TheGrio's 100: Tracee Ellis Ross, actress portrays positive black image on and off the screen

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Some know actress Tracee Ellis Ross as the neurotic but lovable Joan on UPN/CW hit show, Girlfriends. Others may recognize her as Dr. Carla Reed, the successful psychologist, wife and mother on BET’s Reed Between The Lines, a show for which she is also a producer. But one thing for sure is that Ross has been a mainstay in American homes, providing families with an amusing take on life from a professional black woman’s perspective that has been lacking in recent years.

Tracee Ellis Ross is making history … as a lovable black actress on the small screen. Most noted for her bubbly roles with a hint of eccentricity, Ross has blended some of the elements of her real personality into her work to make for well-rounded characters. Aside from being the daughter of music icon Diana Ross, Tracee is making her own waves in Hollywood. For example, she won an NAACP Image Award in 2007 in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role on Girlfriends.

What’s next for Tracee?

In addition to headlining successful TV shows, Ross continues to act in other capacities. She has made appearances on the CBS show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ABC’s Private Practice, and appeared in Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie Daddy’s Little Girls. We are sure that more great roles are in store for Ross.

In her own words …

“To anyone who has a dream, I encourage you to follow it, to feed it, to nurture it, and to allow it to be the sacred calling that God dropped into your heart. And that means that even if it doesn’t become the thing that you are actually able to make a living doing, that you don’t in any way of your life let it go away,” she said.

A little-known fact about Tracee Ellis Ross …

Before she became an actress, Ross was a teen model and attended Brown University, graduating with a degree in theater.

For more information about Tracee Ellis Ross, click here. THE GRIO’S Q & A WITH TRACEE ELLIS ROSS

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: I will continue to pursue film projects, produce and take on a more active role in creating and developing material — such as my one woman show. I will also be extending my reach into other areas that I love — CLOTHING and HAIR!!

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I love to cook.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “If who we are in our essential nature is enough, then our task is not to change but to unfold, to become who in essence we already are.” — Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: Where do I not get inspiration from? I get inspiration from everything and everywhere.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: Extraordinary women who live fully in their skin and in their lives and remind me to do the same.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who’s craving to achieve their dreams?

A: Fulfilling our dreams is a sacred journey. It does not have to be a public one. My suggestion is to be specific and honest with yourself, allow the space between where you are and where you want to be to inspire you, and take consistent ACTION in the direction of what you want.