We sat down with the Black-ish star to soak up all her healthy know-how, from her all-time favorite beauty product to her body-positive wisdom.

By Anthea Levi
Updated March 07, 2017
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Credit: James White

There’s no denying that Tracee Ellis Ross is fierce. The star of the ABC hit show Black-ish and Health’s April cover girl sat down with us to talk lower-body workouts, the power of lipstick, and how to love yourself for real. And yes, we’re still fan-girling over it.

“I’ve been—to a certain extent—at odds with my body for many years, wanting it to be something other than it was, wanting myself to be something other than I was,” Tracee tells Health in our April issue, on newsstands March 10.

According to the actress, it wasn’t until her 30s that she began to appreciate her one-of-a-kind qualities: “I started to get comfortable with the largeness of my personality. The same thing with my butt,” she adds, noting that her beautiful booty has staying power.

“I tried getting really, really skinny, and I learned that no matter how thin I got, I was still gonna have a butt.” Nothing wrong with that.

Tracee also dropped one of the most refreshing comments we've heard in a while: She loves getting older (yes, really), even if it means her body keeps changing. "I'm not at my skinniest, I'm not at my fattest, but I live my life," she tells us. "This is my body. Health and the functionality of my body are more important than what it looks like."

That's not to say the fit 44-year-old doesn't look phenomenal. The Los Angeles native exercises three to four days a week, mostly sticking to moves that target her toughest-to-tone spots, like squats, lunges, and weighted deadlifts. She also loves to work up a sweat with women who inspire her.

"One of the things that's most encouraging is you see a roomful of women working their asses off and looking beautiful," Tracee says. "You see women in their 40s wearing jog bras and their stomachs out proudly, walking in a stance that says, 'I love my body,' and that's exciting to me." Us too.

But the one thing that takes Tracee’s impressive workouts to the next level isn’t what you might expect (Ankle weights? A resistance band? Her favorite sports bra?). It’s lipstick.

“I often wear red lipstick when I work out,” says Tracee. “And I’ve caught some of the trainers doing it now! When you look in the mirror, you want a little pop.”

The actress says her go-to lip pick is MAC’s Ruby Woo ($17; nordstrom.com), a matte color that doesn’t come off, even during her most serious sweat sessions.

And while most of us wouldn’t think to get made up for a stint in the gym, we can’t help but believe Tracee may be on to something. After all, the actress has a wealth of health wisdom to share.

Need proof? Here’s what Tracee would tell her 30-year-old self today if she could: “This is me. This is who I am. I’m not 22, and I don’t look like I looked when I was 22! So love the body you got now, because in 10 years, you’re gonna be wishing you had it.” Boom.