Tracee Ellis Ross: The ââStylistaâSpeaking Up for Sisters

Tracee Ellis Ross known for her lead role as Joan Clayton on the UPN/CW series, Girlfriends.

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my journey, but an inevitable part. Like embracing my ass; these things fall under the very specific context of being women of color in the industry that I’m in and the world I live in too. I realized at a very, very young age that in order for me to make sense of the overwhelming attention that was coming at me, that wasn’t about me, but about my mother, I had to figure out who I was and what I had to offer. Otherwise somehow I was constantly battling feeling like a fraud.

EBONY: I’m just curious about what challenges Tracee Ellis Ross now, faces that people might not even know about.

TER: Did you read the article I wrote on boobs on my website?

EBONY: Yes. Yes!

TER: I think and for me, I can only speak for myself, I know that life is a mixed bag. Some days are harder than others. There’s this weird myth out there about money and fame that has been perpetuated further because of reality television, that life is some sort of fairy tale and when you get all of those external things, everything is going to be fine. It’s just not true. I think the most powerful thing that I have learned and that has been helpful for me is making friends with the uncomfortable feeling.

EBONY: I remember reading one of your Instagram posts and it said something like, “every moment we’re just trying to figure this thing out and after you figure that thing out its time to figure out something else.”

TER: That was the day after a bad day. On the bad day I called my sister, my big sister, and that is what she said to me.

EBONY: We don’t hear about the normality of life from a lot of women, especially in this industry, where everything does look perfect. This in turn affects young Black girls’ views of who they are, and if they’re good enough.

TER: Again, I always like to look at the mixed bag of the experience. A part of the industry is creating this façade of an image. Which is absolutely fine and still holds true for many celebs.  There are many people that sort of manage the thickness when they move into the light of celebrity through the facade. For me one of the ways I make sense of the very unique experience of celebrity life, especially because I was born into it and raised in it, is by sharing the inside of my experience. I don’t want to become some weird, I don’t know, cartoon version of myself. I can’t live with that. One of the things I’m very clear about, my favorite parts of my life are the basic routine things that are my life. I love going to the supermarket, I love walking my dogs, I love cooking my foods and washing my dishes.

EBONY: How do you handle making your own mistakes as a woman, and learning from them without beating yourself up?

TER: Here is what I will say: I don’t know I will ever grow out of beating myself up. But growth has come. In this area it’s about catching yourself once you start; the adjustment of telling myself to stop "it." There are areas I don’t beat myself up about anymore. You know, like when I feel out of my shoe!  First of all I broke into a sweat, like a cold sweat. My entire body had water coming out of it. It was ridiculous. By the way before I got on stage I had knocked my head into of the raptors behind the stage. So I mean I was like, “What is going on!” But anyway, I was told, and I believe this, that there is never a good reason to beat yourself up, ever! Even if you did something horribly wrong, the beat up in not going to help you change your behavior. The beating yourself up is not going to help you look at yourself with honest, loving, and kind eyes and enable you to be honest and say okay, “that didn’t work” or “okay that was bad.”

EBONY: What is the biggest thing that you have grown to admire about Black Girls Rock?

TER: One of the things I love about Black Girls Rock and about the awards show is who she decides to honor. Because it’s some people we know and some people we don’t. And more than that, the people that we do know are usually honored for what we don’t know about them.

EBONY: Exactly we are not honoring them because they are famous, we are honoring them because they give back.

TER: And because of this journey because they have taken that has allowed them to give back. They now have the opportunity in their life where they