Image: Nino Muñoz (Elle Canada/Hachette Filipacchi Media)

It’s only the first day of August, but with a slew of September issues featuring black women on their covers, it’s hard not to look forward to a change of season. We’re still seeing new reveals, but already Slick Woods is in full bloom and beaming on Elle UK, Tiffany Haddish is glowing on Glamour, Rihanna is the first black woman to cover British Vogue’s fall fashion issue, and we can’t wait to see how 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell captures Beyoncé for their history-making cover.

And the hits keep coming—in the best way possible: Tracee Ellis Ross and her irresistible smile are front and center on the cover of Elle Canada, perfectly reflecting our joy at seeing yet another black woman fronting the biggest issue of the fashion industry’s year.

Inside, the actress talks about her former life as a fashion editor [at 90’s tome Mirabella], her childhood as the offspring of a legendary diva, and how she’s developed her inimitable style.

I genuinely lean toward what makes my heart sing. It changes every day. Sometimes I’m one person; sometimes I’m another. But I know—I know when a script is for me, when an outfit is for me. When I get dressed, sometimes I say ‘That’s it! Okay, that’s right!’ out loud.

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Ross claims that she developed her strong perspective and fashion sense early on, learning at the feet of her famous mother, Diana Ross. As she confessed to Elle:

In hindsight, I now know that I [grew up watching] a woman in her full power and glory, who utilized her agency. And that’s what clothing, style and fashion represented to me—a uniform for greatness. Your clothing can change your narrative and reframe circumstances, and it can be a visual marker for a larger conversation. That is why it has that meaning in my life.

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At 45, Ross is also calling “bullshit,” on the idea that age automatically equals invisibility, admitting Elle that she’s both “vain as fuck,”and has “gotten sexier and better with age.”

And while we’re inclined to agree, perhaps the best thing about Ross’s beauty is that it radiates from the inside out.

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“My belief is that all these lines on my face and neck and the softness in my legs and my body are evidence of a life lived,” she says. “All of those things have made me the woman I am.”