Wednesday, October 3, 2012

LBS Exclusive: Tracee Ellis Ross Talks New Website, Self-Esteem & More

So those of you who know me, know that I consider Tracee Ellis Ross one of my biggest style & beauty inspirations. From her amazing head of natural hair to her impeccable taste in fashion, I’ve been a dedicated STAN since her “Joan” days on Girlfriends.You guys were there when I first met her this time last year at the Reed Between The Lines premiere party (yes, same night I met Kanye). And you were there when I gushed about seeing her again at the Optimum Hair Care event in August (and she remembered me! *squeals*)

So I considered it an immense honor that Tracee chose myself and a handful of other bloggers to hop on a call with her yesterday to discuss one of her proudest accomplishments to date - the launching of her very own website and online community TraceeEllisRoss.com! Tracee chit-chatted about some of her personal style icons, what we can expect to see on the site (from video content to guest appearances and inspiration posts), and what she hopes to accomplish in building her own community online. Get into our chat & be inspired:

What inspired you to create this new site?
I think this has been a lifetime journey if you want to know the truth. I think social media has really changed the definitions of what you can do with a website. Keep in mind that when Girlfriends was on the air, social media did not even exist! So up until recently, I had no real way of connecting to people who connected to [the characters]. So the last year I really spent growing in my relationship with social media. At first I was very uncomfortable with it. I come from a public family so I inherently am very private. But what I came to realize was that people were responding to alot of the same things that I respond to and that I was interested in. So that spawned the thought that it could become more than just me interacting with people via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The desire to create a lifestyle website was there from the start. And my hope is that it eventually moves away from being just TraceeEllisRoss.com and it becomes a world and a tribe of other like-minded people.

Will you share educational pieces about natural hair on the site?
I am not an expert, just an individual who has had quite the hair journey. The overall theme of the site is just to use myself as a springboard. My hair is a huge part of my life so I can't say that it will be educational, but I will be sharing my journey and what works for me. My point always is to stress that there isn’t just one way to do it, or one way to treat your hair. And that’s the theme of how I will use that section of the site.

You're a fashion icon and you inspire many women with your style. Will you be incorporating more stories about empowerment through body image on your site?
Of course! I touched on that with my “A Culture Confused by Fake Boobs” story. I will say that I’m incredibly uncomfortable with having the word “icon” anywhere near my name. It makes me SO uncomfortable. Probably because I’m the offspring of a REAL icon and I don’t feel like I’m anywhere at that place in my life though I’m so humbled by that. Body image is huge for me. Acceptance of ourselves is so important. We are all stunning and beautiful because we are all children of God. So that message will always be a part of anything I do because it is a core belief of mine.

Where do you get visual inspiration from?
Oh God, it comes from anywhere! I could get style inspiration from a flower. Since I was young, I’ve always called my closet my "happy place". I moved to Paris when I was about 12 years old with my family. Then I went to boarding school in Switzerland and there are many things I got from living abroad. One of them being that I came to understand that I was a child of the world and not just the US. From an emotional standpoint, I really gained a connection to the “outer” of clothing and how it related to me in an "inner" way. This idea that clothing started as an armor and a way that I protected myself and now has become a way that I express myself. I truly find inspiration in many different places, but mostly it’s about how I feel, which is why I thinks style is truly from inner to outer.

Will you be including your celebrity friends like Kanye, or style expert besties like Chuck Amos on the site as well?
Eventually I hope to share all aspects of my world. I have alot of people in my world who you might not know but they are the shiznizzle, let me tell ya! My best friend - I want her to have a whole section! I think the people around me are way more exciting then I am. So yes, if Kanye wants to do that or if my best friend wants a section, I hope that this is a place for them to do so. And by the way, that's not only for people I know, but I hope that eventually I end up meeting some people I didn’t know before and being able to introduce them to my community though the website. That is the beauty to me, is that this is a way to connect and become a community - not just a way for me to be seen. So yes, that will happen!

Any favorite blogs or websites?
Recently I have been discovering a ton. Usually my interests online have to do with style and a bit of politics. I really love the Street Style photographers, like I just discovered Jak and Jil. But I will be honest, I’m not really a web surfer. That’s one of the reasons I love Twitter and Pinterest. I go there and they send me places, like an already edited selection of links. I really like Pinterest. It’s like magic!

Who are your personal style/beauty/inspiration icons?
The list could go on and on! I mean, obviously my mother has influenced my style. From a real practical sense because I take ALL her sh**! I mean I have been known to shove stuff down my shirt when she’s said “No you cannot take that.” I have left with bracelets in my boobs! (Laughs) My mom will see me and be like “That is so pretty, I have something like that!”. So obviously my Mom is one. Love Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland, I love the 70’s as an era, Cher, Daphne Guiness - I love her boldness, Nina Simone, Kate Moss has style that makes me want to fall over, Cristy Turlington has incredibly beauty. And I LOVE noses. I love a strong nose. The kind of noses that make people uncomfortable and make them possibly want to get a nose job.

Love this woman! Intrigued? Mmm hmm I know you are. Check out Tracee’s website HERE! You also should be following her on Twitter @TraceeEllisRoss and keeping up with her on the Facebook.

Will you be following? I sure will!

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  1. epiccccccc! Tracee is the bomb.com she is a friend in my head lol :D

  2. Awesome interview!! I absolutely adore Tracee and everything about her!

    With Love,

  3. I LOVE this post! What an honor indeed. She's lovely , and so are you. I LOVE her site btw :-)

    ~ Whitney

  4. This was an awesome interview! She is truly inspiring :)

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