Tracee Ellis Ross Talks “Reed” and The Real Her

Posted by on Dec 21, 2011

Tracee Eliis Ross for VIBE Vixen VV: Is it difficult balancing your role as producer with starring in the show?
Ross: I wouldn’t say difficult, but it definitely makes for a long day. But it is the kind of full plate that I adore. I adore this kind of work, and it’s very rewarding. The producer role very much plays into the kind of person I am. In the evolution of my career, it is a really exciting step for me because I am the kind of creative person that has a real opinion about the kind of images that I want to portray and want in the public. Having a seat at the table with the many voices, that is part of the collaborative art of television and is really exciting and wonderful for me.

VV: One of the recent episodes dealt with a veteran with PTSD, and it was a little more serious. Will we be seeing more of that in upcoming episodes?
Ross: In terms of where we want to go as a show, I know that we all long for a nice balance with the comedy and the humor. Finding the grounded humor and not the joke humor is always the challenge.

VV: So you have this season and next season?
Ross: We have no idea; we’ll see if we get picked up. That’s always the gamble.

VV: Let’s talk about your style. Before when we spoke, you mentioned that some of the pieces from Girlfriends would find their way into Carla’s wardrobe. What’s the inspiration? Do you work with designers or find things out and about?
Ross: It’s stuff that’s been found out and about. The way I went about Joan and Carla is I always ask myself who this woman is. Every once in a while people say Carla is so much like Joan, and I’m like, People, Tracee plays both people. So what you’re seeing that’s the same between Carla and Joan is not Carla being like Joan, but it’s Tracee. Tracee was Joan and Tracee is Carla. It’s so funny people don’t understand that, it makes me laugh.

VV: I think it’s because we got so used to you as Joan.
Ross: You know Joan more than you know Tracee. That’s a good thing; it means I’m a great actor [Laughs]. But they are very different women. Joan was very neurotic and afraid. She did not have a lot of faith, and she was trying to have a lot more control over her life. It was a lot harder, there were a lot more suits, it was a little less flowy. Carla has a lot more faith, she has a lot more acceptance of herself and she has the support of a husband that accepts her as she is—which was Joan’s exact struggle. So Carla’s clothes are a lot softer, there are a lot less suits, there is a lot more movement and whimsy in her clothing.

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