Is there anything Tracee Ellis Ross can’t do? She makes us laugh weekly on Black-ish, is a producer on Mixed-ish, is a regular on best-dressed lists, is a regular (and real) source of fitspo, and recently launched her own haircare line (knowing her hair sparks major envy). And apparently, her selfie game is epic enough to qualify her to shoot her own magazine covers–as she did for Glamour UK, where she stars on the October issue’s digital cover, which proclaims “a celebration of black beauty.” (Fun fact: October is Black History Month in the UK.)
In fact, Ross also did her own makeup for her selfie shoot, for which she used her iPhone 10 (just like us!). The only assistance the fashion-lover enlisted was the talents of “image architect” Law Roach, who dressed the star in layered, monochromatic looks from Valentino, Maison Margiela, and Isabel Marant.
“For my [Glamour UK] October 2019 digital cover story, they asked me if I wanted to take the pictures myself. Of course, I said yes and asked if I could also do my own hair and makeup. They agreed,” Ross wrote on Instagram. “I love the idea of taking ownership over my own ‘beauty’. It was a serene experience to create images that reflect how I like to see myself. And I got to work with [Law Roach] again. Fun fun fun! Images taken with my iPhone 10 (the 11 wasn’t out yet).”
Inside the issue, Ross talks about her new haircare line, Pattern, and the recognition of black beauty, saying:
“I grew up around hair, I mean, look at my mother!...I look back on photographs of myself when I was young [with big hair] and I think gosh, I took the long route to get back there.” The real-life experience was echoed in Tuesday night’s episode of Mixed-ish, as the fictional Rainbow and her siblings butted their heads against black hair politics (literally). In short: To straighten, or not to straighten?
“Sadly, there were not a [ton] of images, outside of my family, of people who looked like me,” she continued, noting that she had a “contentious relationship with the culture of beauty that was around me, but didn’t make space for me. As a result, I tried to beat my hair into submission to do what I thought it should do. I straightened it, I dyed it, I fried it.”
Thankfully for Ross—and for those of us who admire her—she turned a corner in her awareness of her own beauty.
“When I was going through all of that I didn’t have an understanding of the larger cultural context; I didn’t understand that the culture of beauty and the industry of beauty was actually specifically leaving me out and not celebrating me.” she said, adding, “[I]t’s not something wrong with you—the messages and the images are just not supporting you.”
On the subject of support, Ross reveals that the beauty industry didn’t exactly welcome her with open arms as she first attempted to launch Pattern over 10 years ago, a success she now views as “a paradigm shift.”
“There is always an underestimation in terms of our worth, our deservingness and our beauty,” she said. “The gatekeepers of the industry have not had an understanding of the power and the beauty of this community of people. I still am playing within a system that forecasts beneath our worth...But I’m playing the long game.”