|Cait Fairbanks as Tessa Porter|
|''The Young and the Restless''|
|Portrayed by||Cait Fairbanks|
|Current status||Present, recurring|
|First appearance||March 24, 2017|
Waitress at Society
Devon's Assistant (formerly)
Music Director (formerly)
|Residence||Apartment 8 with Mariah |
Genoa City, Wisconsin
Tessa Porter is a fictional character on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. She has been played by Cait Fairbanks since March 24, 2017. The character is described as an upbeat, free spirit singer, who has a strong intuition. Tessa is currently in a relationship with Mariah Copeland.
- 1 Storylines
- 1.1 2017
- 1.2 2018
- 1.3 2019
- 1.4 2020
- 2 Songs
- 3 Trivia
Tessa was spotted by Nikki Newman, playing guitar outside of Crimson Lights. Nikki hired Tessa to be Reed Hellstrom's music teacher. Tessa talked with someone on the phone, and told them that Genoa City was a great place. As Tessa got settled in, she met several other residents such as Nick, Noah, Mariah, and Sharon. Reed encouraged Tessa to play at The Underground as he admired her musical talents. Days went by, and Nikki and Tessa grew closer. Tessa learned that Nikki had worked as an exotic dancer in her past, and admired Nikki for it. Nikki hired Tessa to be her personal assistant, and Tessa accepted due to her growing bond with Nikki. Nikki later saw Tessa changing outside of her car, and realized she lived in her car, so Nikki invited Tessa to live at the Ranch.
At the Underground, Tessa was hassled by a drunk patron before playing on stage. She invited Nikki on stage to play the piano. The drunk customer harassed Tessa and she kneed him in the gut. Noah appeared and sent him away. Noah asked Tessa out on a date and she accepted. The next day, Tessa assumed Nikki would fire her for asking her to play with her on stage, but Nikki said she wouldn't. Tessa and Noah went on their date, and Tessa marveled at the exotic food served there. She joked that she would try not to embarrass Noah by taking a picture of the food. As they talked, Tessa mentioned she has a younger sister, and Noah said he had two. Tessa and Noah continued to bond and her friendship with Mariah also grew.
One day, Mariah spotted Tessa sneaking into a movie, and later talked to her about it, saying she understood because she used to do the same thing. Mariah frequently gave Tessa and Noah relationship advice, doing everything she could to help them get through their problems. Often, Mariah would also tell Tessa about her romantic woes with Devon. Neither Tessa nor Mariah had ever had a close friend to confide in, and both were very grateful for each other's support. The night after performing in a concert, Tessa went back to the ranch, where she listened to Mariah weep that Devon still loved Hilary. Tessa got riled up because no one should make Mariah feel like she was their second choice. She insisted that Mariah deserved better because she was "completely incredible."
Secrets in San Francisco
After Devon Hamilton heard Tessa playing at The Underground, he signed her on as his first artist for his and Neil Winters' joint business venture. Devon got two tickets to go to a musical festival, and Mariah invited Tessa and Noah to come along. As Tessa helped Mariah get ready, Mariah expressed frustrations over the state of her relationship with Devon. Tessa told Mariah she wasn't alone and that she would do anything to help her. Mariah suddenly kissed Tessa, then immediately apologized for it. Tessa told her not to worry about it, saying that they had gotten carried away from the energy and excitement of the festival. Mariah pretended to agree, and they continued on with their friendship. However, Mariah often thought about the kiss even after returning to GC.
Mariah invited Tessa to move in with her and Sharon, and Tessa overheard Sharon talking about helping a woman named Crystal, who was the younger sister that Tessa had previously mentioned to Noah. Tessa eventually confided in Mariah, who convinced her to come clean with Sharon and Noah. Sharon worked to get dirt on Alice Johnson, who was involved with running the sex ring that Crystal was trapped in. Tessa became impatient and roped Mariah into kidnapping Alice. Since Alice had been Cassie's adoptive mother, Mariah pretended to be her dead twin to get Alice to reveal Crystal's location. Tessa and Crystal reunited, but the reunion was short-lived as Crystal had to go into witness protection, so she could testify against the ringleader. With Crystal safe, Tessa then focused on her music.
