Born: 28 November 1980
Birth Place: Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Actress
Organization: TransTech Social Enterprises
Angelica Ross (born November 28, 1980) is an American businesswoman, actress, and transgender rights advocate. After becoming a self-taught coder in the early years of her career she went on to become the founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a firm that helps employ transgender people in the tech industry. Ross began her acting career in the web series Her Story and starred in the FX series Pose.
Angelica Ross was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin but was raised in Racine, Wisconsin. Ross, a trans woman, has said she was perceived as feminine from a young age. In 1998, at the age of 17, she came out as gay to her mother, an evangelical Christian. Her mother did not receive the news well as, according to Ross, "she told me I should commit suicide or she would, because she couldn't have someone like me as her child." Ross considered ending her own life and overdosed on medication but survived.
Upon graduating high school at 17, Ross briefly attended the University of Wisconsin, Parkside before dropping out after one semester. Ross decided to join the U.S. Navy (after her parents signed a waiver so that she may join as a minor) in order to qualify for the G.I. Bill. Ross initially moved to Rochester, New York before being stationed in Yokosuka, Kanagawa. After six months of service, she requested and received an "uncharacterized" discharge under the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy (which was then in force) due to being harassed by enlisted men who coerced her into saying she was gay. Ross moved back home, and made friends with a drag queen called Traci Ross who helped her begin her gender transition at the age of 19. Upon discovering that she was transitioning, her parents threw her out and Ross moved in with her biological father (Who was slightly more accepting of her sexuality.) in Roanoke, Virginia. Although Ross and her parents were estranged for a time, she states that their relationship has since mended.
During the six years that she lived in Roanoke, Virginia, Ross worked as a waitress at Applebee's so that she could earn enough money to pay rent and attend cosmetology school. She was let go from her waitress job due to discrimination. Ross then moved to Hollywood, Florida and worked as a model and escort until 2003. She started a web development and graphic design business and began taking acting classes. She later moved to Chicago to become the employment coordinator for the Trans Life Center.
Ross launched TransTech Social Enterprises in Chicago in 2014. The nonprofit creative design firm trains and contracts transgender and other workers. Melissa Harris-Perry brought more attention to the firm in 2015, choosing Ross as her show's first "Foot Soldier" of the year. Ross was a featured speaker at the 2015 White House LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit.
In 2016, Ross began acting in Her Story, a web series about trans women in Los Angeles. The series was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama. Ross also made a guest appearance that year on the TV series Transparent.
Ross is also the star and executive producer of the short film Missed Connections, which went on to be an official selection at Outfest 2017, Baltimore International Black Film Festival 2017, La Femme International Film Festival 2017 and Outflix Film Festival 2017 in Memphis, TN.
In June 2017, Ross began providing voice work for the Amazon Video animated series Danger & Eggs.
Angelica Ross portrayed the character Candy Ferocity in the 2018 FX series Pose.
Ross will also be a celebrity ambassador to the 50th Anniversary Stonewall celebration taking place June 2019 during Pride.
Awards and recognition
2015 – Be Amazing Award, Transgender National Alliance
2015 – 1st Foot Soldier of the Year, Melissa Harris-Perry
2016 – Trailblazer Award, Black Trans Advocacy Awards
2016 – Visibility Award, Human Rights Campaign
2017 - Outstanding Talk Show Episode – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, GLAAD Media Awards
2017 – Special Recognition Award, GLAAD Media Awards
2018 – Top 10 LGBT+ Executives, Financial Times
Ross was once engaged, but called off the engagement as her fiancé did not want others to know that Ross was transgender.
Ross is a practicing Buddhist.
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