Tracee Ellis Ross opens up about struggles with ageism in an industry 'obsessed' with youth

Tracee Ellis Ross speaks on ageism in Hollywood ahead of turning 50 as she reveals that she believes it is a 'real honor to get older'

Tracee Ellis Ross
(Image credit: Kwaku Alston / Contributor / Getty Images)

Ahead of her 50th birthday in October, Tracee Ellis Ross has spoken openly about ageism in Hollywood as she discusses growing older in an industry that is obsessed with youth.

In an interview with The Guardian (opens in new tab), Tracee Ellis Ross opened up about ageism and revealed her refreshing opinion that she believes ageing is an honor, rather than something to be reversed or prevented.

When asked about what it is like to age while working in an industry obsessed with youth, Tracee responded, "Oh my goodness, yes they are obsessed." She continued to say that this obsession was sexist and unfairly focused on women growing older, rather than their male counterparts. 

"And it is especially aimed at women. But you know, I’ve always been excited about getting older. I love getting wiser and having more experience," said Tracee. The actress who is best known for her work in Girlfriends and Black-ish added that there are still some downsides to ageing. "I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have vulnerabilities and discomforts around my age, but trying to pretend or hide the things that I feel insecure or uncomfortable about doesn’t make them any less comfortable, you know?" she said.

The actress added, "It’s actually a real honour to get older. Not everybody has that honour, with everything going on in this country, with all of the violence and the children that don’t get to live that long…" This comment was particularly poignant as the interview took place shortly after the Texas school shooting that took place in  Uvalde in May.

Tracee Ellis-Ross

(Image credit: Getty images)

Tracee also spoke about the standards that are imposed upon women to look perfect all the time and said that she shunned the picture-perfect life that appears on social media. 

“I have struggled with perfectionism, and now I shun it. I want to be in a relationship with myself as I am. I don’t want to be fighting with an image that I put out that I can’t keep up with," admitted Tracee.

Then speaking about her Instagram specifically, the actress said, I’ve posted pictures of me in my pyjamas and my hair everywhere, my glasses… I just feel like it’s part of the whole picture. I did not ‘wake up like this'," she jokingly added, "That whole Beyoncé song… it was very, very, uh, challenging for me."

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Tracee has dealt with both ageism and racism during her career and spoke about working in an industry that still lacks diversity. 

"When I won the Golden Globe my speech was very specific," began Tracee reflecting on her 2017 award for Best Actress in the series Black-ish. The actress was the first Black woman to win the award in 33 years. 

"I always choose to speak about the narrative that is not out there. Everywhere I look, Black women are the leads in their lives. So why is there a gap here? There are many that are also so worthy of this [success]. So let’s talk about that and not that I am some special thing that has evolved out of nowhere," she said. 

In her 2017 acceptance speech, Tracee made a powerful statement by saying, "This is for all the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important."

Tracee Ellis Ross

(Image credit: Handout / Handout / Getty Images)

The actress added that while winning awards is an honor, still being the first Black woman to achieve things in this modern day is actually 'embarrassing'. "I was very honored and it was wonderful to win, but I don’t know if that’s something we need to use as an example. It was over 30 years since a Black woman had even been nominated in that category," revealed Tracee.

"I heard a friend recently say, ‘It’s not enough to celebrate the first.’ It’s embarrassing, you know? Because it’s not for a lack of talent existing, it’s not for lack of stories. It’s simply an industry that is still not telling our stories in a way that matches the reality of our humanity," concluded the star. 

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.