my story was served,” Thompson said. ” I’m hoping that’s how people feel about it.”

About the author

Nathan Donkor