“The things Angelica did: THAT,” said The Root’s Entertainment Writer Tonja Stidhum upon seeing Angelica Ross’ new pictorial, photographed by Malik Ahmir and styled by Amiyah Scott for Interview magazine. And looking like this (with bamboo earrings, to boot), that could really be the whole post. In fact, if you suspect this blog is actually an Angelica Ross stan account, we can’t really deny it...and can you really blame us?
But because it’s Interview, there’s, of course, an interview with Ross. The first transgender actor to earn subsequent series regular roles (in Pose and American Horror Story), founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, which uses “technology as a harm reduction strategy for the trans community,” and 2019 Root 100 honoree speaks with writer, activist and 2017 Root 100 honoree Raquel Willis about her boundary-breaking career, spirituality, building trans activism and visibility, and what both Pride and womanhood mean to her now.
“I thought that Pride month was really going to be kind of low-key because of COVID-19 and us being suggested to stay inside our homes and social distance,” Ross told Willis of what proved to be a Pride Month like no other this June (and is clearly far from over) “With the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality bringing us back into the street, I think that we’re seeing the origins of the Pride movement: a riot. We’re seeing that happen all over again, within the context of the intersection of being Black and being LGBTQ,” she added.
Ross has seemingly always been a step or two ahead, creating avenues for not only herself, but her community well before the world even began to consider doing the same. But as she tells Willis: “I was born for this time. I was born to show yet another example: a dark-skinned Black trans woman can show you how she can raise the vibrational frequency of her life to do something great for this world. It’s not specifically that anybody can do what I’m doing, but it is that anybody can fully blossom.”
Without question, Ross has blossomed—into an American hero as well as a rising icon, in our eyes. (In fact, can we really look at these pics and not have a serious discussion about Ross being considered as X-Men’s next Storm? Because bay-bee...we’d love to see it.) But beneath the makeup, wigs and wardrobe is a woman who has come into herself on her own terms—and is transparent about the journey she’s taken to get there.
“There are so many things that we have to learn to be safe, to perform our femininity: have long hair, have a socially acceptable appearance when it comes to your expression as a woman. In the beginning, it was hard to take off my hair and still see the woman that I see in the mirror, or to take off the makeup and to just be bare bones,” she tells Willis. “Now, I’m in a place with my womanhood where whether it’s a lace-front wig or whether it’s not, it’s all divine play to me. They’re all accessories, but none of that stuff defines me or my womanhood.”
You can read Angelica Ross’ interview with Raquel Willis in full at Interview.