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How Tracee Ellis Ross Built a Career and Fortune Taking a Different Route Than Her Famous Mother

Technically, Tracee Ellis Ross could be considered a nepotism baby, with iconic singer Diana Ross as her mother. But Tracee has carved out her own entertainment niche, not as a songstress but as an award-winning comedic actress and businesswoman.

Tracee Ellis Ross (Photo:

A nepo baby is the successful child of a celebrity.

Tracee Ellis Ross, whose birth name is Tracee Joy Silberstein, is the daughter of music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein and the Motown legend.

A Look Inside Tracee’s Wealth

The actress has a net worth of $16 million built through her acting and business acumen.

Born on Oct. 29, 1972, in Los Angeles, she is the older sister of Chudney Ross, a producer and production manager, and the half-sister of Rhonda Ross Kendrick, Ross Naess, and Evan Ross, all of whom have had success in the entertainment business.

However, Ross has been the standout amongst her siblings, having modeled at a young age for well-regarded fashion photographers Herb Ritts and Peter Lindberg, according to Vogue. As a pre-teen, she was once photographed and painted by Andy Warhol, according to IMDb.

She grew up living in between Greenwich, Connecticut, and New York City, attending schools like Dalton School in Manhattan and Riverdale Country School in the Bronx. She subsequently attended boarding school at the Institut Le Rosey in Rolle, Switzerland. Ross went on to graduate from Brown University in 1994 with a degree in theater.

Ross made her acting debut on the independent film scene, starring in “Far Harbor” (1996), “Sue Lost in Manhattan” (1997), and “A Fare To Remember” (1999). In 1997, she also hosted a variety series that covers pop culture on Lifetime, The Dish.

Ross started to become a household name when she played Joan Carol Clayton on the hit comedy series on “Girlfriends.” The Black female-centric show ran from 2000 to 2008, averaging between 2 million viewers per episode in its later seasons and 4 million viewers in its prime seasons. The role earned Ross two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. 

Following “Girlfriends,” Ross would land another hit sitcom role as Dr. Carla Reed on BET’s “Reed Between the Lines” in 2011. She received her third NAACP Image Award for her role. Ross left the show after one season, The Los Angeles Times reported, completing just 22 episodes. 

In 2014, she secured a starring role in the ABC comedy series “Black-ish” as Dr. Rainbow Johnson. The show earned her three NAACP Image Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. The show’s popularity on a primetime network gave her two Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominations and five Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

In the first season of “Black-ish,” Ross reportedly made $60,000 per episode, almost half as much as her co-star Anthony Anderson, who also served as a producer and made $100,000 per episode the same season. In the 2016 season, Ross made $80,000 per episode, Newsweek reports. When the show got syndicated in 2019, Ross’ salary quadrupled to an estimated $200,000 per episode, or $4.4 million per season, according to Women Health Magazine. 

Ross, The Entrepreneur 

In 2019, Tracee Ellis Ross launched her line of beauty products, Pattern, which it is available at both Ulta Beauty and Sephora, that addresses curly and coily hair as opposed to the industry standard: thin and straight hair, Refinery29 reported.

Recently the company debuted its first heat tool, a blow dryer. Introducing a blow dryer for curly hair had been a goal of Ross’.

“It starts with my internal journey. The truth is that I have wanted to create the blow dryer for a while. I didn’t realize that it takes this long to create a tool that you plug into the wall, but it’s taken two years,” Ross told Essence. “So it’s been a part of the original story, and it’s always been a part of the roadmap for Pattern. And I’ve long wanted to reframe our relationship as a community to heat in the past my curls and our coils, and our curls and coils have been burned and fried and beaten into submission by blow dryers and tools that have been designed to strip us of the gorgeous bounce and bends.”

Real Estate Holdings

Dirt reported that Ross had her Hollywood Hills home up for sale in March 2022. Once valued under $1 million a decade ago, it now is for sale for under $2.3 million. A year before, Ross sold a Tribeca studio she acquired in 2007 for $675,000. She took a bit of a loss because she bought the 600-square-foot space for $780,000.

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