Tracee Ellis Ross: “I Like Being 45, I Like Getting Older, and I Like Celebrating That With Other Women”
The Black-ish star gets candid about aging, saggy knee skin, and why Helen Mirren is a total bombshell.
When it comes to aging, women usually get the short end of the stick. For some reason, climbing up in years has always been synonymous with an immediate lack of relevance, or having nothing more to offer. Aging, for women, has been seen as a sort of decline. But the opposite is actually true. And during an intimate affair at Joe’s Pub in New York City last night, the women’s clothing brand Chico’s chose to showcase this reality with the launch of their #HowBoldAreYou campaign, which highlights the versatility, fabulousness, stylishness, and, of course, boldness of women of all ages.
Among the women in attendance was Golden Globe award-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross, who spoke candidly on aging. “For me, turning 45, as a young girl, I had this woman that I dreamt of being. I had her in my head and I’d play around with her in my head and with certain people,” she said. “But the gift of age is that you actually get to have the boldness to be that person, to be that woman. And I am experiencing it now. And some of the things that I have discovered in knowing myself is that I actually like myself.”
Ross has come a long way. The Black-ish also shared a story about how on her 40th birthday she rented out a theater, invited a bunch of her friends, and then proceeded to undress, standing before the crowd in just her bra and panties, pointing out all of the things she didn’t like about herself.
If only we could all discover the self-love that Ross has since embraced. A starting point, she said, is to realize that “[w]e have this beautiful opportunity…to be celebrating who we are as women in all phases, all ages, all sizes, all colors, in all aspects of who we are. Not just because of what we offer in terms of our sexuality, but because we actually have voices and lives, and we are fully empowered beings that can change the world and also have fun while doing it.”
On how her attitude has changed
"Patience. I have more patience. Discomfort doesn’t frighten me; it doesn’t debilitate me. When I am frightened it is actually ok to be uncomfortable, to be frightened. I like being 45, and I like getting older, and I like celebrating that with other women."
On redefining the idea of a bombshell
"Did you notice at the Oscar’s that moment with Helen Mirren, how special that was. If you guys didn’t see it there was this funny joke where if you gave a short speech you were going to get a jet ski and when the curtain came up, there was Helen Mirren. And I know that it was a cute moment, but it did something special. It blew a hole in the archetype of the bombshell. And those kind of messages really change the way we start to see ourselves. That Helen Mirren, at 72, now is one of those bombshells."
On women she admires
"I made a list of all the extraordinary women: Michelle Obama, Ava DuVernay, Allison Janney, Halle Berry—have you seen those legs? I don’t know what she does, but I want to do that."
On the skin changes she just doesn’t understand
"Let’s talk about certain things that are confusing at this age. My underarms and the skin around my knees. These are the only complaints I have. And they’re not complaints, but it’s different. The skin is very different. They don’t talk about that, and we need to talk about it more. What is happening in this area? It’s fascinating isn’t it? Because the bra is meant to cover this bit, but there is another bit. There is a whole other bit."
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On her must-do beauty hack
"And do you guys dry brush? You should dry brush. You don’t dry brush? Dry brushing is very good for circulation and cellulite."
On the TV shows that inspired who she is today
"When I was growing up the TV shows that I loved were Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angles, [The] Carol Burnett [Show], I Love Lucy—so when I thought about it, and I put all of those women together, I thought, Of course I grew up to become a bold woman who thinks that I have the power to leap buildings, spin in something gorgeous and save people, and to be funny and glamorous and empowered in my skin and be in all of my glory, because these are the images I saw growing up."