Ross shared more about her relationship with mom Diana Ross, speaking to PEOPLE before the 2016 Primetime Emmys

By Adam Carlson
September 18, 2016 07:55 PM

After Tracee Ellis Ross learned she’d been nominated for an Emmy this year for her turn in ABC’s Black-ish, the first person she called was mom Diana Ross. (Who else?)

“She said, ‘Oh boy this is great,’ ” Ross, 43, shared from that conversation, speaking at PEOPLE & EW’s Red Carpet Live on Sunday before the show.

“We giggled and screamed for a bit,” she said.

But while Ross said the Emmy nod is something “really special” for her (she’s one of only five black women to have ever been nominated for the category), what it is not is validation that she’s set herself apart from her legendary musician mom – because she doesn’t need it.

“I’ve never felt like I was in my mother’s shadow,” Ross said. “If anything, I felt like I was in her embrace. So it’s never been a effort to do that.”

Watch the full Emmy Awards pre-show now at People/Entertainment Weekly Network. It’s free! Available on connected and mobile devices or just download the PEN app on your iOS or Android. Watch now at people.com/PEN.

“But I did have a sense of wanting to find my own path as a person,” Ross continued, “and it is really special to be in this moment, at 43 years old, to be nominated for an Emmy for the first time.

“It feels good.”

(She even had her own good luck charm, thanks to a custom Ralph Lauren dress: It’s “bringing luck to the moment,” she said.)

Check out PEOPLE’s full 2016 Emmy Awards coverage and complete winners list!

And despite all the fame that runs in her family – not to mention the award-worthy talent – Ross told PEOPLE their clan is as normal as any other.

“We’re just parents and kids,” she said.

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