In a recent Elle Q&A with fellow actress and close pal, Kerry Washington, Ross opened up about how the world shaped her idea of beauty and when she came to accept her thick hair.
She shared, "I was very supported in my family around my hair. But in terms of seeing all different kinds of versions in the wallpaper of my lives out in the world, I wasn't seeing it. And I was getting confused. All of the things that I was taught from the media were like, I was supposed to have easy breezy beautiful hair. Bouncin' and behavin'. My hair didn’t blow in the wind! All of these things didn't match up!"
Previously, in her interview with Byrdie, the actress revealed that she often got her hair relaxed or straightened as a kid, styling her hair very tightly so it would appear as sleek as she saw in most commercials. She explained, "I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do to try and make my hair cool, make me loveable, make me pretty, make me likeable by guys—the whole thing."
However, during her time on the show Girlfriends, the actress discovered that she didn't have to change her hair. While visiting one of her stylists, she learned that there were several fans who loved her natural coils. So much, in fact, that they used her pictures as inspiration for their own hairstyles.
After Ross attended a natural hair event and saw a community of proud, curly-haired women, it sparked the idea to create her haircare line, Pattern, which caters mainly to curly and tight-textured hair.
"I have a real love of texture," the Black-ish star said during her chat with Washington. "Those with tighter textures have given me the courage to embrace and love what grows out of my head. I always remind people, we've been here doing this forever. This is not some new phenomenon. Braids are not new. Cornrows are not new. Twists are not new."
Noting that Black hair has not been "a part of the standard or culture of beauty," Ross claimed that growing to understand and love her curls was "a process." Still, Ross is determined to encourage others who are experiencing the journey themselves.
Tracee, you're truly an inspiration.