Tracee Ellis Ross, 44, has made a name all her own. Outside of being the daughter of famous singer, Diana Ross, this powerhouse has embraced the opportunity to “choose” the life she wants to live, and from the looks of it, she is doing it to the fullest. In a recent interview, Ross dishes on inspirations, role on Black-ish, Jennifer Lopez, and defying beauty standards. Peep the excerpts below.
On how she signifies beauty:
There are times I put on tons of makeup; there are times I don’t. The larger conversation is about the idea that we have to manipulate ourselves to be lovable and worthy. My life has worth because of who I am as a human being, not because I am an object of desire. I’d love to be in a delicious, romantic relationship, but it is not the point of how I choose to look or feel beautiful.
On how she found and secured her blackness:
I feel that to a certain extent, we are the first generation of choice for women, who have had the opportunity to actually choose the lives they want to live…. The cultural expectation for women that they are meant to be mothers and married and that that is almost what makes their lives valid creates a scenario that I push up against in general. There’s many places where that happens in our culture that I think are very limiting for women in terms of finding meaning in their own lives.
On having Diana Ross as a mom:
My mom has an amazing work ethic. To her, ‘on time’ is 10 minutes early. I’ve never heard her complain. She was busy going to the supermarket, waking us up for school, sitting with us during dinner, recording while we were sleeping, never leaving for longer than a week so she wouldn’t be away from us. Whether she was about to go onstage or busy having a meeting, she never responded with “Not now, I don’t have time.”
On why she loves her role on Black-ish so much:
I think that as a black woman, my beingness is a form of activism in and of itself. The fact that I am on a show called Black-ish, that I’m playing a woman who is both a wife and a doctor, a mother and a person, a partner and an individual, and that I am playing a joyful black woman on television who is not just surviving but thriving is by definition a form of activism. If I take that and ripple it out further in an amplified way, I can’t help, from my beingness, to not be a form of activism, because that is who I am.
On her celebrity girl crush:
I remember being very excited by Jennifer Lopez’s body. It was the first time I saw a woman with a similar shape to mine being celebrated as sexy… [growing up,] I was obsessed with Madonna, with Christy Turlington. I identified with all these supermodels who were super-thin and didn’t have the curves I had. I was raised not to judge a book by its cover, so I wasn’t focused on the fact that I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me. In hindsight, I understand how it affected [me].