If you asked me right now what I want to be when I grow up, my answer would be Tracee Ellis Ross. At 45 years old, our fairy godmother of style and all things glamour manages to balance activism, directing, acting, and self-care without breaking a sweat. Although her coveted beauty and style may seem effortless, Tracee recently revealed to InStyle that just like the rest of us, she had to work for that sh*t. She said:
"The 'I woke up like this' thing? Bullshit! 'Black-ish' is in HD, darling! There's no Vaseline on the lenses. At 18 I might have woken up like this. At 45 I f*cking work for it."
The Black-ish star revealed that she likes junk food just as much of the rest of us. Tracee's trick is to keep in mind that every Krispy Kreme donut equals a sweat-drenched day at the gym. According to her, the key to real self-care is balance.
"I love potato chips more than anything in the world, and so I work out hard. I put masks on my face. I take care of myself. And, by the way, to me self-care does not mean going to the spa. It's learning to say no. It's knowing yourself so you can make choices that are an expression of you. That's self-care."
Along with being able to say no, Tracee says that one of her non-negotiables when it comes to self-care is delegating time alone. Although she does make time for fun with friends and family, "choiceful solitude" is a factor in Tracee's life that is not up for debate. She is a reminder to live life in pursuit of what makes you happy, not just what sounds good to the people around you. Despite the society's ideal scenario of a husband and children, Tracee says that she's happier taking the road less traveled:
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"It's sort of fascinating to be 45 and single and childless. Happily single, I should add. Not at home crying about it. These are very big and very personal questions that aren't anyone's business but that somehow, like the right to choose, become fodder for public conversation. Some of the ability to reflect on what I really want comes from pushing up against a society that shames me for not having the expected trappings. I'm very pleased with my existence these days. Have I had to learn to make friends with loneliness? Yes. I think if I were in a relationship, it would be the same."
Tracee was blessed to grow up as the daughter of rhythm and blues royalty, and this privilege is one that she acknowledges and took full advantage of. She told InStyle that her confidence and flair comes from her biggest inspiration and confirmed that she does, in fact, get it from her mama. The actress said that one of her favorite activities to date is rummaging around in her mother's storage unit full of old clothes.
"It's like going to a museum. I'll sound like a crazy person, but when I hold some of her extraordinary original beaded stage clothes, there is a particular Diana Ross smell, a mom smell, a certain perfume that I just love. And sometimes, when you open the garment bags and there's makeup or sweat or other evidence of the clothes being worn — I find it really extraordinary. It's an artifact. You're seeing the fullness of a life that existed in that snapshot of a moment.
To Tracee, style was never about the clothes a woman wears, instead, it is defined the woman wearing them. She continued:
"As a kid I saw my mom as the lady in the sparkly dress on the stage who sang, but as I've gotten older, I've found the language to articulate that what I was seeing was a woman in her full glory being in connection with this gift she was given, being glamorous and sexy but not in a way that's 'Look at me.' We live in a 'Look at me' culture. I was raised to view sexy as being at the height of your ... self. Clothing was one of the ways you could wear your inside on your outside."
Again, Tracee hit us with gems for days. It doesn't really matter what you wear, as long as you remember how powerful the woman is underneath it all.
And that ladies, is what you call black girl magic at its finest. Read the full interview here.
Featured image by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images