Chatting with Tracee Ellis Ross on the Set of #blackish #ABCTVEvent

by Heather

12079576_10107385886630804_3015734154695145184_nRSPhoto Credit: (ABC/Bob D’Amico)

I was sent on an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California courtesy of Disney to experience The Good Dinosaur, black-ish, and a series of other adventures surrounding the movie. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.

Do you have a favorite show that you watch every week? For me, there are three or four shows that I watch religiously. So much so that I have them setup on DVR just in case something comes up I fall asleep and miss them. Hey, don’t judge! My television time is at a minimum and when I’m invested in something, I’m all in!

So anyways, while watching your favorite show or perhaps shows, have you ever found yourself having an internal dialogue? For example, thinking about the characters, wondering what they are like in “real life” or perhaps wondering if they just like their character off screen? What about the characters in general, do think about how they interact when they aren’t on camera or on set?

Hopefully you answered yes to a few of these or you are at least sitting there shaking your head and thinking … YES! If not, maybe I am a complete weirdo because I think about such things. When I get caught up in a show, these are the types of questions that I have. Well, these are the questions that I think about. I mean, seriously, who am I going to ask? Without going directly to the source, it’s all pure speculation.

Oh boy, then there is once I am into a show for a few seasons. I start to feel like I actually know the character … like … we could be friends. Hmmm, I may have gone a bit too far. Okay, we’ll just stop there.

This fall a friend turned me on to a new show. She was attempting to explain the premise of the show and she was unable to do so because she kept laughing. To make things a bit easier for her, I did a quick Google search, read over the synopsis, waivered a bit, and then agreed to watch an episode.

I set up the good ole DVR to tape an episode, watched it, set up a few more recordings, and I was hooked. Since there was no way to describe it, I had my husband watch a few episodes and we all lived happily ever after a.k.a. we now watch weekly!


Have you heard of ABCs black-ish (Wednesday nights at 9:30/8:30c)?

about black-ish

Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the ‘burbs.  But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future.

black-ish stars Anthony Anderson as Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow, Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack, Marsai Martin as Diane and Laurence Fishburne as Pops.

Last week while in Los Angeles for the Red Carpet Premiere of the Good Dinosaur we had a meet & greet with the multi-talented Tracee Ellis Ross, who portrays Johnson family mom & anesthesiologist Rainbow “Bow” Johnson on black-ish and I had the chance to get some of my questions answered! Here is some of what we learned.


Question: How great is it to work with such talented actors?

Tracee Ellis Ross: Honestly, talent aside, yes they’re talented, but they’re wonderful people. I mean, it’s really joyful, I have to say. You know, there’s that myth, don’t work with kids or animals. [LAUGHING.] I can’t understand that. I’ve had such a good experience. You can look at it this way, they’ve been on the planet for less time than us and they’re not jaded, they just have a pure joy. When you see Miles and Marsai in the morning, they run towards you for a hug. It’s magic.

Usually between takes, there’s a lot of giggling and laughing and videos being taken and pictures and everything, so I really enjoy it. They’re extremely talented.

Question: As a biracial, how important is it to you to get that story out there?

Tracee Ellis Ross: Honestly, they have not explored that story that much, on the show, and I will say that I have been very clear, I’m not playing myself. I think it’s really exciting that she’s mixed. I’ve actually never got to play a mixed character on TV. I usually play a black girl. So while I think it’s exciting that she is mixed, I have a real clarity that this is a role that I’m playing.

I try and keep it honest, if I don’t believe that’s the trajectory of what my character would do from truth, like that wouldn’t feel honest, but in terms of what my character’s doing, I leave that to the writers and it’s kind of like magic when you get the new script because you’re like this is crazy or hilarious, but it’s not me. It’s not my story.   So Bow isn’t really a matched experience for what my experience has been. I’m not married. I don’t have four kids.

141663_7927RSPhoto Credit: ABC

Question: Do you have any input on your wardrobe? Any designers you love to wear?

Tracee Ellis Ross: I do have a lot of input on my wardrobe. We have an incredible costume department, led by Michelle Cole, who’s a very incredible, and been doing this forever. I do have input but they do the shopping. I don’t really specify any designers.

My style is a little bit different than Bow, which I kind of love. Bow doesn’t wear heels ever. I wear heels all the time. Bow like rarely wears a heel, which I find liberatingly wonderful. It’s so great to not put heels on! One of the things that was very clear to me, that I really wanted to bring to Bow, is that she dress hair and makeup wise authentically; I don’t know a mother of four with a career and a husband and all of that that can spend a ton of time putting together looks and doing the whole thing.

So I usually, I don’t wear eye shadow and stuff like that. It’s sort of like the mascara and the lipstick is kind of it, which I feel is sort of her sort of regimen and routine. There’s usually not a lot of jewelry. I feel like the way she pulls from her closet is the way people pull from their closet, so it’s usually like a dress and sneakers or jeans and a cute top. It’s usually not styled. I wear a lot more stuff, than she does, but I like to keep it really authentic.

