Tracee Ellis Ross has been in the spotlight her entire life, and Sunday she was honored for her always-impeccable style. The “Blackish” actor took home the style icon award at the 2020 People’s Choice Awards.
Ross told E! in an interview before the ceremony began that she had always loved fashion.
“As I was coming out of the womb, I was like ‘Sparkles! Where’s the feathers! Give ‘em to me, fashion, I love fashion!” she joked.
“It started very young,” she explained. “I come by it honestly, my mom is Diana Ross, she’s the fashion icon that I actually follow. My father also has impeccable taste.”
She later thanked both her parents in her acceptance speech for their influence.
“Obviously I have to thank the icon herself, my mom,” she said. “Not only for great parenting and not acquiescing to my many whimsical and outrageous requests — and tantrums, if I’m being honest — but also her example, her epic closet and her glamor that introduced me to the power of fashion.”
“After she would finish a show and the curtain would fall, I would go on stage as a little girl and collect all of the beads that had fallen off her sparkly dresses so that I could have pieces of the magic,” she said. “Seeds of the fashion dreams that I was cultivating for myself.”
Ross, 48, added that as she ventured out on her own and started paying her own way, she didn’t have enough money to “buy the clothes that matched the taste level that I was accustomed to stealing from my mom’s closet.”
She went thrifting and found her love of vintage clothing.
“Secondhand clothing helped me understand that style has nothing to do with money,” she explained. “It’s the way you put things together. Style is the how, not the what.”
She added that as she spent years “playing dress-up” in her closet, she realized she found her freedom and power.
"The more I understood who I was, the more I was able to hone my power and creative expression through clothing,” she said. “I wear my insides on the outside.”
Ross explained that by wearing Black designers or an all-black outfit for Time’s Up to awards shows, she has been able to show her activism through her clothing choices.
“It doesn’t matter if you wear black tie or a Black Lives Matter T-shirt but suit up and show up because our action creates our destiny, our joy creates space for our freedom,” she said.