is a proud alumna of the USC MFA Acting Program. She began acting professionally at the age of 9, and has performed off-Broadway and regionally for the past 20 years. Tessa has appeared in recurring and guest star roles, some favorites include, Grey’s Anatomy, New Amsterdam and Law and Order: SVU as well as Cooper Raiff’s SXSW winning feature, Shithouse. During her time as a MFA candidate, Tessa wrote her short film Pizza Party, a magic realist retelling of the night before the Larry Nassar trials began. Pizza Party went on to screen at 25 national, international and academy-qualifying film festivals. Itwas awarded special Jury Mention at the Ashland Film Festival, the Female Gaze award at the Portland Film Festival, as well as nominations at Academy Qualifying Florida Film Festival, Indy Shorts, Cinequest and Rhode Island Film Festival. Her second short Falsies begins its festival run in 2023 and her third film, Elegy,has just finished production. All of her work is motivated by social justice issues and holds a strong center in activism. She spends her time developing work with screenwriters and has an insatiable passion for producing and directing female led storytelling. Tessa was a finalist for the 2023 AFI Directing Women’s Workshop and she continues to write, direct, produce and act professionally in Los Angeles and New York. She has also developed as a freelance commercial copywriter and editor for award-winning production companies such as Art Class Content and Gentleman Scholar. As an educator and artist, Tessa’s hope is to bridge the gender and racial gap in the film industry, and she has acted as a mentor for both current students and recent graduates who hold passions for justice-centered storytelling.
Tessa acts as a peer-led resource to students as well as a well-versed professor of short narrative storytelling and filmmaking. Her success in the festival circuit seeps into the classroom where she exposes her students to the best independent short films, bringing in guest speakers and integrating her students with the up and coming film community of Los Angeles.