Tracee Ellis Ross is one of the most inspiring women of our time.
Every day, she continues to captivate the attention of all her followers on social media. Her journey of living her best life is an inspiration and I commend her for her continued success and being an example of womanhood at its finest. She’s not afraid to be herself and go against the norm of what society expects of a woman once she is a certain age. Her energy, passion and drive are a source of inspiration for me and women around the world.
The Golden Globe-winning actress is best known for her TV roles as Joan in the series Girlfriends and most recently as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in ABC’s hit comedy series, Black-ish. She also happens to be the daughter of music icon Diana Ross. She’s spent her life in the spotlight, but has always managed to make her fans feel like she is really their ‘girlfriend’. With her infectious laughter and down-to-earth personality the way she interacts with her fans and followers has created a strong connection.
Last year, at the Glamour Women of The Year Summit, she captivated the audience by speaking about something that resonates with women around the world.
She said, “I grew up planning a wedding. My dress was going to be corseted with multiple Victorian camisoles spilling off my shoulders and I would change into a white double-breasted suit, with wide leg trouser, with a big cuff, for the reception. I dreamed about being chosen by a powerful, sexy, kind man who had full lips and gave good hugs and having a little baby boy named Lauren.”
Most girls are taught from a young age that we should fantasize about the day we meet our ‘prince charming’ and finally get married. It’s in our fairy tales and books that shape our minds as girls and sticks with us into womanhood. It’s the type of thinking that makes us believe we are not worthy because we didn’t meet those expectations.
“It’s really interesting to be a woman, and to get to 45, and to not be married, and to not have kids. Especially when you have just pushed out your fifth kid on television,” she said in her speech. “You start hearing crazy stuff like, “Oh, you know what sweetie just haven’t found the right guy yet,” or “What are you going to do?” or “Oh, you poor thing,” “Why is someone like you still single?” “Have you ever thought of having kids?” or “You know what why don’t you just have a kid on your own?” It’s never ending, okay, and not helpful,” she declared.
Millions of women around the world share the same experiences and can understand what she’s talking about. Reaching a certain age unmarried and childless, all too often people look at you with a sense of disappointment when they find out. Even when a woman has made many accomplishments it’s like she’s looked down on because she’s somehow ‘missed out’ on those things in life.
When she described having dreamed of her wedding day as a young girl, she also added, “But, I also dreamed of winning an Oscar and being on the cover of magazines and making a difference in the world, and helping women find our voices. And from that dreaming, you guys I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am very proud to be.”
Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak their truth and have their voices heard and they shouldn’t be ashamed of being single after 40. I think Ross shows how you can still have a fruitful life despite not having those things expected of you as a woman.
Watch the TED Talk below.
Watch her Ted Talk in April 2018.
As an outspoken advocate for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement she continues to speak about the daily injustices women face. In her Ted Talk, “A Woman’s Fury Holds Lifetimes of Wisdom”, earlier this year in Vancouver, she touched on the ‘fury’ felt by women around the world and why it’s men’s responsibility to change their own actions.” She said that what’s happening in Hollywood, as a result of the women speaking out against sexual harassment, has really created a sense of community among women sharing their experiences. She chooses to speak on issues not because she is obligated to, but because she strongly believes in it.
Not only does she speak out on women’s rights, but she’s also outspoken when it comes to racial injustices in America. Often using her social media to make statements and support activists who are calling out the terrible things happening to people of colour.
I can’t forget to mention what a style icon Ms. Ross has become throughout her life. Such an inspiration the way she puts together colour, silhouette and often goes against the norm. As a former editor at the now defunct Mirabella Magazine, she’s always been known to have her own sense of style. Admittedly she had access to an amazing wardrobe as a little girl playing in her mother’s high heels. What a great way to get yourself into fashion when your mom, Diana Ross, is a style icon herself.
Ross’s passion is enough for anyone to have a high regard for her. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and be a voice for those who otherwise wouldn’t have the platform to get a message out. She’s also an inspiration for women in media. As an Actress, Director, Television Host, model and designer (she had a collection with JC Penney), she proves women can do anything they set their minds to.
Tracee Ellis Ross wearing on old top from Agnes B. and trousers from Celine. Photo: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images