Tracee Ellis Ross wishes she’d accepted her natural curls sooner and not tried to fit in with society’s standards of beauty.
The Black-ish actress has launched Pattern – a range of hair products which will include shampoos, conditioners and serums aimed at women with curly, coily and textured hair types – after confessing she struggled to accept her hair while growing up.
“Sadly, there were not a ton of images, outside of my family, of people who looked like me,” she told Glamour magazine. “I went through those teenage years when everybody is searching to figure out who they are and all of a sudden become so aware of how they look, how they are seen, what’s cool, what’s in.”
While the star admitted she “grew up around hair” – highlighting her famous mother Diana Ross’ iconic locks – it was not seeing representation in the industry that began her “contentious relationship” with beauty.
“The culture of beauty that was around me… didn’t make space for me,” she considered. “As a result, I tried to beat my hair into submission to do what I thought it should do. I straightened it, I dyed it, I fried it.”
However, Tracee admitted women of colour still face “an underestimation in terms of our worth, our deservingness and our beauty”, she regrets trying so hard to fit in with her peers.
“I look back on photographs of myself when I was young (with big hair) and I think: ‘Gosh, I took the long route to get back there’,” she smiled.