Crystal escaped from witness protection, and agreed to publicly expose Zack Stinnett as the mastermind with Tessa, Noah, Sharon, and Mariah as witnesses. Crystal ended up killing Zack with a gun that was registered to Nikki. Nikki confronted Tessa, who admitted she stole the gun from Nikki’s safe and gave it to Crystal. Tessa fell out of favor with Victor and Nikki, and Victor tried to pay Tessa to leave town. Mariah ended up confessing she had feelings for Tessa, but Tessa said she only liked her as a friend. This drove a wedge in their friendship, which only got worse when Hilary publicly exposed Tessa as the one who stole Nikki’s gun. Tessa believed Mariah had told Hilary and lashed out at her. Mariah was hurt that Tessa would think she would betray her and a rift formed between them.
Devon told Tessa she had to produce a song soon or he would let her go. When Mariah left her journal in her bag, Tessa took it and used lines from the journal to write a new song. Tessa dropped the journal off at GC Buzz when she went to debut the new song live. As Tessa sang, Mariah recognized the lyrics and publicly exposed Tessa as a thief. Mariah was furious and didn't want the song to be released. Devon suggested that Tessa try to make amends with her, so that they could release the song. Tessa tried to apologize to Mariah, insisting that she didn't read her journal with the intention of stealing her words. Tessa missed Mariah, as the two had become distant, and Tessa wanted to know what Mariah was thinking and feeling. Mariah was still hurt though, and vowed to sue if the song was released.
Mariah let Noah read her journal to prove that Tessa had stolen lyrics from it. That's when he found out that Mariah kissed Tessa in San Francisco. As a result, he ended things with Tessa, which left her heartbroken. One day, while at a work meeting at Noah's restaurant, Hilary made a comment about how Mariah had no goals. Tessa stood up for Mariah, saying the viewers resonate with her because of how much she likes her job. Noah was there, and he overheard what Tessa said. This prompted him to get a few drinks at the bar. First Mariah went to talk to him, then Tessa. Tessa said she still wished things could work out between her and Noah. Noah called Tessa a "user," then tried to punch Devon. Shortly after, Noah left town, still feeling bitter and betrayed.
Devon took pity on Tessa and was willing to give her a second chance. He offered to let her stay as his assistant. When GC Buzz was acquired by Hamilton Winters, Devon realized that Mariah and Tessa would be in each other's orbits once more. Not wanting there to be any tension, he told them to make peace. Tessa apologized again, adding that Mariah had to admit they created an amazing song together. Tessa said that when she read the journal, it was like she could hear Mariah's voice in her head, and all the other lyrics of the song fell into place so perfectly. Mariah started to understand Tessa's viewpoint, and was willing to cooperate so that they could work together peacefully. When Devon returned to his office, Tessa gave him a grateful smile and said that things were better between her and Mariah.
While rummaging through one of Devon's cupboards at work, Mariah found a sleeping bag, clothes, and a hairbrush. Mariah realized that Tessa was homeless again and sleeping in Devon's office. Instead of exposing Tessa, she went and told Sharon. They were overheard by Nick, who talked about how he had some vacant, affordable apartments due to construction that was taking place. Mariah really wanted Tessa to find a home, so she asked Nick if Tessa could rent one of the apartments. Sharon and Nick were confused why Mariah would want to help Tessa after the whole journal incident, but even so, Nick agreed to offer Tessa an apartment. When Tessa found out what Mariah had done, she was extremely thankful.
As Tessa and Mariah continued to work together, they slowly started to reconcile. Kyle returned to town and he and Mariah became close friends. When he met Tessa, he showed some romantic interest in her. Tessa, however, turned him down, saying it might be awkward since Mariah is his friend. Kyle misunderstood and thought Tessa meant that Mariah had a crush on him. After Mariah explained the truth, Kyle encouraged Mariah to try again with Tessa. Mariah, though, was convinced that Tessa wasn't interested in anything romantic with her. Kyle decided to take matters into his own hands and conspired with Devon and Hilary to get them together. After being set up on a movie date, Mariah and Tessa admitted their feelings for one another and became an official couple.
