Angelica Ross’s “Interview” Spread Is a Beacon of Light in These Dark Times

The transgender actress, activist, and entrepreneur sat down for a Q&A with Raquel Willis.

Interview magazine is putting Black trans women front and center.

In a recent digital spread for the beloved publication, actress-entrepreneur Angelica Ross sat down for a chat with writer-activist Raquel Willis, formerly of Out magazine.

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“I think being trans is an unspoken spiritual path. I feel like it’s an impulse that starts in the heart that tells you that it’s time to change. It’s time to peel off another layer of skin. It’s one of those things that is automatic, but it’s also one of those things that is incredibly challenging without a spiritual foundation. If you are going through this kind of transition and you are focused on the daily physical changes, and “do I pass today?”—your emotions are connected to your physical transition. You will learn a lesson: that kind of physical change is going to take your emotions on a ride. You’ve got to get to a place where the one thing that never changes is that hopeful spirit that knows in your heart who you are without needing any label. The only way, I believe, to take full advantage of this transitional experience is to recognize it’s not just for your own personal gain, but that your transition is actually meant to inspire the people around you who can’t even change their mind. When you change your entire life, that is equivalent to a book, a chapter in the Bible. I know about the Book of Raquel, the Book of Janet [Mock], the Book of Laverne [Cox], and the Book of Angelica. These are amazing stories of transition. Whether we name it or not, it’s like a spiritual parable, when you talk about the challenges, and how we each mustered up the spirit and the courage to move forward.” – Angelica Ross @interviewmag @raquel_willis Photo by @kinggmalik Hair, Makeup & Styling by @kingamiyahscott Latex bodysuit @houseofcb Shoes @louboutinworld Nails: @theeditorialnail

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In their free-flowing conversation, the duo tackles everything from protesting systemic racism and police brutality, to embracing their sensuality as proud Black trans women.

The interview is accompanied by gorgeous editorial photos by Malik Aamir, with Ross styled in a black latex bustier and a cotton candy-blue wig courtesy of stylist Amiyah Scott.

Ross, of course, is known and loved for her television and film appearances, including recurring roles in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story and FX’s Pose. Her acting career aside, Ross has leveraged her platform to empower trans and gender non-conforming people with professional training through TransTech Social Enterprises, an incubator for LGBTQ talent she launched in 2014.

Asked by Willis how she’s feeling in this “unprecedented time” versus a year ago, Ross was frank about the emotional whiplash she’s experienced:

I’ve been so heartbroken to the reality that it shows no signs of stopping. It has been such a roller-coaster because I’m experiencing some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows that I’ve ever experienced. It’s like, I’ll be featured in Essence magazine for Black women in Hollywood, and another Black trans woman is killed. I’d have some other historic win as a Black trans woman, more visibility, or another milestone in my career, and then another Black trans woman is killed. I feel like I’m on a seesaw and it feels difficult at times to celebrate my wins when so much is going on around me.

Nevertheless, Ross said she feels like being trans is “an unspoken spiritual path.”

“If you are going through this kind of transition and you are focused on the daily physical changes, and ’Do I pass today?’—your emotions are connected to your physical transition,” she continued. “You will learn a lesson: that kind of physical change is going to take your emotions on a ride. You’ve got to get to a place where the one thing that never changes is that hopeful spirit that knows in your heart who you are without needing any label.”

Read Ross and Willis’s full Interview chat here.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella