Tracee Ellis Ross is an American actress, producer and television host. The daughter of singer/actress Diana Ross, Ross began her career in the independent films, variety series and hosted the pop-culture magazine The Dish on Lifetime. She is best known for her lead role as Joan Clayton on the UPN/CW comedy series, Girlfriends. She starred in show from 2000 to 2008. She starred in the 2007 comedy-drama film Daddy's Little Girls, and in 2011 had a leading role as Dr. Carla Reed on the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines. In 2014, Ross began starring in the ABC comedy series, Black-ish.
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Hi, I'm Tracee Ellis Ross. You can visit me online at http://traceeellisross.com or @TraceeEllisRoss on Instagram. A little bit about me: I'm an actress, motivational speaker, multi-hyphenate and lover of food. Victoria's gonna be helping me today, so AMA.
EDIT: This has been so much fun. You know me, I love to talk / type! But I've gotta catch a plane. Thank you so much for participating and for your thoughtful questions. And don't forget to tune into Black-ish Wednesday nights on ABC, 9:30 / 8:30 central after Modern Family. And please follow me on instagram @TraceeEllisRoss or check out my website http://traceeellisross.com or youtube channel! And you did follow me on Instagram right? Because that's my favorite.
Hey Tracee! Big fan. 1. Favorite hair products? 2. Favorite episode of Girlfriends? Thanks!!
1) Favorite hair products span such a large spectrum! But I love Kerastase mask conditioner. And Morrocannoil, Avocado Oil, I'm a big deep conditioner girl.
2) Favorite episode of Girlfriends? I wish I could tell you the name, but the subject matter: when Joan realizes that Tony is actually older than her, and the Cinco De Mayo episode.
I follow you on IG and figured I'd take this chance to ask - do you know anyone that might want to buy or use some of my artwork?
My website is:
Thought you might like this style most:
Oh my aren't you talented! Jeez louise! Thank you for sharing and keep creating!
What do you look for when deciding which roles to audition for?
Whenever I start reading a script, if I start reading out loud for a role I'm interested in, I know that it will be a part that I will like.
Hi Tracee!! Love how comfortable u seem to be in your own skin. 1)Were you always this confident & comfortable with yourself and 2) what advice would you give girls who are muli-racial trying to embrace who they are in spite of having different hair or skin tones? Thanks for being you and making us laugh on Instagram! You're hilarious;)
Absolutely NOT. Hahaha! This is hard-earned. I'm not a fan of advice, but happy to offer the suggestion of what my own experience has been. Being a mixed girl is fantastic. It has allowed me to be comfortable in all environments, and to connect with people based on where we're the same, as opposed to where we're different. Who wants to be like anybody else, anyway? I think the individual journey of anyone of any kind is the fun part of life.
which shows had the best craft service/catering?
CSI. HANDS DOWN. Quick answer!
I thought I was going to gain 100 pounds while I was there! It was the best food ever! Everywhere you turned, there was another fancy truck that came to bring us food!
Hi Tracee. Looking forward to Blackish. Was there a lot of tweaking of the concept to have ABC embrace it? How is working with Laurence Fishburn?
No, it's the exact concept that was pitched although I'm not a producer on the show, I know that ABC has been in complete support of it from the start.
This is the second time I've worked with Laurence, the first time was on CSI playing his wife or ex-wife. He's wonderful to work with, a profession. He's extremely talented, and he's a cool dude. He drinks chrysanthemum tea.
You always seem to have such great chemistry with your costars. Who are some of your favorites you've worked with?
I think right now, Anthony is up there at the top. He is a generous actor and human being - hilarious to work with - and he's a caretaker. I think I get along with people well, though. I come from a really big family, and I just like people. And it's really fun for me to work with - like I love working and I love working with people. AH! I did a play with Natasha Lyonne, and I did the Nora Ephron play with her, and that was probably one of the most joyful experiences of my life. She and I together onstage - hilarious! Marcia Gay Harden is a favorite... I feel like I learned a lot from her about the business and about being an actor, and about camera angles, and coverage, and things I didn't know. I did my first movie with her, and I really did learn a lot from her. She's a really cool fuckin' lady.
I saw the trailer for Black-ish and I like it.
