It’s been three years since “Girlfriends” ended, and were still missing our Joan, Mia, Toni and Lynn.

Fans weren’t the only ones shocked by the show’s abrupt ending during the Writer’s Guild strike in 2008.

ESSENCE September cover girl, Tracee Ellis Ross, remembers feeling overwhelmed and tired. Suddenly she was an actor with no work.

“It was like, ‘What are you going to do?’ she tells ESSENCE. “For the first three months, I picked a different lipstick color every day. I had to find my brightness from my lips. I had given so much of myself to that role.”

Luckily, Tracee had enough to gall to pick herself up and keep it moving.  She campaigned for Senator Barack Obama and mentored youth across the country. Through her work, Tracee also came into her own.

“On ‘Girlfriends’ I had become a woman, but it wasn’t until three or four years later that I really began to embody who I am become,” she adds.

Next up for one of our favorite style icons is the sitcom, “Reed Between the Lines,” and maybe, just maybe, an affordable clothing line sold on HSN.

Read more about Tracee’s journey post-“Girlfriends” and her thoughts on a clothing line in the latest issue of ESSENCE.