Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Redbook.
On people who try to dampen her joyful spirit: “There are joy stealers everywhere! Honestly, a lot of people don’t do it on purpose. Joy makes them uncomfortable. So I do my best not to take it personally. I will literally imagine myself moving out of the way and letting their stuff just pass me by.”
On her changing relationship with her looks: “I’ve always had a somewhat contentious relationship with my body. I spent years trying to teach myself to smile in a way that made my top lip look smaller. A lot of that has to do with sexism and racism combined with the ever-changing tides of the culture of beauty. One minute, you’re supposed to be really skinny — the next minute, you’re supposed to have huge boobs. One minute you’re supposed to have no lips, the next they’re supposed to be full. No one can keep up! I finally got to a place where I was like, excuse my French, “F— that. That’s not fair.” So I got to then choose for myself what makes me feel empowered.”
On being loving her natural hair: “For a long time, I was trying to beat my hair into submission so that it would do what I thought it was supposed to do to be sexy, so that it would be silky. But the more I supported my hair in its authentic texture, the more choices I had for it to do hundreds of different things. That was exciting to me. I’m really grateful to the whole natural-hair movement. It’s a genuine expression of how the culture of beauty is expanding to be less about perfection and concealment.”
Her advice for those making a big beauty change: “The biggest thing is to give yourself the freedom to have fun. Whether it’s about going natural with your hair or deciding that you want to put some Botox in your face, you have to do what’s best for you and not feel shame about that decision. Try whatever it is you want to try.”
On embracing solo plans: “I really enjoy going on vacation by myself. I literally get to follow my own pace. A lot of women have children, husbands, jobs, so there’s always someone they are accountable to. It’s really nice to do things on your own, because you become accountable just to your own heart’s desires.”
Blackish returns with new episodes this Fall on ABC.
Photography: Brian Bowen Smith