Entertainment

Tracee Ellis Ross recounts past criticism of her natural hair texture

Tracee Ellis Ross is one of the most outspoken people in Hollywood when it comes to black beauty issues.

The “Black-ish” actress, 47, launched her Pattern haircare brand for curly, textured, coily and wavy hair in September 2019, and has continued to grow the line with products like styling cream, gel, hair serum and more as well as accessories and brushes.

She has also revealed that her desire to make hair products began back in the early 2000s, when she starred in “Girlfriends,” and been outspoken about discrimination she’s faced in the industry due to her natural hair texture.

“I think back to 10 years ago, I went to the Essence Music Festival and a woman was like, ‘Girl, you’re on TV. You need to get your hair done.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ She was like, ‘Put some heat on your hair! What are you doing?’,” Ellis Ross told Kerry Washington for Elle.com’s State of Black Beauty Issue.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Elle.com’s State of Black Beauty Issue.Djeneba Aduayom / Elle.com

“Growing up, we all went through this experience, where straight hair was your dressed-up hair. The blowout, silky-whatever meant you became more presentable, more appropriate. It was your dressy, sexy version of you. I see such an evolution on that narrative and I’m so grateful for it.”

Ross added that she’s been happy to see more celebrities like Washington, Solange Knowles and more wearing their protective or curly styles on the red carpet, and has noticed the same trend on news anchors and other TV personalities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

She remarked that an impetus for launching her own beauty brand was her wish to see more images of people embracing their curls.

“In terms of seeing all different kinds of versions in the wallpaper of my lives out in the world, I wasn’t seeing it. And I was getting confused,” she said. “All of the things that I was taught from the media were like, I was supposed to have easy breezy beautiful hair. Bouncin’ and behavin’. My hair didn’t blow in the wind! All of these things didn’t match up.”

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