Tracee Ellis Ross Opens Up About Surpassing Her Own Expectations & Finally Feeling "Whole" At Age 46

For Tracee Ellis Ross, wholeness is priceless.

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Life doesn't always turn out the way we think it should, but the good news is most times, that means your destiny can be greater than anything you could have expected.

Just ask Tracee Ellis Ross, who used the lowest point in her life to create the formula for her career peak. The actress recently announced the release of her haircare line, PATTERN, and talked with ESSENCE about how she made a dream that is more than a decade in the making come true through the power of manifestation.

Itaysha Jordan (@itayshaphoto) for ESSENCE

Decades after appearing on the cover of ESSENCE with her mother, Diana, for the first time, Tracee Ellis Ross is on a mission to become an industry legend in her own right. In the cover story, she explained:

"I remember the first time I was on 'ESSENCE'. I was on it with my mom. I thought, 'Okay, dreams are real, and they can happen.' Still, as Diana Ross's child, you wonder whether you will become anything in your own right. So it was a really big moment to go from being on the cover of 'ESSENCE' with my mom to having my own cover. Now I've had three on my own and one with my mom. That's crazy!"

At age 46, Tracee is as fly and free as ever, and says that after years of letting others determine her worth, she finally understands that wholeness is priceless:

"I feel a little humbled by that, knowing I have truly filled my own shoes—and maybe even had to buy a couple of new pairs at times. There are people who have no idea that my worth is not based on my mom or what I look like. There's a wholeness to me that I cherish."

While Tracee may be living the life of her dreams today thanks to this positive perspective, this hasn't always been her mentality. The entrepreneur explained that when Girlfriends went off the air in 2008, she felt like a fish out of water with nowhere to swim. Although Tracee anticipated that her phone would soon blow up with a slew of calls, texts, and emails that offered the actress her next big role, her phone didn't ring:

"I really thought when 'Girlfriends' finished that the pearly gates of Hollywood were going to open, and they were going to be like, 'What movie would you like, ma'am? Please, choose whatever.' That did not happen. It forced my soul to continue to search for what it longed for, dreamed of, wanted to be."

I've always been very intentional with my prayers, but it's hard to ask for what you haven't envisioned. According to Tracee, the key to discovering your destiny may lie in leveling up your expectations. Tracee says that she finally discovered freedom after realizing that true joy can't be determined by a dollar sign:

Itaysha Jordan (@itayshaphoto) for ESSENCE

"It allowed me to continue to create an unbreakable, unshakable foundation for my life, a relationship with myself that is based not on what everybody outside is saying but on what I believe is good and right. It allowed me to continue to grow as a person and to realize I was deserving and worthy. I could own my success, but I could also own what might look like failure. I could literally be my own best friend and mirror, knowing that my worth is not tangled up in what I think I should be getting."

The path to success is not linear, and Tracee warns against beating yourself up when you lose your footing. What she thought was the end of her career was only the beginning of her best life, because soon after the show ended, she wrote her first pitch for a line of hair care products that would come to fruition 10 years later. Our time isn't God's time, and Tracee learned that lesson the hard way so we don't have to:

"Ten years ago, when 'Girlfriends' ended, I wrote a pitch for a line of hair care products. It has been 30 years in the trenches of my hair. Twenty years of dreaming. Ten years of trying, strategizing and asking. Five years of continuing to learn. Four years with chemists, and 74 samples later, we're here."

To read Tracee's full interview, click here!

Featured image by Itaysha Jordan (@itayshaphoto) for ESSENCE.

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