I have two questions for you:
It is a hysterical family comedy about a black family dealing with culture, identity, and generational differences.
Strawberry kochi ice cream. It's a japanese dessert. Listen to me: it's the best thing ever. THE BEST.
what kind of food was there on CSI?
EVERYTHING. There was a burger truck, a sandwich truck, a pizza truck, there were amazing snacks, there was CANDY, there were treats - and it was like - I just couldn't eat all that I wanted to eat! It was really hard! And I was supposed to wear a nightie the entire time, and I was like "my stomach's sticking out" - it was hilarious!
I didn't know you were having an AMA! I wish I would have prepared questions beforehand. AH. I loved you last night on Blackish! I had my reservations about the show before watching, but love the direction it's taking.
If you could have dinner with 3 people dead or alive, who would they be?
Also, how do you fuel your creativity?
The first is: THANK YOU so much for giving the show a chance, and I'm really happy you liked it.
The second is: 3 people. I would have loved to have met or sat with Katherine Hepburn. Martin Luther King. And Lucille Ball.
My creativity is fueled by so many things. It could be anything from a tree to a piece of art to a quote I read on instagram to some amazing meal that I have. I find that if I stay awake in my life, there's just never-ending amounts of things to inspire.
Any chance of a Girlfriends reunion?
My whole family loved Blackish last night-bravo!!
Thank you for loving Blackish!
There's always a chance for a reunion. I know we all (the cast, and Mara, our creator) would love to do that.
Hi Tracee. Huge huge fan. Will there ever be a Girlfriends reunion movie? Will we all get to seeJoan finally get her happy ending? I always hear rumors but never anything concrete.
At this point, they really are all rumors! I'm so happy people are still interested in Joan, Toni, Lynn and Maya. I'm definitely game.
Hello Ms. Ross! I am genuinely elated to see you here on Reddit; Girlfriends played a significant role in my desire to become another young black actress! The show was phenomenal and my husband and I still watch the series whenever we want a good laugh. Well, you guys or Martin!
I honestly just want to ask if you've ever seriously considered doing any theater/stage work in your career? I would love to see you embody a character live- comedic or not!
I have done stage work, it is my favorite medium as an actress. I LOVE performing onstage. And I hope you will get to see me on the stage at some point embodying a character live. I did a play in NY, the Nora Ephron play, then I did it again in LA... and other kinds of performances that I do as well.
MLK and Lucille Ball are two of mine as well! I named my first pup after her - perhaps not the best way to pay tribute but hey, I was 5.
How does it feel having the best Instagram in the game? Your videos are hilarious. To work on your rap skills you should try rapping some Twista song, or perhaps delve into the complexity of Jeremih's Dont Tell 'em - it's like ok, I won't tell him. Sheesh.
Twista might be complicated, because he's real speedy on the tongue. I'm SO glad you love my instagram! It brings me so much joy!
And I had a stuffed animal that was a seal that I named Lucille growing up because I loved her so much. Perhaps, also like naming your dog after her, not the biggest tribute in the world, but you know, we do what we can.
When did you first realize how popular your mom is?
As a child, when people would bang on our car and it was hard to drive places! When I was growing up, my mom was huge. Does that sound weird? And it was hard not to be aware of the magnitude of her fame.
I loved you in girlfriends! How do I get a fro as bangin as your's?
HAHAHAHA! I don't know if you need to be trying to get MY fro, I'm sure you have a pretty great head of hair yourself! Deep condition, deep condition, and trust your natural texture!
Hey, Tracee! I loved you in Girlfriends and I always wondered what you've been up to! Besides Blackish are there any other projects you're working on or shows?
Right now, no, Blackish is taking up all of my time, but I'm always posting - new fun stuff on my website, so that's a good way to check me out.
I have dreads and want to cut them for a fro. Thanks fir the advice! I'm so stoked that you replied
Don't forget to condition - oh wait, I already said that!
What's your favorite animal?
I love a giraffe, simply because their eyes are really big, and it reminds me of me. But my best friend / soulmate and one of the loves of my life is my dog, Ladybug, so I might have to say dogs.
What is your favorite color?
I don't know. I wear a lot of black... But if you look at my lipstick choices, I would have to say I love a jewel tone, pink, and red.
