For me, a celebrity cover of a magazine needs to tick a few boxes in order to be a success, namely: (1) is this famous person instantly recognizable? (2) Does she look good? (A model can do the Intentionally Looks Bad For Fashion thing, but a celebrity generally does not want to go there, and (3) Does she look sleepy, sneezy, dopey or grumpy? (Happy or bashful are fine; Doc really only works if you are already Christopher Lloyd.) The ideal answers are obviously Yes, Yes, No. Here, I think we’re at Yes Yes Maybe. I can’t decide if we’re all the way to sleepy, or if we managed to land on dreamy. Let’s discuss.

The interview is really an enjoyable read; Thompson comes across likable and smart and funny. I loved this bit, about working with Emma Thompson:

Tessa is equally effusive about Emma, launching into a story about their first day shooting together: Nervous to make a good impression, she fell into a deep sleep on the way to set, then, discombobulated, opened her car door directly onto the veteran actress. “I’m horrified, right? She gave me a hug and was like, ‘God, you’re exhausted.’” Tessa deepens her voice and affects Emma’s plummy accent. “She kept saying to me, ‘You must take care of yourself.’ I really needed to hear that.” Emma eventually convinced Tessa to join her at her favorite spa in the British countryside, which the younger actress describes as “like the after life: just a bunch of English people in bathrobes walking around getting treatments. I was like, What is my life? I’m walking the grounds with Emma Thompson!”

“Like the after life” is just a brilliant way to describe going to a spa with Emma Thompson; if I’m not tortured in the burning fires of hell forevermore, I do hope to drink Pimms in a robe with her myself. The interview is quite wide-ranging — she talks about everything from pay inequality to Janelle Monae to how she could have been a good con-woman — and I think it’s a good use of your time if you’ll looking to burn ten minutes here or there.

[Photo: Thomas Whiteside]