It's hard to believe that Queen and icon Tracee Ellis Ross didn't realize the expansiveness of her reach until much later in life, but that's absolutely the case. Interviewed by Kerry Washington and styled by Shiona Turini, Tracee Ellis Ross took to the digital cover of ELLE.com's inaugural "State of Black Beauty" issue to discuss founding a beauty brand, the power of black hair, and stepping into your own power.
An interview filled with black excellence, Ross starts the conversation by opening up about the intimate connection she and other black women have with her hair journey. The Emmy-nominated actress is celebrating a year with Pattern Beauty line, created out of a personal need for the products.
"All of the things that I was taught from the media were like, I was supposed to have easy, breezy beautiful hair. Bouncin' and behavin'. My hair didn't blow in the wind! All of these things didn't match up."
It wasn't until after her run as Joan on Girlfriends that Tracee took this seriously and wrote her first haircare brand pitch. Even though it failed, it taught her an important lesson about creating something with a purpose.
"If there's no frame to hold the facts, it's very difficult to hold the facts. There was no real frame for the beauty that existed. It took about ten years to create Pattern. The mission is two-fold, to create effective products for the curly, coily, and tight textured community. The second part of the mission is to be an active space to celebrate Blackness and the power of Black beauty."
She didn't just apply that logic to the beauty world, though. As a black woman in Hollywood, Tracee had to build the courage to advocate for herself and others like her. With the help of peers like Kerry Washington, Tracee made a career out of speaking up for women.
"...every courageous act that a marginalized person takes opens up a space for somebody else."
Tracee credits her sisterhood of black actresses for helping her build that strong foundation. And now, in a world where people question the quality of black lives, Tracee is up for the task.
"Black women and our hair have been at the center of social, cultural, political, and economic revolutions and movements through time."
No matter what she does, Tracee will continue to push the boundaries for marginalized communities.
No longer is she relying on the world to change, she's changing it herself.
To read the Elle.com interview in full, click here.
Featured image via Tracee Ellis Ross/Instagram