Getting Ready

Why Tika Sumpter Wore a Jumpsuit to the NAACP Image Awards

We got ready with the star before the big event and found out all the details on her cozy-cool look.

By: Samantha Sutton
Photography: Tristan Kallas

Fact: if we were headed to an awards show, nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, we’d (at least try to) do it the Tika Sumpter way. Thanks to our friend Ali at TBOYaficionado who intro'd us to the actress, we spent the hours leading up to the NAACP Image Awards with her, and the star didn’t show a single sign of nerves, setting out snacks for her team, listening to music, and pulling on a layered jumpsuit rather than a bedazzled gown (better for eating, she revealed). The Southside With You star even had a plan for her hair: pulled back, manageable, in case there was rain. Overall, the setup was perfect for a fuss-free night with friends—and a return to the red carpet post-baby.

We captured Tika’s getting-ready process before the big night, then spoke with the actress for a full recap, including who makes that jumpsuit and if it’s as comfy as it looks.


“I took a nice little shower before everybody came over, so I put my robe on and just sat there as everybody did what they did. It was very chill. We put on some music. My makeup artist, Becca, brings her speaker that connects to her playlist, and she always introduces me to music.”

“I usually eat before everybody comes, but I’ll pick on some cookies and whatever I have out for everybody else—grapes or apples—and some water. Gotta keep the energy going.”

“I bought that crown at a vintage store or something. I got it so long ago I can’t remember, but I just remember thinking, every girl is a queen and we should all have a crown at our house to remind us how amazing we are. I think Beyoncé did that for the Grammys—we’re all queens and these beautiful goddesses and deities. We should all love one another and we should respect one another. I think it’s a beautiful thing.”

“I love Pantene’s Advanced Hair Care Nourishing line. The shampoo doesn’t dry out my hair. It has argan oil, chamomile, coconut, and their conditioner is extraordinary. It’s for curls and hair with texture.”

“I don’t wear earrings that much. It’s my bare-minimal thing. I decided not to do the earrings and just go with a choker, to simplify it and not mess with the outfit too much.”

“I’m one of those people if I put too much makeup on, I look like a crazy person. [laughs]. I love that clean and clear, natural, all-American look. I like makeup but I also like seeing myself. I don’t like looking like another person. When I take off my makeup, I still look like me.”

“I’ve done [the no-makeup trend] before. The thing that people forget is, even with a clean makeup look like that, it’s still makeup. To get the natural look, you’re still applying a good amount of makeup. I know it sounds crazy, but I tell people this over and over in magazines, even if you’re on set and they’re like, ‘We’re going to do an all-natural look,’ in order to get that you still have to apply makeup. People aren’t just walking out of their house with no makeup on, but it’s very basic and minimal.”

“I was just grateful to be in a category with the women I was in the category with and I felt like we all won. We were all recognized. Taraji is my friend and I look to her, she inspires me, so it wasn’t a pressure thing. It was more like we’re going to go, and this was my first red carpet in a bit, and we’re just going to have a good time. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself at all. I just laughed a lot and we had a good time. My team just has good vibes and we work really well together.”

“I usually know what I want my hair to look like once I’m presented with ideas for the dress. I know I like going simple and sleek and something that’s not going to be all over the place, where I’m like, ‘Oh my god, my hair is falling all over the place.’ Whether it’s just a part down the middle or... I just wanted something pulled back because it was raining [laughs]. I didn’t want frizzies hanging out everywhere, you know.”

“[The Solace London jumpsuit] was super comfy. I just wanted to be comfortable and be able to move, and if I had food I wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh my god, my tummy.’ [laughs]. I just had a baby four months ago, so that was kind of nice. I tried on some different things, and that [jumpsuit] was ultimately the one we went with because it was easy, I wouldn’t crinkle too much in the car, and it was like an ‘Okay, welcome back to the red carpet.’”

“We’ll all miss [The Obamas]. I think everybody is a little more grateful than they were before. It was amazing playing a really smart, beautiful, thoughtful person [in Southside With You], and putting my own spin on it. I got to take on a role that I haven’t been presented and that I really had to help create. So, it was amazing and an honor. I’m grateful that they didn’t shut us down in Chicago.”

“I asked my friend Presilah Nunez—she’s on The Haves and the Have Notswith me—to come with me and it was just a nice, fun, easy breezy night. She had a good time.”

“I was excited to see so many people—I was excited to see Taraji, I was excited to see John Legend. I was just excited to be in the room. I was looking at people's dresses and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool!’ People had so many kinds of dresses on, from African-inspired prints to sleek black dresses. It was fun to see the hair and makeup. Just to see everybody is like a big family reunion.”