If we can, because of the shooting schedule, I usually remove my mascara and most of my makeup when I’m in the bed. Sometimes, we can’t because we’re about to go back to another scene where I need to have my mascara on, but mostly I try to be authentic and not have makeup on when I’m in the bed. It’s a pet peeve of mine when you see an actress wake up with lip gloss. Yet somehow it’s not on the pillow. Interesting! It’s hilarious. It’s so funny.

141663_7815RSPhoto Credit: ABC

Question: Do you have a favorite episode?

Tracee Ellis Ross: I really liked Churched. In terms of funny, I just thought everybody was so funny. I thought the writing was great. I thought the direction was great. I felt like, even just the little moments between the kids and just overall, I thought it was a great one.

I loved the N-word episode just because I thought that writing-wise, the subject was handled pitch perfect in my opinion. And that was so difficult, how do you make that funny, and somehow they did, and yet we weren’t laughing at the word. I thought that was just so beautifully handled and the fact that it was introduced through Jack was so interesting and such an interesting way to flip that on its head like where even for my character, which I liked, she had such a stanch, clear, no hate speech whatsoever, but when it was her kid, she got tangled, and I just thought that was so real. All of a sudden she was a little bit on the fence like maybe it’s okay, you know?

So, I thought that was really well handled and then, I thought that the kids were magical in the Halloween episode. I did not see them shoot that.   I don’t know if you saw that episode, but when they were attacking the kids and it went into slow motion, I just was crying with laughter. I couldn’t believe how funny that was. It was so funny. And then, little Kayla, God, I was like what’s happening? It was so funny to me. So I would say those three right now. Those are all from this season.

It’s hard. I love this show. I mean, I laugh when I watch it. I love that you can watch it with your kids and it’s really fun. The stuff in the office kills me. It’s just great. I feel really proud to be on the show.

141663_7927RSPhoto Credit: ABC

Tracee had so much to share, there is no way that this simple Q&A does our time with her justice! We were supposed to meet her on the set of black-ish but instead, she took the time to walk the studio lot, shake each one of our hands, introduce herself, make note of our names, and then walk us to the set. To say that she is personable would be an understatement. She’s eloquent which means so many things and yet she fits every description. She looks you in the eye as she speaks and makes you feel as though you’ve been friends for ages. Authenticity is important to her … extremely. She wants to stay true to her character Bow while making it completely understood that this is a role that she is playing and her story is different.

As a mom, though only of one and not four, I love that she wants Bow to be authentic as a mom with a career. She wants to dress the part and live the part. I don’t get up in the morning and have an hour to get ready; I get up, jump into my clothes, brush my hair and teeth, and then move into family mode. That is the life of a mamma and I am so thankful that she wants her character to be so real!

She’s just down to earth and fantastic. I feel like if I ran into her in a restaurant next month and reintroduced myself she would remember me and she would actually take the time to talk with me, catch up, and share a few laughs. And that my friends, is what makes her amazing. Well, all of it … but … yes, just yes!

I am grateful to have had the chance to meet Tracee Ellis Ross and will continue to be a fan of her character Bow, as well as her off the screen. She’s a neat lady that knows who she is, knows what she wants, and she accomplishes it all with grace.

Be sure to tune into black-ish TONIGHT on ABC, 9:30|8:30c.

12250177_10154353178840410_4671434208166805630_nRSPhoto Credit: (ABC/Eddy Chen)


“Man at Work” – Dre has always looked out for the crew he grew up with, but when his childhood friend Sha (guest star Faizon Love) comes to stay at the house for a few days, Bow thinks he is taking advantage of Dre’s generosity. Meanwhile, Daphne Lido (played by Wanda Sykes), the now ex-wife of Stevens & Lido’s founding partner, gains control of half of the company and wants to start inserting herself in company business. When Daphne starts to question Charlie’s work ethic, Dre must decide who he remains loyal to, on “black-ish,” WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson and Laurence Fishburne as Pops.

Guest starring is Wanda Sykes as Daphne Lido, Faison Love as Sha, Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Stevens, Jeff Meacham as Josh, Deon Cole as Charlie Telphy, Catherine Reitman as Lucy and Issac Ryan Brown as Young Dre.

12310709_10154353178865410_8559595647247571961_nRSPhoto Credit: (ABC/Adam Taylor)

“Man at Work” was written by Vijal Patel and directed by Kevin Bray.

“black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive-produced by Barris, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and E. Brian Dobbins. The series is produced by ABC Studios.






141663_7993RSPhoto Credit: ABC

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Linda Manns Linneman December 2, 2015 - 10:21 am
I will have to check this out. It looks great. I love the dress she is wearing in the top picture. Thank you for sharing
lisa December 2, 2015 - 10:39 am
I have never heard of that show but yes, I know what you mean wondering about the characters.Or even worse, when they replace one. I get so mad. In my mind that's just wrong.
Jane Ritz December 4, 2015 - 9:07 am
This is my third attempt at leaving a comment. It must be great getting to meet someone you are tied up in their show, I've never seen this show,It sounds awesome. I only have an antennae and get 2 channels on sunny days. I'm trying to win a roku!

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