Mon. Apr 12th, 2021

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Angelica Ross Sees Herself As a ‘Loving’ Version of Miranda Priestly

6 min read
“It doesn't matter what place you are in life, you can always look behind you and see someone else," Angelica Ross tells me over the phone. We're discussing the importance of mentorship, something that's very dear to the Pose actor, activist, and businesswoman. “I'm always a supporter of folks who typically don't have access to spaces…
Angelica Ross Sees Herself As a ‘Loving’ Version of Miranda Priestly

“It doesn’t matter what place you are in life, you can always look behind you and see someone else,” Angelica Ross tells me over the phone. We’re discussing the importance of mentorship, something that’s very dear to the Pose actor, activist, and businesswoman. “I’m always a supporter of folks who typically don’t have access to spaces and opportunities,” she says. So when Ross was asked to participate in Through Her Lens, a program presented by Tribeca and CHANEL designed to empower rising women and non-binary filmmakers with classes, mentorship, and financial support, she was thrilled.“When I realized that this was about giving women and non-binary filmmakers an opportunity to get their project financed, I had to be involved,” Ross says. “Mentorship, for me, has been a reciprocal process.” Case in point: At TransTech Social Enterprises, the nonprofit she started in 2014, one of the basic tenets is that everybody has something to teach, and everybody has something to learn. In that spirit, I ask Ross what she teaches younger women who come to her for advice. Her answer: “Understand that having a dream is important, but dreams don’t come through overnight—not ones that are sustainable, anyway.” That means putting in the work when you start out in your career, she says, so you can look back at your resume and enjoy seeing how your skills developed over time. “Don’t be discouraged if some of your early work doesn’t seem polished, or professional, or good. Because we all have done bad work, you know? It’s just about continuing to do the work.”Courtesy of CHANELRoss says her mentorship style is like a “loving” and “better version” of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. “I say that because I really do think Miranda Priestly was a misunderstood character,” she explains. “I know what it’s like to be that woman in the room who has worked very hard, and then you notice this energy that vibrates differently. It’s kind of like, ‘Do you know what this opportunity is?’“For Black and Brown trans people, what I know for sure, is that we haven’t had many opportunities where we’ve been pushed that haven’t included us being demoralized, misgendered, or mistreated for who we are,” she continues. “So I think it’s important for me to be a firm mentor because I know that none of this comes easy. When people show up, saying they want to take their careers or creativity to the next level, then I need to make sure they understand what that means.” So, a loving Miranda Priestly. One who makes sure her mentees understand they have to rise up to the opportunity. “If not, someone’s right behind you, sweetie.”Here, Angelica Ross shares what else inspires her—the movies, the books, even the comfy pants—in our latest installment of Your Fave’s Faves. Read on.A movie I find inspiringMy favorite movie directed by a woman is Selma by Ava DuVernay, and I say that because she had the audacity to challenge the white narrative of history. As a black woman, I found it to be so brilliant and liberating. I think she’s amazing—not only from that movie, but from When They See Us as well. Again, she was challenging the white narrative in a way that starts to create a reckoning. My go-to movie snackDefinitely popcorn with hot sauce! I like Frank’s RedHot. It’s all in the wrist. You can try to mix it up or whatever, but really just keep the hot sauce bottle near. Go light on the first level, and keep going until you reach the bottom. Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter PopcornFrank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper SauceThe coziest outfitI have a closet full of Adidas sweatpants, and that’s what I’m lounging around the house in. During quarantine, when I’m not on camera broadcasting different things from my home, I’m in my sweats on the couch trying to catch up on all the amazing TV and film that’s been created. There are so much more women involved in TV, and I’ve also been added to the Screen Actors Guild voting committee, so I’m trying to catch up on all the greatness that’s been coming out this year. I have Adidas tracksuits in lavender, in red, in black—all the different colors. It’s so easy to get in and out of when I’m dressing with wardrobe for different things, and it’s so comfy. But when I’m leaving the house, I’m wearing my Lululemon booty-boosting yoga pants because, listen, I love my body. I’m feeling it these days. Adidas Originals Women’s Superstar Track JacketAdidas Originals Superstar Track PantsLululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tight 28″A book I’d love to see turned into a movieOne of the first that comes to mind is Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. I’d like to see her story be told [on screen] because it’s so interesting. Whenever a marginalized person goes to tell a story, usually the powers that be say, “Oh, well, we have already made a movie like that.” But when a white story happens, no one says, “Oh, that’s one too many white men leading a movie.” Diversity needs to be a lot more outside the box. I think no matter what people’s challenges are, things like filmmaking, acting, and storytelling can be so much more authentic. I think we’re getting there, but it’s super slow. We are getting there, and I think the reason why is because there’s more access to creating content that can be distributed in many, many, many different ways now.Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet MockThe TV show I keep rewatchingI’ve been watching each episode of Lovecraft Country probably two or three times. That’s new for me, especially with something that is as gory as it can sometimes be. It’s very intense. But I listen to the podcast that accompanies the show, Lovecraft Country Radio, and hearing the writers talk about each episode, as a Black woman, is incredible and complicated. That’s the thing—when you bring diversity into the director’s chair or the writers’ room, you finally get these really beautiful, complicated [stories] because you’re not telling them from just one perspective. I think that’s what storytelling does, at its best: It humanizes even the most complicated decisions or actions. And you don’t always have the answers, it’s not like you walk away with this pretty bow. You sit with it for days and think about it and that changes people.How I set the mood for movie watchingI have hue lights set around my TV—so I can set a color using a spectrum of colors that I have, and I dim the lights down. Then I’ll light some candles. Right now I have this amazing candle called “Sundown” from Bright Black, which is a Black-owned candle company. “Sundown,” which uses the company’s Durham scent, was named after an episode of Lovecraft Country. I also recently upgraded my living space with a huge social distance-friendly couch, so a few people can sit down and enjoy a movie without being on top of each other. It’s great. Durham by Bright Black CandlesRead More

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