Arsema [are-SIM-uh] Thomas' role as young Lady Danbury in the Bridgerton spinoff, Queen Charlotte, came as relatively unexpected for the star, who had initially planned a career in public health. Although she changed course to pursue acting, Thomas decided to amplify a different passion: her activism.
The 29-year-old actress joined natural product brand Tom's of Maine as a spokesperson for their Incubator Program, which serves as a resource for young leaders from marginalized communities who drive environmental solutions. In conversation with ABC Audio, Thomas shared that advocacy for underrepresented voices has been a lifelong value, fostered by her parents.
Her mother, who is Ethiopian, and father, who is Nigerian, reminded her that her voice matters — as do those that aren't listened to.
"In our household, my dad always corrected me, he would say, 'These people are not voiceless, they're just not listened to.'"
Those words of wisdom stuck with Thomas: "If I use my privilege to make sure that everybody can be heard, then the world makes more sense."
Something that also makes sense to Thomas is the local-action approach to social advancements, like that of the Incubator Program, which she calls "the most powerful way of fomenting change."
Because "Black and brown, queer, indigenous bodies are always the ones who are marginalized — everywhere." So why not start small to achieve big, Thomas explained of her thought process.
The partnership is just one way the actress plans to continue her advocacy work — and in doing so, fulfilling her life's mission.
"I realized that I don't have ... any business being in this world, unless the reason is for something outside of me," she said.