Many may know Tracee Ellis Ross as the daughter of Motown legend Diana Ross. However, Tracee has made a name for herself with her hard work and dedication to her craft.
Despite her mother’s enormous fame, Tracee Ellis Ross has carved her own path in the entertainment industry. In an interview with Marie Claire, Tracee’s best friend and editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Samira Nasr, said:
“The assumption is, ‘Oh, you’re the daughter of someone famous. It must’ve flung open all the doors for you.’ It certainly brought a level of curiosity, but I think when she walked through the doors, people were like, ‘Now what?’ And she really had to figure out who she wanted to be as a performer and what she wanted to say.”
In her late 40s, Tracee Ellis Ross is redefining what it means to be a woman in Hollywood, not letting her age stop her from continuing to shape her career.
About Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross is the daughter of Diana Ross and music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein. Tracee went to boarding school in Switzerland before attending the Ivy League’s Brown University. At Brown, she acted in plays and graduated in 1994 with a theatre degree.
Before she broke into the world of acting, Tracee Ellis Ross submerged herself into the fashion industry. According to Marie Claire, “she credits her mother with introducing her to the transformative power of fashion and says that playing dress-up in her mom’s splendid closets enabled her to hone her personal style.” Tracee modeled during her teenage years and was a contributing fashion editor at Mirabella and New York magazines in the ‘90s.
Since then, Tracee Ellis Ross has gone on to portray a number of characters and taken on numerous endeavors as herself. Let’s take a look at Tracee’s most recognizable roles, as well as some of her lesser-known ones.
Tracee Ellis Ross Movies: Far Harbor (1996)
In 1996, Tracee Ellis Ross made her big-screen debut in an independent film titled Far Harbor, playing the character Kiki. According to Turner Classic Movies, the movie is about a group of young adult friends that take a trip to a beach town for the weekend. Their relationships and loyalty are then tested throughout their stay.
Far Harbor was directed by John Huddles and also stars Jennifer Connelly.
Tracee Ellis Ross TV Shows: The Dish (1997)
Tracee Ellis Ross had her first big television role as the host of Lifetime’s The Dish. This TV show covered the latest happenings in Hollywood and pop culture.
Last year, Tracee Ellis Ross shared a video to her Facebook reminiscing on her first hosting gig.
Tracee Ellis Ross Movies: Hanging Up (2000)
Tracee Ellis Ross booked her first major studio role with the 2000 film Hanging Up where she played the role of Kim. The film, directed by Diane Keaton (who also starred in the film), is based on the 1995 novel of the same name.
Hanging Up also stars Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau. It is a comedy-drama about three sisters who bond over the inevitable death of their ill-tempered father.
You can stream Hanging Up on tubi.
Tracee Ellis Ross TV Shows: Girlfriends (2000-2008)
Tracee Ellis Ross starred in the hit sitcom Girlfriends as Joan Carol Clayton. The show focused on four young African American women living in Los Angeles. It chronicled the experiences that the four of them shared throughout their friendship.
Tracee Ellis Ross’s character was a successful and anxious lawyer in search of love and adventure, who decides to give up her career to chase her dreams. She plays the motherly role of the friend group, putting their issues before her own. Girlfriends also features Golden Brooks, Persia White, and Jill Marie Jones.
The show ran for eight seasons, first airing on UPN, then moving to The CW. According to the Atlantic, the series was the third-highest-rated program among African American households by Season Two.
For her work in the show, Tracee Ellis Ross won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007 and 2009. These awards honor outstanding performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature.
Girlfriends is available to watch on Netflix.
Tracee Ellis Ross TV Shows: Reed Between the Lines (2011)
Tracee Ellis Ross starred in the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines as Dr. Carla Reed. The show focuses on a blended family as they take on life’s positive and negative experiences with humor. Tracee’s character is a psychologist, wife, and mom who is trying to learn how to balance her career with her busy home life.
While Reed Between the Lines ran for two seasons, Tracee Ellis Ross only appeared in the first. She was recognized for her performance, winning a third NAACP Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series in 2012.
Reed Between the Lines is available to stream on Paramount+.
Tracee Ellis Ross Movies: Five (2011)
In 2011, Tracee Ellis Ross starred in the Lifetime comedy-drama anthology film Five. The television movie was directed by Jennifer Aniston, Patty Jenkins, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, and Penelope Spheeris. It includes five short films that explore the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives.
Tracee played the character Alyssa in the segment “Lili,” which was directed by Alicia Keys and written by Jill Gordon. Tracee was nominated for a Black Reel Award for Best Actress in a TV Movie for her work in Five. The film won a Women’s Image Network Award for Outstanding Show Produced by a Woman.
Tracee Ellis Ross TV Shows: Black-ish (2014-present)
Since 2014, Tracee Ellis Ross has played the role of Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the ABC comedy series Black-ish. This is perhaps her most notable role to date. Tracee stars opposite Anthony Anderson, as the series follows their lives as an upper-middle-class African American family. Black-ish also stars Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, and Marsai Martin.
According to the Guardian, “Ross says one of the things that drew her to Black-ish was the way it disrupted conventional narratives.”
For her work in the series, Tracee Ellis Ross has earned herself four more NAACP Awards. She has been nominated for two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and two SAG Awards.
In 2016, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, making her the first African American actress to be nominated in that category in 30 years. In 2017, she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Tracee Ellis Ross has also starred in an episode of the Freeform spin-off Grown-ish. In 2015, Black-ish was named one of the Top 10 TV Shows by the American Film Institute.
You can watch full episodes of Black-ish on ABC’s website.