Crystal in Canada
Not long after their reconciliation, Tessa told Mariah she had to leave town to help her sister cross the border into Canada. Mariah agreed to leave town with her, but then realized she couldn’t say goodbye to her family and friends. Tessa was saddened but understood. Mariah had a hard time letting go and even gave Tessa her journal as a parting gift. They said an emotional farewell to each other, and Tessa prepared to leave by herself. The next day, Mariah was surprised to see Tessa on the roof deck while shooting an eulogy for Hilary. Tessa realized that she doesn't have to choose between Mariah and Crystal, and promised to return to GC after helping Crystal get settled. Mariah was thrilled at the news, but her excitement soon turned to worry.
Tessa left town to see Crystal, and during a call with Mariah, was heard arguing with someone. The line went dead, and Mariah feared the worst. Just when Mariah had given up hope, Tessa returned to town unexpectedly, and started asking for money to pay off the goons that helped her sister get to Canada. She got a job working for Sharon at the coffee house, and later started working for Nick at Dark Horse. Tessa became very paranoid when some thugs beat her up at the coffee house. Mariah found the bruises and freaked out, getting angry that Tessa tried to hide her injuries from her. Matters got worse when Mariah believed she was being followed. Tessa began fearing for their safety, and became desperate to pay off the goons.
Tessa attended Nick and Sharon's wedding as Mariah's plus-one. Out of the blue, Noah appeared at the church, and Mariah dreaded telling him that she and Tessa were a couple. Not feeling like it was the right time or place, Mariah decided to keep Noah in the dark until the wedding was over. While waiting for Sharron to arrive, Noah began chatting with Mariah and Tessa. Based on Noah's comments, he seemed to still be bitter about how things ended with him and Tessa. When Summer came over to the three of them talking, she made a remark about "Juliet and Juliet." Noah was caught off guard that Mariah was dating his ex. The news hit him hard and he left to cool off. Despite Noah's reaction, he later told Mariah that he was happy for her, claiming he had moved on from Tessa.
On Halloween, Mariah and Tessa dressed up as Sonny and Cher. Kyle showed up without a costume so Tessa and Mariah created a makeshift Superman outfit for him. Mariah had carved a pumpkin that said "I ❤ U" on it and showed it to Tessa, who was very touched. They remarked how they had come a long way since last Halloween, and Tessa regretted how she hadn't made things easy. Mariah then told her that the wait was worth it. The two of them had even gotten tattoos to symbolize their love. Things were going so well in their relationship that Mariah asked Tessa to live together. Mariah waited in anticipation for an answer, and was relieved that Tessa happily said yes. However, the situation quickly went downhill from there.
Having trouble sleeping, Mariah threw out Tessa's mattress without asking. Tessa got very upset and exploded at Mariah, who was confused by Tessa's reaction. She sought advice from Kyle, and heard about how money had caused problems in his and Lola's relationship. Mariah figured that Tessa didn't want to be seen as a charity case and felt uncomfortable with Mariah paying for the new mattress. The truth, however, was far more shocking than that. Tessa had stored an insanely large amount of cash in her old mattress. When Mariah found the money, she was furious that Tessa had kept it a secret, insisting that if they were going to be a couple, they would have to be honest with each other. Tessa lied and told Mariah that she used her journal to write another song, which she sold.
Mariah didn’t buy it and kept pressing, so Tessa slowly revealed that she had acquired the money from Nikki by blackmailing her over having a hand in JT’s death. Sharon, Victoria, and Phyllis were also involved and it happened during girls night after Mariah had passed out. Mariah refused to believe it, so Tessa showed her video footage of the four women carrying JT’s body, wrapped in the rug, into the back of a car. Mariah couldn’t believe it and broke down over the fact that Tessa would blackmail and terrorize her mother like that. Tessa sobbed that she needed the money for Crystal because she was afraid for her and Mariah’s lives if the goons didn’t get it. Still, Mariah felt hurt and betrayed by all the secrets and lies, and felt conflicted over breaking up with her.
When Sharon, Victoria and Nikki kidnapped Tessa and left her in the middle of nowhere to freeze, Mariah suddenly felt protective of Tessa and upset with her mom. Mariah finally understood why Tessa had blackmailed Nikki, and decided to stay with Tessa after all. In the following weeks, Mariah saw how the kidnapping had traumatized Tessa, and was angry with Sharon for sabotaging Tessa's chances to get a job. Tessa didn't want to cause problems between Mariah and Sharon, so she lied on Christmas and said she was leaving because Crystal needed her. Mariah said she would be miserable if Tessa left, and convinced her to stay. Although still wary of Tessa, Sharon eventually agreed to stop causing problems for her and gave them cups of apple cider as a peace offering.
After talking to Phyllis, Christine suspected that there was more to the story between Tessa and the three defendants in JT's murder. Tessa had to appear in court and testify that the three women had abducted her, then stranded her in the cold. She also had to confess to blackmailing Nikki and the others. Christine used the kidnapping to her advantage and painted the three women as heartless criminals. Tessa felt extremely bad that she'd had to reveal Sharon's role in the kidnapping, lamenting how Christine had used her. Mariah was understanding and knew how Tessa had tried to protect Sharon in her statement. Later, Mariah started to panic when an officer came to arrest Tessa. Luckily though, the charges were dropped later on.
With all that's been going on, Tessa had neglected her passion for singing, and fears that her musical talents may have vanished from lack of use. Refusing to believe this, Mariah urges her not to give up. Before long, Tessa gets back into the groove and writes a few new songs. At Mariah's convincing, Devon agrees to give Tessa another chance and lets his sister Ana manage Tessa's career. Tessa is elated at first, but things turn sour when Ana tries to give her a new image. Seeing all the crazy outfits and hairdos planned for Tessa, Mariah voices her concerns, which are met with displeasure from Ana. Caught in the middle, Tessa is unsure what to do. When Ana changes Tessa's song and strips away the emotional essence of it, Tessa quits since Ana is not willing to compromise.
The Abbotts are frantic when Dina escapes from their house. Jack finally finds her at the park, listening to Tessa perform. She offers to come play for Dina in her new home, and Jack is very grateful. Later, Tessa follows through with her promise and sings for Dina in the Alzheimer's care facility. To thank her, Abby lets her perform at Society. Soon, Tessa's kindness is rewarded again when she is given another opportunity to have a music career. Ana realizes she was wrong to try and change Tessa so drastically without giving her any say in the matter. They promise to respect each other's input from then on, and agree on an image for Tessa that fans can identify with. When Tessa releases a song, fans think it's "earthy" and "real" which are exactly the vibes she was going for.
While on a dinner date at the coffee house with Mariah, someone throws a brick through the window. Startled, Tessa tells Mariah to be careful as they go investigate. They see that there's a note attached to the brick, which says "Give up the gossip, you're ruining people's lives." A few days later, Mariah gets a text that's equally unnerving. Before long, Mariah comes face-to-face with her stalker at the coffee house. Jared is his name, and he makes Mariah very uneasy with his hostile attitude. Luckily, Tessa shows up, takes a picture of him, and threatens to show it to the police if he ever comes back there again. Mariah calls Tessa an "avenging angel" for how she handled it. Because of the incident, Mariah leaves GC Buzz to run power of communications, and Tessa becomes her client.
At Society, Abby wonders why Tessa is writing a song about Lola. Tessa explains that it's for the joint bachelor-bachelorette party that Mariah is throwing for Kyle and Lola. As the maid of honor, Abby is quite ticked-off that she wasn't asked to plan the event. Later, on the roof deck, Tessa is impressed with the Miami-themed decorations and compliments Mariah on her work. Tessa suggests they warn Sharon that Rey will be there, but it's too late, and Sharon has a terse encounter with Rey. Soon, the other guests arrive, and before long, the party is in full swing. Tessa sings about Kyle and Lola's love story during a video of their childhood photos. Unfortunately, Tessa's song is followed by disaster. When a fight erupts between Abby and Summer, Tessa helps to break it up.
On the eve of her wedding, Lola gets nervous and vents her concerns to Tessa and Mariah. Lola predicts that doom is coming, and frets that if she hadn't parked her truck in front of Jabot, she would have never met Kyle. Tessa claims that it was fate, and that Lola meeting Kyle was no accident. After hearing this from Tessa, Lola feels much better. Finally, the big day arrives. Before the ceremony, Tessa, Mariah, and Abby gather around Lola to give her the traditional pre-wedding gifts. Tessa and Mariah provide "something old," which is a white vintage handbag. After Lola gets married, she throws her bouquet out into the crowd of guests. No one else seems to want to get married though, and the bouquet is passed around a lot before it lands in Mariah's arms. Shrugging, Mariah keeps it and kisses Tessa.
To celebrate the opening of Abby's new hotel, Tessa attends the pre-party at Society along with Mariah. Abby and the other guests urge Tessa to sing, who agrees as long as Lola and Chelsea come up on stage with her. After the three finish the song, Mariah compliments Tessa's talent. Then, at the Grand Phoenix hotel, things get out of hand when Zoe spikes the drinks. Tessa and Mariah dance erratically and start making-out passionately in front of everyone. While talking to Sharon, Tessa comments about how thick and shiny Rey's hair is. Later, Summer asks Tessa to sing for her. Tessa trills "Summer is so pretty, and accomplished, and she looks really good in pink." At long last, the effects of the drugs wear off and Paul questions them about the incident.
Aware that Theo may be gunning for her job, Mariah pretends to get along with him. At the same time, Theo is also pretending to be friendly with Mariah so that she'll let her guard down. Summer and Tessa are surprised to see Theo and Mariah drinking shots together like the best of pals. Then, Theo makes a bold move and sets up a meeting with Tessa. He made it sound like Mariah would be there too, but she's not. It's just Theo and Tessa. Theo starts to explain that if Tessa wanted to do a live stream, he could tell her the best time to do it that would get her the most viewers. Tessa seems to think that his help might be valuable after all, but then she realizes that Theo is hitting on her. She says she's committed to Mariah, but Theo doesn't care. Eventually, Devon fires Theo, much to Tessa's relief.
In honor of Elena's birthday, Abby hosts a small get-together at the Grand Phoenix hotel. Among the invited guests are Tessa and Mariah. Out of nowhere, Mariah comes face-to-face with someone who looks exactly like Hilary. Except, it's not Hilary's ghost. The doppelganger's name is Amanda, and she's a lawyer who recently came to town. Devon hastily tries to explain this to a frazzled Mariah. From afar, Tessa incredulously wonders why nobody warned Mariah about this lookalike. It could have spared Mariah from all this shock and confusion. Once the other guests have left, Tessa listens as Mariah opens up about Hilary. Mariah weeps that she misses her friend, and wants Amanda gone. But Tessa is sure that everything will be okay. The bad times never last forever.
It's been one whole year since Tessa and Mariah moved in together, and the two of them are stronger than ever. To mark the occasion, Mariah sets up a surprise for Tessa at Society. After putting a blindfold and headphones on, Tessa waits in Abby's office while Mariah and Kyle decorate. Other guests begin to arrive, such as Lola, Abby, Sharon, and Rey. When Tessa emerges and sees everything, she is blown away. Lola made their favorite dishes, and as they eat, Kyle jokingly tries to take credit for his matchmaking success. Some of the guests say a few words, including Sharon, who admits she was wrong to judge Tessa. She sees now how their love has transformed each other for the better. Finally, Mariah reads a poem out loud that she wrote about Tessa, ending the celebration on a perfect note.
Mariah couldn’t be happier with where her relationship is with Tessa. They respect each other and have so much fun together. Sharon is overjoyed that Mariah has found “the one.” Though, Mariah does admit that there’s one thing that bugs her. Every so often, Tessa goes off the grid and doesn’t text back. Like today. Coincidentally, a minute later, Tessa texts Mariah, telling her to come to suite 607 at the Grand Phoenix. But Mariah can’t ditch her mother. Sharon is very nervous about her psychology exams, and Mariah had offered to be her study buddy. Eventually, Mariah gets to suite 607. A fluffy white bathrobe is waiting for her, along with food, wine, and pretty pink flowers. Tessa thought that after the busy, crowded anniversary party, they could use some alone time as well.
In the mood for some tamales, Tessa and Mariah visit Society, only to be waylaid by an abandoned sack of presents. Determined to figure out who they belong to, they mull over some ideas of how to proceed. Should they dust for fingerprints? Theo comes and teases them about their sleuthing skills. He lifts up the sack and sees a Newman logo on the bottom. Tessa remembers that Lola mentioned something about a Newman office party, and Theo deduces the presents must be full of "corporate swag" like clocks and watches. Despite her previous misgivings about Theo, Tessa feels bad that he's alone on Christmas. She and Mariah leave Theo to go return the presents. At Victor's, they learn that the gifts are actually for the kids in the hospital. Horrified, the pair offer to deliver them right away.
