And it’s paid off, too: her hit TV show "black-ish" was just picked up for a third season, and she’s lending her name, talents and likeness to worthy causes such as the new BET special "Black Girls Rock," and Special K’s new campaign celebrating “get-after-it, bring-it-on, ready-for-what's next women.”
The cereal brand honored photographer Kate T. Parker because of her mission to change the messages often sent to women and girls by showing that true beauty is being yourself.
Ross is featured in Parker's new photo exhibit, which opened Thursday at Sky Gallery in New York City.
"I think it was really the messaging, honestly," Ross said when describing what attracted her to the project. "It was really on message for me and how I talk to myself and how I love using my voice to encourage and celebrate other women...And I feel like there's a wonderful explosion going on as we as women expand how we're seen and sort of break out of these limited definitions of what we're supposed to be and supposed to look like."
She's also been able to avoid being the subject of tabloid fodder.
"I'm mindful of using this 'positive image' expression because my goal as an artist and as a human is not necessarily to portray positive images but to honestly and authentically share humanity," she told ABC News.
"And I think sometimes the positive image creates a limitation in and of itself that begs a person or an actor or an artist of any kind to make sure that they're being perfect in some way," Ross, 43, added.