Tracee Ellis Ross TV Shows: Mixed-ish (2019-2021)
Tracee Ellis Ross created a prequel to Black-ish with Kenya Barris called Mixed-ish. In the series, Tracee stars as her character, Rainbow, who narrates the show. Tracee is also the executive producer of Mixed-ish, which premiered on ABC.
Mixed-ish tells the stories of Rainbow and her experiences growing up in the ‘70s in a mixed-race family. The show features Africa Himmel as the young version of Rainbow. It also stars Tika Sumpter, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Rashida Jones, and Daveed Diggs.
Full episodes of Mixed-ish are available to stream on ABC’s website.
Tracee Ellis Ross Movies: The High Note (2020)
Tracee Ellis Ross’s most recent role was the character Grave Davis in the Focus Features musical comedy-drama, The High Note. Tracee stars alongside Dakota Johnson, who plays Grace’s personal assistant who aspires to be a music producer. The film follows the relationship between the two of them.
In the film, Tracee Ellis Ross’s character is a music superstar. The High Note marked Tracee’s singing debut. In an interview with the Guardian, the actress said, “I have wanted to sing since I was a kid… At 47 years old, to go into the studio and start singing, and discover that I actually had a voice that could work… it was life-changing for me.”
The High Note was directed by Nisha Ganatra and also stars Dakota Johnson, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Ice Cube.
Check out the movie trailer:
The High Note is available to stream on HBO Max.
Tracee Ellis Ross wears many hats
Tracee Ellis Ross has made her mark in pop culture outside of her acting career. She became a businesswoman, hosted awards shows, gave speeches, and even received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Art from Brown University.
Tracee Ellis Ross has hosted awards shows such as the BET Awards in 2015 and 2016, the American Music Awards in 2017 and 2018, and the Fashion Awards in 2019. In 2020, she emceed the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
In 2017, Tracee Ellis Ross gave a speech at the Glamour Women of the Year event. Titled “Tracee Ellis Ross is Living for Herself”, the actress spoke about the unfair expectations put on women by society to fit a specific mold and how she is breaking those stereotypes.
Tracee said: “I’m gonna pay attention to the reality of my life and the audacity of my dreams instead of the expectation of what I was raised with. I’m gonna make space for the good and the bad of it, even the yucky and scary and fear-inducing parts and embrace all of the questions. I know that’s how I’m gonna go from being Tracee to being the brave Tracee.”
According to the Guardian, Tracee Ellis Ross is an ambassador for Time’s Up, an organization working to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. In her 2018 TED Talk titled “A woman’s fury holds lifetimes of wisdom,” Tracee said: “Time’s Up on women being held responsible for men’s bad behavior. It is men’s responsibility to change men’s bad behavior. Our culture is shifting and it’s time… Women, I encourage you to acknowledge your fury. Give it language.”
In 2019, Tracee Ellis Ross launched her haircare brand Pattern Beauty, of which she is the CEO. The brand is dedicated to embracing curly hair. In her interview with Marie Claire, Tracee said, “Learning to love my hair in a world that doesn’t mirror that celebration has been a form of both resistance and the claiming of my identity, my selfhood, my legacy, my ancestral lines, the history that I come from.”
Pattern Beauty launched exclusively at Ulta Beauty stores. As a result, Tracee Ellis Ross became the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Ulta.
Most recently, Tracee Ellis Ross revealed that she is executive producing a podcast titled “I Am America.” According to Variety, the podcast “will celebrate true-life stories of heroism, inclusion and community—while dispelling misconceptions about the American identity.” It is set to be released in early 2022 and will be produced by Dear Media.
Why fans love Tracee Ellis Ross
With her radiant smile and vibrant personality, it’s no wonder that Tracee Ellis Ross has caught the attention of fans around the world.
This Twitter user emphasized how gorgeous Tracee Ellis Ross was in The High Note.
The High Note is such a cute movie.
Tracee Ellis Ross is so gorgeous.
— BKM™ (@IamBoi2) June 4, 2021
One fan said that they start off the day by channeling Tracee Ellis Ross, which sounds like a fool-proof hack to having the perfect day.
every day i channel queen Tracee Ellis Ross
— crybaby salad (@mayabee_9217) June 5, 2021
One fan called Tracee Ellis Ross irresistible. (I mean, they’re not wrong!)
Tracee Ellis Ross is simply irresistible. pic.twitter.com/rUYF4ooNRD
— MOGUL (@jaymesblond) May 17, 2021
Rickey pointed out the talent Tracee has to emote with her face.
If I had to pick one person to portray me in a film, it would definitely be Tracee Ellis Ross 😂. The facial expressions alone
— ☀️ (@rickeyrenoy) June 6, 2021
Coren said that Tracee always perfectly portrays the roles she is given.
Tracee Ellis Ross always understands the assignment .
— Coren Majors J.D. (@CorenNicole) June 7, 2021
This fan said that they will be living their best life just like Tracee is when they’re her age.
i will be just like tracee ellis ross when i’m 48.
— KB! (@nllywoodvixen) June 8, 2021
Tracee Ellis Ross’s drive to keep inventing herself might have you wondering, ‘what’s next?’ Well, in her interview with Marie Claire, Tracee revealed that she might get into stand-up comedy or release a music album in the future. She said, “I’m 48 years old, and there’s so much more to try.”
It was announced in 2019 that Tracee Ellis Ross would be executive producing the Daria spinoff, Jodie. Tracee will also voice the lead character Jodie Landon, whose post-college life the show will focus on. According to IndieWire, the show will air on Comedy Central.
— Tracee Ellis Ross (@TraceeEllisRoss) June 13, 2019
While we don’t know for sure what we’ll see from Tracee Ellis Ross yet, we can expect it to be full of personality and life just like her!
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