Tracee Ellis Ross is incredibly successful.

She stars in the hit show “Black-ish,” and she won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Rainbow Johnson. Before “Black-ish,” there was “Girlfriends.” Ross even has her own J.C. Penny clothing line.

Yet because she also happens to be 45, single and child-free, she constantly has to field questions, such as:

(Craig Barritt/Getty for Glamour; Lily illustration)
(Craig Barritt/Getty for Glamour; Lily illustration)

When she hears these kinds of questions, it’s “as if all that I have done and who I am doesn’t matter,” Ross said in a speech at Glamour’s Women of the Year summit last week.

So, in her journal, she wrote, “My life is mine.”

It seemed obvious, but it wasn’t, Ross said. She started living by those words.

(Craig Barritt/Getty for Glamour; Lily illustration)
(Craig Barritt/Getty for Glamour; Lily illustration)

Ross began to put herself first, even if it made others feel threatened. If women say no, speak up, sleep with who they want or eat what their body asks for, they are “condemned,” Ross said. Try wearing a training bra instead of a push-up bra or posting a picture without using Facetune. People will talk.

“We are condemned for thinking for ourselves and being ourselves, for owning our experiences, our bodies and our lives,” Ross said.

Ross admits that she doesn’t have it all figured out. It’s not always easy. But it’s inspiring to see her road map, which can help other women figure out what it might mean to take control of their lives.

“It takes a certain bravery to do that,” Ross said. “It means risking being misunderstood, perceived as alone and broken, having no one to focus on, fall into or hide behind, having to be my own support and having to stretch and find family love and connection outside of the traditional places. But I want to do it. I want to be the brave me, the real me, the one whose life is my own.”

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