Tracee Ellis Ross Covers Harper’s Bazaar’s November ‘Home’ Issue

Posted on October 28, 2021

Tracee Ellis Ross covers Harper’s Bazaar’s November ‘Home’ issue photographed by Renell Medrano and styled by Samira Nasr.




On finding happiness on her own: “I didn’t see enough examples of different versions of how a woman can find happiness and joy and power and sensuality, sexuality, all of that, without it being through the lens of how I’m seen by a man. People are like, ‘You’re the poster child for being single.’ And I was like, ‘Great.’ But what I would prefer is that I’m the poster child for living my life on my terms. And that there’s a version of that for everyone. I don’t live my life for other people. I just totally live it for me. This is something that has really solidified itself into an unbreakable, unshakable foundation in the last four or five years.”

On using her platform to speak up for what she believes in: “There were a lot of instances on Girlfriends when I used my voice powerfully and it wasn’t well received. People don’t want to be told that what they’re doing might not be the right thing or might not make everybody happy. But I am somebody who—I don’t just go along to get along.”

On reflecting on the near-decade she has spent playing Bow on Black-ish and how ending the long-running show and putting a beloved character to rest feels different from leaving her role as Joan on Girlfriends“I’m ready for it to be the end, and also it’s going to be really hard. I mean, eight years we’ve watched the TV kids grow up. We’ve watched Anthony’s beard do tons of different things. I found my voice. It came before, but I really started using it during Black-ish.

On her journey to become more outspoken and bold: “Listen, learning to be me has been a really long journey. I tried being small and feeling things in little ways. It took me a long time to get to know myself, to accept myself, and even on some days to really like and love myself. And then it took me a whole other load of years to have the courage to actually live in the world as that person. And it’s been trial and error, chewing on ground glass. It’s been a hard-earned journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. I mean, I came out of the womb like this. I literally think I was like, ‘Woo-hoo! I’m here. What have you got? Let’s go!’”

On embracing her age: “I’m the sexiest I’ve ever been. And when I say that, I mean I feel the most myself. And the information is just not out there. And it’s as if you get to this age and—what was that Tina Fey sketch?” she asks, referring to the one Fey starred in on Inside Amy Schumer called “Last Fuckable Day.” “It’s like, they’re going to cart me off in a canoe into no-man’s-land. Fuck that. Shut up. I’m going to be sexy all over the place. Living my life with my juice.”

On finding a sense of home in the people and things that surround her: “Because of the childhood that I had and my mother’s career, from an early age, even though I couldn’t define it at the time, I had to find a sense of home and safety within my body and with people. It wasn’t always about a space, and that remains for me. Home for me is about safety and embrace. It’s about shedding all the external masks that we have to wear out in the world. Home is really about beauty, safety, history. My friendships are home for me. My family is home for me. It’s an energetic connection that creates a sense of safety and groundedness, where I don’t have to wear any mask. I can just be myself.”

Michaela Angela Davis, Tracee’s longtime friend, on how she met the actress while working at Mirabella: “I met Tracee in a closet… She was working in the fashion closet at Mirabella, and she was receiving clothes that I had pulled for a shoot. I had no idea who she was, except for she was cute and she was a girl of color where there were none. When I say none, it seems odd to imagine, but if you could go back over 25 years and look at any major magazine, there were none. She was just so cool. She was that girl. And she wore a very sophisticated mix of designer and vintage. She’s got on Halston today, and yesterday she had on 1972 Céline because she was also wearing her mother’s vintage clothes. Hello! And she worked really hard, and she was focused. She didn’t work like a rich girl. She wasn’t outdressing Jade Hobson, who was the creative director [then], but she was killing it every day.” (Mirabella is also where Ross met and became friends with Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Samira Nasr.) “She said, ‘My mother would love you!’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s cute. Your mother would love me.’ I thought maybe her mother was a society lady. So I get this address to go to the Sherry-Netherland. And it’s a different name, obviously. I go in, and the doorman lets me in. And I go up to the penthouse, and the elevator doors open, and Diana Ross is standing in front of me. That began our long friendship. We are both really interested in style and joy and justice.”



[Photo Credit: Renell Medrano/Harper’s Bazaar Magazine]

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