Despite her glam childhood, she still had to work for what she wanted: Tracee said that her mama, the legendary Diana Ross, never let her five children get too comfy in their lavish lifestyles. “‘This is mine, and I’m not leaving any of it to you,'” she said her mother used to say to her and her siblings. “‘I’m going to spend it, so you’d better get a job, little girl.'”
She enjoys finding family artifacts online: Sure, she was used to the cameras and paparazzi now, but Tracee is regularly shocked to find photos—many of which she hasn’t seen—of her younger self floating around the Internet. She’s pictured here with her sisters, Chudney and Rhonda, and her mother, Diana.
She wasn’t always “Tracee Ellis Ross”: She was born Tracee Joy Silberstein (“Silberstein” being her father’s former last name), but once her dad remarried and dropped Silberstein from his name, she did, too.
She’s still not over Girlfriends: Truth be told, neither are we. Tracee said that the abrupt ending of the show, which came in 2008 after nine beloved seasons, was “really weird” for her. “It’s still very sad to me.”
She can’t always tells where Tracee ends and her characters begin: She occasionally sees bits of Joan Clayton (her character on Girlfriends) seep into Bow Johnson (her character on black-ish). But, she says, some of her characters’ crazy antics can be attributed to none other than Tracee herself.
She dreams of having a “Black-ish”-esque family life: Tracee attributes the success of black-ish to the humor that comes out of Bow and Dre’s happy, quirky relationship. In fact, their on-screen repartee is something that Tracee wants off-screen. “I want to have a family, so until that time comes, this show is a brilliant substitute.”
To read Tracee’s full interview, be sure to pick up a March issue of ESSENCE magazine, on newsstands now.