“I was brought up in this part of Detroit that they used to call the ghetto. My father worked hard, but we were still very poor; and I didn’t want anybody arguing about money, so I became the entertainer – the one who wanted everyone to be happy. I didn’t want there to be any problems. My family called me a wiggle tail because I was a little skinny, wiry kid full of energy. Even though she had six kids, my mother really believed I could achieve whatever I set out to do. Maybe it was my vitality or something.
I try to choose the songs that really are basically coming from my heart. I think that through the songs that I select, people know what’s going on in my life. But I just feel like I’m using whatever emotions I have when I’m singing or performing, and that’s not a bad thing – as long as I am mindful of them. So I’m not worried about the emotions I carry with me, because I’m happy that I have them; I think it’s good for the work I do. The emotions that are not healthy are the ones you hold inside, like anger. Criticism, even when you try to ignore it, can hurt. I have cried over many articles written about me, but I move on and I don’t hold on to that.
Years ago I wanted to buy an apartment in New York City. I was a single female – I had gone through my divorce – I had three children, I was in show business and black. It was, like, impossible. My travels led me to where I am today. Sometimes these steps have felt painful, difficult, but led me to greater happiness and opportunities.
You know, you do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself. I really, deeply believe that dreams do come true. Often, they might not come when you want them. They come in their own time. You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself. I don’t have to sit around and wait for the next movie to come along, I can go out and sing. I learned something from that. If someone asks me something that I really don’t want to do, I say no. I have to trust that. And I’m not afraid to talk money.
I try to take care of my health and keep my life in order. In the last few years I’ve really had to decide what’s important to me, and it seems to me that my family and my health are top on the list. And those have nothing to do with show business. I have three girls, and I say the same thing to them. I’m not involved in their careers because I’ve learned that it’s important for them to stand on their own two feet. They’ll feel better and prouder of themselves if they do. Being a parent is very important to me. I even thought of adopting a child as a single mother.
Hair has always been important. By the time I was 16, I was going to beauty school on weekends. I learned a lot about hairstyling, manicures and pedicures. When The Supremes went on the road, I did everyone’s hair-you know, the hot iron and rollers. I wanted to learn everything about beauty to make people more attractive. I’ve spent a lot of time on makeup in my life because I’m always in front of the mirror, getting ready for shows and performances.
I never like to think of myself as beautiful. I like to think of myself as healthy; beauty comes from being healthy. [Beauty] means being a good person, having integrity and loyalty and being true to your work. There’s power in that! Walking around being self-indulgent about prettiness—that’s not important.” – Diana as compiled of her quotes throughout the years.
Today we celebrate 70 years of beauty with Diana Ernestine Earle Ross. In a collection of her own words full of sound experience, bold thinking and loving advice, we get a small glimpse into her thoughts on beauty and we celebrate her being and sisterhood. #TeamWomen #YouAreBeautiful