We were introduced to Tracee vicariously through Joan (from “Girlfriends”) as the quirky, fun-loving, neurotic girlfriend that could dress her behind off. Now she’s married to an English professor (in “Reed Between The Lines”) with a brood of her own—but her fashion still moves the masses to take note whenever she shows up.
Not a stretch that she talks about fashion, she also let us in on how she became comfortable in her own skin and what does being the daughter of the iconic Diana Ross mean through her eyes.
“I have loved magazines since I was a child,” she says. “And let me explain something, I do not read magazines, I look at the pictures!”
“When I was in high school I would make wish boards,” she continues. “They were feelings and images, not words. It was all fashion.”
The gorgeous actress’ love for fashion actually became the common ground in her and Kanye West’s friendship.
“Kanye and I are neighbors [in L.A.], so we would see each other. Then we were introduced by a mutual friend, and he asked me to be in the video for his song ‘The New Workout Plan’. We can talk for hours about fashion. His closet is ridiculous. I will see him, and he will look down and ask, ‘Azzedine Alaia?’ and I am like, ‘Yeah.’ When I showed him the clip of me in the Thierry Mugler show, he was like, ‘Shut the f*** up! I am obsessed with those two seasons of Mugler.’ We are good friends.”
Friends are cool to discuss, but not her relationship.
“I am not going to hide my relationship, but I am not talking about it. When you do that, you invite other people and their opinions and issues in. You can’t discover the person on your own.”
Are the big personalities that come out in her work who she really is?
“I was shy, but it came out in a big personality. My turning point was when I let my hair go naturally and I got contact lenses. I am really blind, by the way. I have these big eyes that don’t work!” she said. “Carla is so different from Joan. And I am at a different point in my life. Joan and Carla are pieces of me. But I am much more than both of them. Joan was a very specific piece of me. She was neurotic, faithless, and afraid, which lends itself to some really good humor. Carla is the evolved version of Joan. She has the love that Joan was looking for, so it creates humor from a different place.”
On being Diana Ross’ child:
“My mom’s career gave me the benefit of a great life and influenced my style and who I am as a person. I felt afraid about that early on in my career, [but] I am comfortable enough in my own skin now. And Hollywood does not work like that. They will unlock the door, but they sit back and wait to see how you are going to walk through the door.”
“I discovered early on that I could either be my mom’s child or I could figure out what makes me happy, and who I am and what I love and makes me want to stay up all night and work. If you asked me back then the things that I loved, it was the same things as now. I played dress up when I was a little girl, but now it has manifested into acting.”
Catch the full interview of Tracee in the March issue of UPTOWN Magazine on March 8.