Actor, producer and entreprenuer Tracee Ellis Ross is living life to the fullest and making the most of it. The star actress who graces Shape Magazine’s latest issue – November edition, talks living productively, finding joy during stressful moments, being happily single, relationship prospects, career and much more.
“People can be in wonderful relationships but can’t actually reap the joy of that connection. Because you can have all the good stuff, but if you don’t know how to be with it, it doesn’t matter. I realize that I hold the idea of wholeness with great reverence and respect because my goal is to have an experience with myself that is whole.
I am happily single, though that doesn’t mean I am not open to and don’t want a relationship. But in my wonderful and robust experience of being single, I have learned to have a productive relationship with loneliness and an intensely juicy relationship with my joyful solitude — I really enjoy my company. For example, one of the things I loved to do pre-pandemic is put on something cute and go for dinner and have a beautiful meal and a glass of wine. Well, can’t do that. But you know what? I can do that at home. I make a beautiful plate. I set it out and have a glorious meal. I make my bed every morning. One of the things that’s been lovely to discover is how I care for myself and how I actively love myself. And I believe that love is an action: You get back what you put in.”
On getting back to her role as Bow Johnson, M.D., mom of five:
“The show acts as a bridge between life and entertainment and allows a digestible version that can enter into people’s hearts,” she says. Her perspective comes from years on both sides of the flat screen, or tube as it was called in the ’80s when she was growing up, with few actors of color in sight. “I think of how important television has been in shaping my own identity, in shaping what I saw as possible. I could take a piece of Wonder Woman, a piece of the Bionic Woman, see Cagney and Lacey fighting crime and Lucille Ball being both glamorous and funny,” says Tracee, 48. “When I think about Bow Johnson, the handful of other projects that I’m executive producing, and even Pattern [her labor-of-love hair-care line], I use the opportunity to consider: How can I continue to expand anyone’s understanding of who they could be?”
On how work-life balance will settle into the post-pause world. “Before COVID, we were all living unsustainable schedules,” she says. “I used to park my car, walk through my kitchen, go upstairs, and get ready for bed, and then I’d start the whole thing over the next day. I hope a bit of the humanity we found can remain within what we go back to.”
“What I’ve realized during this pandemic is that my entire home is my meditation space.”