Credit: Instagram/Variety

Just because you’re Diana Ross’s daughter doesn’t mean you’re excluded from the insecurities and cosmetic social constructs that exhaust young women of color.

In fact, Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross can pretty much map out her entire young adult life solely by her relationship with her hair. She recently told The Hollywood Reporter,

“There was a way that I thought my hair should look, that it didn’t naturally look. As a result, I was sort of beating my hair into submission. I attempted to turn it into something that I thought was more desirable, which in turn would make me an object of desire for men.”

Misogyny can easily creep into the lives of young women and how they see themselves. Ross remembers trying to force herself to become someone she wasn’t, even without knowing the forces of racism and sexism were at work.

“If you look at the culture of beauty…there is a limited definition that is steeped in racism, sexism, patriarchy, rape culture. I didn’t know that growing up.”

But as she left her adolescence behind and started to fight this restricting idea, one that brought her a good bit of “shame, disappointment, and grief,” she learned to support her hair in its authentic nature.

“It takes a lot of courage to discover who you are and trust who that is, and then allow that person to actually come out.”

It’s probably no coincidence that Ross’s acceptance of her hair coincided with the timeline of her career. Around the time she rebuilt her relationship with her natural hair, she started auditioning for roles and setting out into the world as an actor.

“I auditioned for years and got nothing. I had four 3-ring binders full of my audition [scripts], and I hadn’t gotten any of them. But it was a part of me learning. Every day is its own journey, every experience, every audition.”

You can listen to the full 50-minute podcast here.

Anne Catherine Demere is an intern with Femestella. She is almost too passionate about pop culture and the entertainment industry and she loves to write about it. One of her favorite things is when feminism and pop culture overlap. She’s either starting a new TV show or in class, there’s no in between. And those two rarely coincide.

Categories: Race/Identity