Pride Month 2020: Why Tess from ‘This Is Us’ is the coolest gay tween and a beacon of hope for queer community
From familial bonds to interpersonal connections, ‘This Is Us’ has won millions of hearts with its beautifully intertwined storylines. Over the years, the Pearson family has grown and made a major breakthrough by adding an LGBT character to its family tree. Eris Baker stars as Tess Pearson, Randall (Sterling K Brown) and Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) older daughter and fans were overjoyed when she first came out of the closet.
In the coming-out episode — Tess first confessed about her sexual preference to aunt Kate (Chrissy Metz) after she got her first period — and then told her parents how everyone at school had crushes but she didn't want a boyfriend. Her "...or a girlfriend" dialogue soon became a rage among fans. Tess is a beacon of hope for LGBTQ representation and viewers love how the showrunners incorporated a Black family supportive of their child. From getting a new hairstyle to choosing the right clothes, Tess's journey is very relatable and has made one of the coolest gay tweens on TV.
Shedding light on how she felt with that character and how it influenced her fans, actress Eris Baker told MEA World Wide (MEAWW) in an exclusive interview: "With Tess, I was super honored to get this opportunity. I already knew that her character was going to be gay and that she was going to be a role model for others. So, I was super honored to pursue that storyline." She also said: "I think that fans reacted positively and I'm super thankful for that because I wanted people to be inspired by Tess coming out with her real identity on television. And I wanted people who had been through it to find it relatable. I definitely think that the message and the purpose of that theme has been accomplished."
Moreover, she also spoke about how her journey of self-acceptance could be a big part of the next season. "I honestly do not know what the writers have planned. But, I do hope that they still continue the story of self-acceptance because it is great for fans to see how important it is to always accept people for who they are," she said. Will she find a love interest any time soon? "I do not know," she said, adding, "But, I do think that when you're young, you do have crushes so I wouldn't be surprised if there was someone as she is probably about 13 years old anyway."
Fans have loved her character since the beginning. "I like that they are including LGBT issues into #ThisIsUs Tess," one fan said and another posted, "I am proud that little Tess Pearson came out to Aunt Kate as queer. :)." One hailed her storyline saying, "'Or...girlfriend...' She's realizing periods are normal, and also realizing that her sexuality may be expanding. LOOK AT THIS SUPERIOR PEARSON HERE. Look at Tess, of House Pearson, First of Her Name! OKAY, TESS, I SEE YOU. #ThisIsUs."
In the future flashes, Tess is a grown woman, played by Iantha Richardson. With Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) illness, it seems like the show will have a major role for Tess. In an interview, Brown spoke about the scene where Randall and Tess go to see "her" [Rebecca]. “There’s a reason why he had to seek out Tess in particular,” Brown said. “Because Tess hadn’t seen the ‘her’ for some time. And so there’s a reason why it’s time to go and she’s like, ‘I can’t.’ There’s a reason. Other people may have been more easily galvanized, but Tess needed a little more coaxing.” As the show returns to NBC for Season 5, fans expect to see more of Tess' storyline and the beautiful, independent woman she grows up to be.