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Most of us look at Tracee Ellis Ross’ figure and think #Goals, but for a long time the actress didn’t think so highly of her physical features.

“I’ve always had a somewhat contentious relationship with my body,” she revealed to Redbook magazine. “I spent years trying to teach myself to smile in a way that made my top lip look smaller. A lot of that has to do with sexism and racism combined with the ever-changing tides of the culture of beauty. One minute, you’re supposed to be really skinny — the next minute, you’re supposed to have huge boobs. One minute you’re supposed to have no lips, the next they’re supposed to be full. No one can keep up! I finally got to a place where I was like, excuse my French, “F-ck that. That’s not fair.” So I got to then choose for myself what makes me feel empowered.”

Ross is the cover subject for Redbook’s July issue and in the feature story she talks about more than getting over her issues with her body but also her hair and even people who try to steal her joy. Funny enough, the 44 year old’s middle name is actually Joy — quite fitting, right?

“When I professionally changed my middle name to Ellis, my father’s middle name, my mom said to me, ‘I’m sad that you let go of Joy, but it’s OK because you’ve embodied it.”

She further told the mag, “I’ve always sort of cultivated joy, found a way to laugh at life, and that has amplified into a sense of self-care that’s also about finding serenity and peace with myself.”

It’s for that reason that, try as they may, Debbie Downers can’t really take what’s inside the comedic star, Ross explained. “There are joy stealers everywhere! Honestly, a lot of people don’t do it on purpose. Joy makes them uncomfortable. So I do my best not to take it personally. I will literally imagine myself moving out of the way and letting their stuff just pass me by.”

And if you happen to be stealing your own joy by being afraid to take healthy risks in life, Ross has some advice for you too.

“You don’t have to jump off the 31st floor of the building. Take the stairs, go at your pace, but push yourself a little bit.”

Check out the rest of her feature on

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