The A Plus Interview

Tracee Ellis Ross On Being 'A Child of The World' And What's Next For Bow On 'Black-ish'

"We have so much in common as human beings."

When it comes to travel, Tracee Ellis Ross has been all around the world — something that she notes has been a huge part of her life. It is such a regular thing that she sometimes doesn't even realize just how much traveling has influenced her and made her something she likes to call "a child of the world" instead of just an American.

"It's really changed my comfort level about, my interest in, and my love of different cultures, different ways of living, and different ways of being," Ross told A Plus at an event for the new United Explorer Card, which rewards travelers with double the miles at restaurants and hotels. "At the same time, it also taught me just how much the same we all are as opposed to how different we all are. We have so much in common as human beings."

As for what she considers her "absolute favorite travel story," Ross recalled her 18th birthday when she flew with mom Diana Ross to Paris to walk in a Thierry Mugler fashion show. It was the '90s, Mugler was an icon, and the world's biggest supermodels were on the Concorde with them — we're talking Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell, just to name a few.

"Essentially it was just a really beautiful trip that my mom and I took for my birthday to one of the most beautiful cities in the world," Ross explained, adding that it would certainly be a trip she would like to recreate — that one, along with maybe her Bali adventure during college.

"Everybody has some sort of memory of a great trip — whether it's a family reunion or a beautiful weekend getaway with a loved one," Ross continued. "Obviously, my trip was quite extravagant, but smaller trips can hold just as much meaning."

Another thing that defines Ross is a little ABC sitcom you may have heard of: Black-ish. For the past four seasons, Ross has played Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson opposite Anthony Anderson's Andre "Dre" Johnson Sr., and even earned two Primetime Emmy nominations and one history-making Golden Globe win for the role. The show has tackled many important social issues since it began and, most recently, explored the breakdown of Bow and Dre's relationship, something that put Ross out of her comfort zone.

"In all honesty, it was a little bit uncomfortable — just the same as it was to watch. Not in a bad way, but it's not what we're used to on the show," she said. "I thought it was really in line with the DNA of our show in that we really do unpack non-traditional comedic subject matter and things that are not easily funny but really are what we're chomping on right now in our culture — all of us.

"We just kind of dove inside the relationship. I thought it was incredibly well-written and explored something a lot of people are really dealing with, and that's often not talked about, which is that relationships are not fairy tales," Ross added. "Sometimes there are difficult patches that are not one person's fault or there's not someone to blame, but two people sharing a connection is complicated. They're two different people and, especially when you're in a long-term relationship like Bow and Dre have been, sometimes there's a year that's just not great. Does that mean you throw the relationship out or do you grow your way through it?"

In the end, Bow and Dre worked through their funk, and are — hopefully — stronger because of it. As for what's next for her on-screen persona, Ross has high hopes.

"There's a lot to explore and I'm intrigued to see what the writers have cooking for season 5," she gushed. "There's clearly a lot going on in our world and in our country, so I'm hoping that Bow can get involved in having a point of view about some of these larger topics that often are left to Dre to explore."

Cover image: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

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