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Tracee Ellis Ross Spent 10 Years Building Pattern, Her Hair Care Brand The actress and entrepreneur has learned that to be successful, the message is as important as the product.

By Liz Brody

This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Emily Shur
Hair, Nai’Vasha Johnson; Makeup, Tasha Brown

"These shoes are going to kill me," Tracee Ellis Ross calls out to the costume designer, as she holds up a pair of Pradas.

Ross and the crew are on the Disney lot in Burbank, Calif., deciding on outfits for the next episode of Black-ish, in which she plays the lead. The fitting department is a cramped, cluttered space in one of the soundstages, hemmed in by racks of clothes hung atop each other, bunk-bed-style, almost up to the ceiling — silky blouses, flared pants, dresses, heels, sneakers. (They snagged the Pradas on sale.) Everywhere you look, boards are tacked up with photos of the cast and set, scene breakdowns, press clippings, and sayings like "Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back."

Michelle Cole, the costume designer, has Ross's back (and front). Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, M.D., the actress's character, rarely wears the same thing twice — except for the shoes, because they're usually out of the shot. Still, Ross is down for the Pradas. "I feel I would suffer for them," she says.

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