Tracee, would you ever consider writing an autobiography? You are so hilarious and interesting!
I would love to write a book, I don't know if it would necessarily be an autobiography. But thank you for the compliment (and the idea!).
Favorite kind of lunch meat?
What advice can you give me on having peace and being free ?
I think on having peace, gosh... that's a big one, isn't it? I feel like the Dalai Lama. I would say: the simplest meditation of allowing your body to breathe you instead of you breathing your body, and focusing on your breath, is one of the ways that I find peace. And I don't focus on trying to be free, I just be free!
Hi Tracee! I love how positive and hilarious you are! I also LOVE your sense of style. Is there any in particular that inspires your look like time period, how it will photograph, how it makes you feel, etc?
I think the main thing that inspires me is how it makes me feel, and my inspiration and moods vary all the time, sometimes I want to feel strong, sometimes I want to feel sexy, sometimes I want to feel powerful, sometimes I just want to be comfortable. It just really depends on the mood I'm in.
What advice would you give an aspiring entertainer?
Depends on what field you want to go into, but it's definitely a challenging pathway because 1 + 1 does not always equal 2 in the entertainment industry.
I tried Strawberry mochi ice cream for when I was in Japanese restaurant and it was really good.
This is the picture.
I'm really sorry that you tried it, because once you tried it I couldn't stop eating it.
Now it is easier to find Mochi Ice Cream at asian supermarket.
Yes it is, and unfortunately they also have it at Whole Foods. One of the worst things that ever happened to me was discovering that you could actually purchase it, and not have to just eat it at the restaurant...
how are you celebrating the show?
I am heading back home to LA and I hope to eat a lot of mochi. I think I'm celebrating by going back to work and continuing to do what I love to do.
I am also a "lover of food". What's your guilty culinary pleasure?
ANYTHING SALTY, anything with lemon.... and if you put salt, lemon, and soy sauce together, I'm in heaven! I love sushi, I love cheese, I love salami, I love olives, I love french fries, I love potato chips, I'm a big foodie. I love tasty, wonderful, delicious, beautiful food.
Hey tracee I always follow your work..are you going to continue doing youtube while filming blackish?
I sure do hope so! The hardest part while filming Blackish and keeping up with my YouTube videos is that when I finish work, I don't want to put any effort into what I look like, so sometimes the idea of shooting a video and having to put my hair together makes me not want to do it. And yet if you saw my "pass me the hookah" video, you'll see I tend to shoot them anyway, because my hair looked insane. It's one of the things i love about YouTube, is that it really is me and the camera. So it's not that it takes up a lot of time, it's just that i'm really tired from work. And when I'm working, we're working such long hours that I'm not doing a lot of other things in my life that start me thinking about things that make me want to do a video.
Hi Tracee!!! I am having a total fangirl moment and just want you to know that I admire you (even though you have no idea of who I am.) Blackish was great (as expected)!!! You guys have an amazing cast for that show.
Anywho, what is a piece of advice and/or lesson that you've learned that you would share with your younger self?
"Enjoy the ride. It's all going where it's supposed to go, even if you get scared, you can trust that you're going to end up where you're supposed to end up."
Oh man, I just had a sushi roll the other day that was sprinkled with crushed Cheetos. It was amazing.
That's hilarious and slightly disturbing. Was it...good?
I just want to say thanks for representing for the booty-ful girls back before it became the trend that it is today. I used to watch Girlfriends episodes over and over and over back in my younger years because it was so refreshing to see positive, black, female role models on TV.
My question for you is were you always accepting and proud of your body type? If not, when did and what made you start becoming proud and accepting?
Truthfully, it's taken a long time to embrace my body. And it's sometimes still a contentious relationship. I wrote a great blog post on it, on my site called Let's get Cheeky and another called A Culture Confused by Fake Boobs both of which explore body image and my relationship with my own body.
Hey Tracee! I'm 16 and I AM THE BIGGEST FAN of you lol. you're such a great person to look up to and i aspire to be somewhat like you if not better. what advice would you give to someone like me who wants to get into acting? also would you email me? id really like to ask you questions about college and growing up and stuff. thanks :)
You're adorable! I hope you are better than me! Again, not a huge fan of advice, but happy to offer suggestion or share my own experience. Studying the craft of acting has allowed me a lot of confidence in my work, and I would suggest exploring that for yourself. It was also a great outlet for me when I was not actually being paid to act yet to continue to play as an actress. So staying in class, even when I was working, was a really big part of my journey. In general, in terms of the business, and as a woman, I've always been clear about what my boundaries are. So especially, as you are a young girl, just focus on developing your talent and your craft.
Just wanted to let you know, my heart skipped a beat when I saw that you replied. Oh my goodness.
Also, I wish I lived in a bigger city. I dream of shows on Broadway. I'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on things you're involved with in the future!
What are you currently reading? And what's your over all favorite book?
Currently re-reading "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It's difficult for me to read while I'm shooting, because I'm constantly reading the next script, and there are so many lines rolling around in my head, but one of my favorite things to do when I'm not working is to read, and some of my favorite books are: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Donna Tartt's Secret History, and then the guy who wrote The Color of Water also wrote another book that I loved - Dave Eggers is a writer I love - can't think of anything else right now but my house is filled with books.
You love fashion. What are your big must have trends?
I'm not big on trends. But I think my fashion must-have, right now, is a leopard coat. And I don't mean real leopard, just leopard print!
Hey, Tracee! You have lots of fun on your YouTube channel. Where does that inspiration for fun videos (by yourself and with others like Chescaleigh) come from?
Stuff that I'm interested in, stuff that people ask about, things that I'm tickled by, any sort of inspiration. I really love a video camera. It's never-ending. That's why I love instagram! My YouTube channel is a larger extension than my instagram, but it has the same vibe for me. http://www.youtube.com/user/MissTraceeEllisRoss
Some of my favorite videos are:
There's something really fun for me about social media and the genuine interaction that you can have with people.
How did you feel about the ending of girlfriends? Did you wish for more closure between joan and toni? xo
I definitely wished for more closure. I longed for a finale, or a movie. I wanted Joan to get married. BUT we did 176 episodes, we ran for 8 years, and I have not a complaint !
Are there any plans for a Girlfriends reunion, a sort of closure or resolution to the Joan-Toni rift?
As I answered before, I know that the cast and Mara our creator are game to do something. Beyond that, it's not really up to me.
CINCO DE MAYO IS HOLIDAY TIME. HOLIDAY TIME. HOLIDAY TIME.
My favorite girlfriends episode haha. My family and I loved crowding around the TV and watching you every week!
I missed the episode of Black-ish last night but I can't wait to watch the show! What do you think the most important thing you can get across in Black-ish about race relations in the US?
Wow, that's a big question!
Black-ish is a comedy first and foremost. But the underlying theme of culture, identity, and race in this country play a big part of the show. You'll have to watch to see what we explore.
Hi, Tracee!!! What's for fun... outdoors.... camping??? Inquiring minds want to know!!!! <3 <3
DEFINITELY not camping. Not at all. My brother's a big camper, always tries to get me to go, and there's not an interest on my part. For fun, I hang out with all of my amazing godchildren, niece and nephew, I love kids. I love going to the movies, I love eating, I love traveling, I have amazing friends and I love hanging with them and giggling with them.
Food, ok... movies, ok... kids, ok... traveling, definitely, ok.... Have you ever been camping??? You just might like it!!! Ya know what they say, "Don't knock it till you try it."
LISTEN TO ME:
I have BEEN CAMPING. I camped twice in a very major way, in a very real way, with my stepfather when I was 16. I went to Alaska. It was very real camping. I hated it. I did however catch a 45 pound king salmon before I cooked it and cleaned it myself, and as much as I've enjoyed the experience in hindsight, I would not do that again. It was SO COLD that I wore all 3 pairs of my pants that I had brought with me - because it's not like you packed a lot - I had 3 pairs of pants for a 6 day trip - and I wore all 3 pairs for all 6 days, and all my socks... it was terrible.
What do you do to Relax & Whose your favorite Musical Artist? 😊
What do I do to relax? I love television. I love sleeping. I love baths. And I love laying in the sun.
And favorite music artist - couldn't tell you! I mean, I have some favorite albums of all time, but in all honesty, I love me some pop music!