Tracee Ellis Ross Thanks Mom Diana Ross, 'the Icon Herself,' While Accepting Fashion Icon Award
The people have spoken — and we couldn't agree more.
On Sunday, Tracee Ellis Ross took the stage at the 2020 People's Choice Awards to accept the Fashion Icon Award in an Alexander McQueen white cape, thigh-high leather boots and Ana Khouri jewelry, proving she's more than deserving of the accolade (previously awarded to Victoria Beckham in 2018 and Gwen Stefani in 2019).
"Tracee, do you take fashion to be your lawfully wedded wife? I do, I do!" she joked. "I cannot thank you enough for validating my shopping habit."
Ross, 48, went on to thank the magazine industry and the stylists she has worked with throughout her career, including Karla Welch, whom she called her "collaborator in rule-breaking." She also tipped her hat to designers, saying, "Thank you for having me inhabit your sublime creations."
Continuing, she thanked her father Robert Ellis Silberstein "for his impeccable style and for being my humor twin," as well as "the icon herself," her mother Diana Ross. "Not only for her great parenting ... but also her example, her sense of style, her epic closet and her glamour that introduced me to the power of fashion."
She recalled begging her mom as a teenager "for a seasonal shopping budget" — "spoiler alert — I did not get it" — and said she used to go on stage after the singer's performances to collect beads that fell off her sparkly dresses "so that I could have pieces of the magic, seeds of the fashion dream that I was cultivating for myself."
The actress also noted that growing up, her "love of vintage clothing" sustained her "on a budget." "Second-hand clothing helped me understand that style has nothing to do with money," she said. "It's the way you put things together. Style is the how, not the what."
"I wear my insides on the outside, and if featuring Black designers at the American Music Awards helps somehow see the power of Black artistry, or if joining the call to wear black at the Golden Globes led to solidarity with women saying time's up on sexual harassment, then you heard me loud and clear," she said. "If fashion is the thing that draws you in, then use it as a tool for transformation."
"Use fashion as an entrance. Let your clothes be your superhero cape, allowing you to the best you you can be," she urged. "Activate the clothes through your joy and commitment to the world that you want to see. It doesn't matter if you wear black tie or a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, but suit up and show up, because our action creates our destiny, our joy creates space for our freedom. GA Senate.com, donate, get involved, stay engaged, people — we've got work to do. Thank you, I am a fashion icon!"
Last month, general manager of E! News, live events & lifestyle digital Jen Neal called Ross' style "transcendent" and said the E! People's Choice Awards team was "delighted" to present her with the award.
"Her influence in the entertainment and fashion spaces are incomparable and we are delighted to honor her with the Fashion Icon Award," Neal said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Ross poked fun at herself ahead of the show, writing, "I present to you the @peopleschoice Fashion Icon of 2020" alongside a pair of quirky mirror selfies in which she wore thick glasses and pajamas.
"Someone seems to think I'm fashionable and I appreciate it!" she continued. "I'm super excited to dress up and receive this awesome award! Tune in this Sunday at 7pm ET/4pm PT on @eentertainment. I promise to wear something fancier (although this is pretty top of the line!) #PCAs Please note the coordination of the red glasses, the red nails, and the red ladybugs on my pants. Feel free to recreate this look. Consider it my fashion gift to you."
From Instagram photoshoots to street style moments and everything in between, Ross never misses an opportunity to serve high fashion and full glam.
So, it was no surprise that the actress went all out for this year's virtual Emmy Awards by transforming her backyard into her own personal red carpet to debut her look: a gold, lamé ruffle-embellished Alexandre Vauthier gown, Jimmy Choo heels and vintage Tiffany & Co. jewelry, styled with the help of her go-to fashion pro, Welch.
"How fun to get dressed up! Can't say I miss the frenetic energy of the red carpet or wearing high heels, but boy do I miss a pretty dress!" the nominee for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in black-ish wrote on Instagram at the time. Ross' look even featured a matching gold mask which she made sure to debut on her red carpet — along with a master class on how to pose.
"I made my own red carpet for the #Emmys, complete with some camera clicks 😂😂😂 yes it's a little janky, but hey — it was fun!" she wrote.
The actress also made waves in 2018 when she shut down the Emmy Awards red carpet in a fuchsia pink Valentino Haute Couture gown with a voluminous skirt and off-the-shoulder puff sleeves. Ross reminisced on the statement-making look before this year's Emmys, sharing a silly Instagram video of herself practically buried in the full gown with the caption, "Good morning 😂 #emmys."
Demi Lovato is hosting this year's PCAs, which will also honor Jennifer Lopez with the People's Icon Award and Tyler Perry with the People's Champion of 2020 Award. There is no live audience this year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but award recipients, performers, presenters and a handful of stars are attending in person.
The 2020 E! People's Choice Awards are airing live on Bravo, E!, SYFY and USA from 9-11 p.m. ET.
Due to the airborne transmission of COVID-19 and case spikes across the country, the CDC advises against indoor gatherings of large groups, and recommends six feet of distance and face coverings at all times.