On New Year's Eve, Tessa gets a text from a successful platinum recording artist named Tanner Watts. He's hoping that she'll be his opening act while he goes on tour. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, yet Tessa is rather hesitant about going on the road with him. The fact that he's her ex-husband makes things tricky, especially since she had neglected to tell Mariah about her marriage to Tanner. When the truth comes out, Mariah is understanding, but Tessa still isn't sure about accepting Tanner's offer. So, Tanner decides to drop by her apartment to convince her. He says that there's no reason for them to be ashamed of their past. In fact, it's great material for songwriting. Tessa guesses that his songs "Fess Up" and "Girl in Absentia" are about her.
After much deliberation, Tessa takes the leap and goes on tour with Tanner. Before leaving, Tessa prepares a romantic evening for her and Mariah. Since it's Mariah's birthday the next day, Tessa also gives her a gift. It's a diary, and Mariah jokes that now she can write about how sad she'll be without Tessa around. Except, the pages aren't blank. Mariah suddenly realizes that the diary is Tessa's. Now it's Mariah's turn to get a glimpse of Tessa's soul. The next day, Devon stops by the apartment to talk to Tessa. He believes that she made the right decision in accepting Tanner's offer, and that it'll bring her career to the next level. Devon knows though how hard it'll be for her and Mariah to be apart. Indeed, it won't be easy for Tessa to say goodbye. Genoa City is the first place that's ever felt like home.
Throughout February, Tanner continuously inserts himself in Tessa and Mariah's relationship. He intercepts their calls and texts, and even barges in on a video chat between them (shirtless, no less!) During the video chat, Tanner gushes at the photo of him and Tessa that was posted on social media. He seems pleased that people are commenting "new power couple." Mariah gets the wrong idea that Tanner and Tessa are sleeping together and has a one-night-stand with Lindsay in retaliation. Tessa walks in on them at the apartment and bitterly exclaims "surprise!" Mariah is caught off guard by Tessa's unexpected return and denies that she slept with Lindsay. Seeing through the lie, Tessa flees in a rage. When Mariah tracks her down to apologize, Tessa is still too distraught to forgive her.
Refusing to give up, Mariah coordinates with Tanner so that she can come to his next gig. As Tessa finishes her opening act, Tanner bounds onstage, announcing that there's a special guest. While he plays the guitar, Mariah appears and publicly declares her love for Tessa in front of the live audience. Mariah begs for forgiveness but the grand gesture doesn't have the desired effect. Tessa runs away, and later gets upset with Mariah for invading her territory. The stage is Tessa's domain, but once again, Mariah had to make everything about herself. Onboard the jet, things get pretty intense. This isn't the first time that Tessa's been cheated on, but it never hurt this much before. Tessa doesn't stay mad for long though, and Tanner is cool with Mariah joining them for the rest of the tour.
Tessa has only appeared about 3 times during the entire autumn. Her main focus was to support Mariah through Sharon's cancer. In fact, Tessa gave up the chance to perform at a high-profile festival in order to be there for Mariah. At one point, Sharon got frustrated about her cancer and took her anger out on Mariah, so Rey and Tessa teamed up to help them work out their issues. Tessa also attended a girl's night out event to help Lola overcome her breakup with Theo. Tessa drank a little too much and accidently revealed that Kyle and Summer had eloped. Lola seemed to be hit hard by the sudden news. Then Tessa disappeared for 2 months. After Sharon's health improved, it was revealed that Tessa had gone on tour, explaining why she hadn't been seen in so long.
Tessa has sung several songs on the show. Most of them were short snippets but you can listen to the full versions on YouTube.
- Fight or Flight (July 14, 2017)
- With Me (September 26, 2017)
- How Could a Lie Feel so True (January 19, 2018)
- Clear My Mind (April 5, 2019)
- When I See You (April 16, 2019)
- Umbrella (May 27/June 10/June 17, 2019)
- Love Me (June 5/June 17, 2019)
- Something in You (September 5, 2019)
- If You’re Not Busy (January 1, 2020)
- More Than a Vow (December 29, 2020)
- Tessa also plays piano and drums, but feels most connected to the guitar. (March 24th, 2017)
- She and Mariah lived in apartment 8, but now the 8 on the door has magically morphed into a 28. (November 20, 2018/January 8, 2020)