Tressa Thomas Glorifies Growth in Community

Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:06 Written by  Iya Bakare

Entertainer and entrepreneur Tressa Thomas says she never let being plus-sized hinder her from pursuing her career because she honed her crafts and always brought her A-game. The singer passes these valuable lessons to her mentees of her organization, ThYck Troupe Organization, NFP.

“If you cultivate your talents and garner a fan base, you can’t be denied,” Tressa adds.

The Chicago native made her film debut when she co-starred in the Robert Townsend film The Five Heartbeats. She earned a degree from Columbia College Chicago in marketing communications and film. As she continued to follow her dreams in the entertainment industry, Tressa never lost sight of helping others. The singer says she wanted to create a community-based organization in her hometown that would showcase the talent of young ladies and offer them a platform to pursue their dreams. What started out as a modeling and talent club in 2009 has evolved into a non-profit and a 501(c)(3) organization within a few years.

Through ThYck Troupe Organization, NFP, the group created “ThYck TV”, which features the spectrum of talent of these ladies, behind and in front of the camera.

“What we’ve been able to produce [the content] is what I see as a huge accomplishment,” the founder says. “It was a process to get people to see why this is community service. We are the only performing arts 501(c)(3) for plus-sized women in the country, which is another big accomplishment.”

One of the missions of ThYck Troupe is to provide opportunities for women who aspire to work in the various facets of the entertainment industry. Tressa says another aspect includes the promotion of self-improvement. The group’s ThYck & Fit program promotes health and wellness. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and city officials Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Secretary of State Jesse White and Illinois State Rep. Rita Mayfield, support her efforts. The executive director says she will continue to encourage healthy living and won’t back down from it.

“My organization doesn’t glorify obesity,” she comments. “I want women to accept the bodies they have, but to improve themselves as well. Through this organization, I’ve seen women become more fashion-conscious and improve their health habits. We glorify self-improvement.”

ThYck Troupe continues to climb new heights and Tressa remains thankful for its successes. The work of Project ThYck, produced by the talents of the ladies of the ThYck Troupe, stands as the first exclusive, independently produced, full-figured fashion show participating in this year’s Fashion Focus Week in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 20. Presented by Chevrolet and hosted by media personality Valerie Warner, “Curves. Couture. Chicago.” will feature fashions for the plus-sized woman in the city. Independent exhibitors, boutiques and designers will showcase their businesses and wearable art. This event will also showcase the artistic talents of the ladies of the ThYck Troupe Organization, NFP.

With a current focus on Chicago and the tri-state area, Tressa has a game plan to expand and to continue her career. She hasn’t finished yet – this is just the beginning, she says.

  • For more information on “Curves. Couture. Chicago.” on Oct. 20 and the ThYck Troupe, visit

  • Follow ThYck Troupe Organization, NFP on Twitter at @thycktroupe

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

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Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare