Tracee Ellis Ross Gets Bold And Bright On The Cover Of ‘The Hollywood Reporter’

Movies & TV

Tracee Ellis Ross has graced yet another magazine cover, but this go-round is less about her flawless looks and more about females in funny business.

The Hollywood Reporter gathered six Emmy Award-nominated comedy actresses currently dominating our TV sets. In addition to the Black-ish star, Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Lena Dunham (Girls), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) traded laughs, wise cracks and not-so-funny anecdotes about their experiences as comediennes.

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If you ever wanted to know how those steamy, but potentially awkward TV sex scenes were orchestrated, Ross and friends gave THR the skinny on it all:

ROSS What’s the patch?
DUNHAM This patch — you glue it over your vagina. It gets sweaty and always falls off. My male co-stars, at the end of the day, don’t care.
ROSS Are they covered up?
DUNHAM They wear a bag.
ROSS A sack?
DUNHAM Like a penis bag.
ELLIE KEMPER I’ve never done a sex scene. I am so prudish that when I’ve had to kiss someone in a scene, I think for the next hour that we’re in love! It’s a middle-school frame of mind.
DUNHAM I never understand when people say, “Sex scenes are so mechanical; it doesn’t feel like anything.” It feels like someone f—ing you! It’s confusing.
ROSS On network shows, there are a lot of instructions: “Close the mouth. You can move, make the sounds, but no tongue.” I had some incidences on Girlfriends. This guy’s tongue jammed in like a lizard out of nowhere.

One of the central pillars of their discussion was unfair treatment they’ve received during gigs and auditions from men and non-minorities. Let’s just say the ladies kept their filters at a minimum.

On the most sexist things they’ve overheard on the job:

DUNHAM I heard a guy on my show say into his microphone: “I hate this job. I can’t wait to be back on a show where there’s a man at the helm.”
SCHUMER I hope you sent [Girls actor-comedian] Colin Quinn home for that. (Laughs.)
DUNHAM Colin is actually the world’s biggest feminist! Later, that same guy came up to me at lunch and said, “You’re really enjoying that buffet, aren’t you?”
SCHUMER Who the f— is this?
DUNHAM He’s the worst person alive. I hope he reads this, which he won’t because he’s drunk.
ROSS I think racism trumps everything. [It all] happens behind the scenes.
DUNHAM So many shows wouldn’t exist if you and Mara [Brock Akil] hadn’t made Girlfriends and pushed it as far as you did.
ROSS We did 176 episodes.
ROSS Being on a show run by a woman with four women leads gives you a template that when you walk out into the world, you don’t see it. It changed my expectations.

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On audition horror stories:

DUNHAM When I get comments like, “How did she wind up on the cover of a magazine? She’s hideous,” I’m like, “I may not have a perfect body, but I do have a really nice face.” I’d love to see a hideous woman on the cover of a magazine. It doesn’t happen.
RODRIGUEZ I was up for a role and auditioned in character. They’re like: “We love her. But can she come back in with a tight black dress?”
MCKINNON Just another whore story!
DUNHAM I want to say we all have really nice faces.
SCHUMER I would love to eat you out. (Laughter.) Is that OK? When this is over. Right after?
DUNHAM I feel the same way about you.
ROSS Gina, finish your story!
RODRIGUEZ I said, “That doesn’t make any sense for the character.” They were like, “We need to know if you’re pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine.”
ROSS I tested once for a network show to play a lawyer. A Harvard-educated motherf—in’ lawyer, OK? I wore a skirt suit and heels. Seemed appropriate. Then there were many discussions about my hair. They’d printed up all these pictures of me from 15 f—in’ years ago and had me in and out of the bathroom trying on clothes. They finally pick a skirt — the shortest I brought. Then got a T-shirt from one of the people in the office. The woman says, “Hmmm, your boobs.” I was like, “I didn’t bring a bra for this T-shirt.” She screams down the hall, “Who wears a 34B?” I put on someone else’s bra, a size too small, and somehow auditioned. I remember wondering, “What did I just allow myself to do?” The other actress [who auditioned] was dressed like she was going to a club and got the role. It was one of those moments where you’re so confused and humiliated. But that’s part of the biz.

On being wary of fighting for higher pay:

KEMPER I once heard an exec say, “If you don’t ask for it, we can’t give it to you.” We can’t go through our lives just being grateful for everything.
SCHUMER I noticed when I had a suggestion for [Trainwreck director] Judd [Apatow] on set, I would say, “Um, sorry but …” I started all my sentences with “sorry.” I’ve made an effort to not do that now.
ROSS I was raised by a woman [singer Diana Ross] who has high standards for what she’s worth, which has been called “diva behavior.” I have witnessed flagrant, disgusting behavior, and that isnot my mother. There is a way to be a woman, ask for what we deserve and be able to negotiate.
DUNHAM When it was leaked how much I was getting for my book [a reported $3.7 million forNot That Kind of Girl], there were 39,000 articles asking, “Is she worth it?” Then it came out what [comedian] Aziz Ansari was making on his book [a reported $3.5 million]. No one says a goddamn word.
KEMPER The vitriol, it’s stunning.

Read the entire dialogue here and flip through for more images up top.

Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter