Angelica Ross

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Angelica Ross
Angelica Ross profile.jpg
Born (1980-11-28) November 28, 1980 (age 41)[1]
  • Actress
  • businesswoman
Years active2005–present
OrganizationTransTech Social Enterprises

Angelica Ross (born November 28, 1980)[1] is an American actress, businesswoman, and transgender rights advocate. A self-taught computer programmer, she went on to become founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a firm that helps employ transgender people in the tech industry.[1][2]

Ross began her acting career in the web series Her Story (2016), after which she received further recognition and critical acclaim for her starring roles in the drama series Pose (2018–2021) and the anthology horror series American Horror Story (2019–present), both from FX.

Early life[edit]

Angelica Ross was born on November 28, 1980 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, then raised to the north in nearby Racine.[3] Ross, a trans woman, has said she was perceived as feminine from a young age.[1][4] In 1998, when she was 17, she came out as gay to her mother, an evangelical Christian. Her mother did not receive the news well; according to Ross, "she told me I should commit suicide or she would, because she couldn't have someone like me as her child."[1][5] Ross considered ending her own life and overdosed on medication, but survived.[1][4]

Upon graduating high school at 17, Ross briefly attended the University of Wisconsin–Parkside before dropping out after one semester.[3] Ross decided to join the U.S. Navy (after her parents signed a waiver so that she could 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.[3] 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.[4][5]

Ross moved back home, and made friends with a drag queen named Traci Ross who helped her begin her gender transition at the age of 19.[3] Upon discovering that she was transitioning, her mother threw her out and Ross moved in with her biological father (who was slightly more accepting of her) in Roanoke, Virginia.[3][5] Although Ross and her parents were estranged for a time, she states that they have since mended their relationship.[5] During the six years that she lived in Roanoke, Ross worked as a waitress at Applebee's so she could earn enough money to pay rent and attend cosmetology school. She was let go from her waitress job due to discrimination.[3] Ross then moved to Hollywood, Florida and worked as a model and escort, then web manager, until 2003.[5] She started a web development and graphic design business and took acting classes.[5] She later moved to Chicago to become the employment coordinator for the Trans Life Center.[5]

Acting career[edit]

In 2005, Ross made her acting debut in the comedy film Natale a Miami, followed by a role in the short film Bella Maddo (2010). In 2016, Ross received recognition for starring in Her Story, a web series about trans women in Los Angeles.[1][6] The series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama.[7][8] In 2017, she made guest appearances in the CBS legal drama series Doubt, the TNT crime drama series Claws, and the Amazon Prime Video comedy-drama series Transparent.[9] She also executive produced and starred in 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, Tennessee. In June 2017, Ross provided voice work for the Amazon Video animated series Danger & Eggs.[10][11]

Her breakthrough role came in 2018, as Candy Ferocity in Ryan Murphy's FX drama series Pose. For her performance, she earned critical acclaim.[12] She went on to star as psychologist Donna Chambers in the FX anthology horror series American Horror Story: 1984, which made her the first transgender actress to secure two series regular roles. The series was also her second collaboration with Murphy.[13] Her performance garnered critical acclaim by fans and critics alike. In 2021 Ross returned as a series regular for the show's tenth season.[14]

More recently, she signed a deal with Pigeon to develop its television projects.[15] Ross portrays Georgia, a transgender woman, in the 2022 film Framing Agnes.[16] In August 2022, it was announced that Ross would make her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago in a limited engagement from September 12 to November 6, 2022.[17]

Tech career[edit]

Ross taught herself coding,[18] and started her journey in the technology industry in web management.[19] She also learned graphic design and photography using videos online, taking photos for rappers and designing backstage passes.[20] Ross later was hired by the Chicago House's TransLife Center which caters to trans individuals seeking employment, housing and other aid.[20] Her role focused on employment coordination program development.[20]

In 2014, Ross founded the company TransTech Social Enterprises, acting as CEO.[21] She is also the president of Miss Ross, Inc. and founded the TransTech Summit.[22] Ross described the goals of TransTech as including to foster skills in the technology industry, especially for trans people. As the world became more digitized, Ross saw the opportunity for expanding remote working via telecommunication as there can be flexible solutions to workplace issues.[23]


Ross launched TransTech Social Enterprises in Chicago in 2014.[2] The nonprofit creative design firm trains and contracts transgender and other workers.[2][24] Melissa Harris-Perry brought more attention to the firm in 2015, choosing Ross as her show's first "Foot Soldier" of the year.[2][25] Educating others on the mission of the firm included MSNBC airing a documentary about it.[19] Ross was a featured speaker at the 2015 White House LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit.[26] She was also a celebrity ambassador to the 50th Anniversary Stonewall celebration that took place in June 2019 during Pride.[27] On September 20, 2019, Ross hosted the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues.[28][29] This made her the first openly transgender person to host an American presidential forum.[30] On September 28, 2019, Ross was a featured speaker at the National Trans Visibility March in Washington D.C.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Ross was once engaged, but called off the engagement as her fiancé did not want others to know that Ross was transgender.[33] She is a practicing Buddhist.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Natale a Miami Sharon
2010 Bella Maddo Party Guest Short film
2017 Missed Connections Jennifer Short film
The Heart of a Woman Terri Short film
2020 Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen Herself Documentary film
2021 Music Urgent Care Doctor
2022 Framing Agnes Georgia


Year Title Role Notes
2015 I Am Cait Herself 2 episodes
2017 Doubt Valentina Episode: "Clean Burn"
Danger & Eggs Mayor (voice) 3 episodes
Claws Relevance 3 episodes
Transparent Diana Ross Diva Episode: "Born Again"
2018–2021 Pose Candy Ferocity 15 episodes
2019 King Ester Denise Episode: "Insurance"
American Horror Story: 1984 Donna Chambers 9 episodes
2021 American Horror Story: Double Feature The Chemist 3 episodes
Theta 3 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2016 Her Story Paige 5 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2015 Transgender National Alliance Be Amazing Award Angelica Ross Won [34]
2016 Black Trans Advocacy Awards Trailblazer Award Won [35]
2016 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award Won [36]
2017 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Talk Show Episode The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Won [37]
Special Recognition Award Angelica Ross Won [38]
2018 Financial Times Top 10 LGBT+ Executives Won [39]
2021 Fast Company Queer 50 Won [40]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dawn Ennis (November 17, 2015). "Meet the Vanguard: Trans Businesswoman Angelica Ross Tells All". The Advocate. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d MacArthur, Kate (June 4, 2015). "Angelica Ross, TransTech and voice and value for transgender people". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The World Wouldn't Make a Place for Angelica Ross. So She Made One for Herself". Wealthsimple Magazine. February 9, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Bried, Erin (July 15, 2015). "Being Transgender Nearly Cost Me My Life". Self. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Rudulph, Heather Wood (July 25, 2016). "How I'm Helping the Trans Community Get Great Jobs". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Katz, Evan Ross (January 28, 2016). "Angelica Ross And Jen Richards Discuss Their Groundbreaking New Series, "Her Story"". Logo TV. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  7. ^ Brighe, Mari (July 31, 2016). "The Emmy-Nominated Trans Web Series Her Story Could Change Everything". The Advocate. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Roemer, Robin (July 17, 2016). "Women Behind 'Her Story' Talk Emmy Nomination". NBC News. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  9. ^ Brighe, Mari (September 26, 2016). "What's Next for Transgender Media After 'Transparent'?". Vice. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  10. ^ Mey (July 1, 2017). ""Danger & Eggs" Is The Greatest Weirdest Queer-and-Trans Inclusive Kids Show Ever". Autostraddle. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Bendix, Trish (July 3, 2017). ""Danger And Eggs" Is The Queer Cartoon We've Been Waiting For". NewNowNext. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  12. ^ Lawson, Richard (May 30, 2018). "Pose Is Bold, Necessary Melodrama". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (July 10, 2019). "'Pose' Star Angelica Ross Joins 'American Horror Story: 1984'". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  14. ^ Maas, Jennifer (February 26, 2020). "Ryan Murphy Reveals 'AHS' Season 10 Cast: Macaulay Culkin Joins, Evan Peters and Kathy Bates Return". Thewrap. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  15. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2020-08-03). "'Pose' Star Angelica Ross Inks Overall Development Deal With Pigeon Production Company". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  16. ^ Joynt, Chase (2022-01-22), Framing Agnes (Documentary), Fae Pictures, Level Ground, retrieved 2022-01-10
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew (2022-08-04). "Pose Star Angelica Ross Will Make Broadway Debut in Chicago". Playbill. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  18. ^ "Celebrating BAME Women in STEM Innovators". 8 February 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  19. ^ a b "Angelica Ross / Calling Up The Inner Arsenal". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  20. ^ a b c Al-Heeti, Abrar. "Black transgender star of the hit show Pose: 'Technology saved my life'". CNET. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  21. ^ "About Us – TransTech Social Enterprises". Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  22. ^ "3rd Annual TransTech Summit This Weekend, Nov. 14-15 - All Together". 11 November 2020. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  23. ^ David, Emmanuel (2017-02-01). "Capital T: Trans Visibility, Corporate Capitalism, and Commodity Culture". TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 4 (1): 28–44. doi:10.1215/23289252-3711517. ISSN 2328-9252.
  24. ^ Andy Ambrosius (February 17, 2015). "How One Chicago Start-Up is Working to Close the Transgender Employment Gap". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  25. ^ Melissa Harris-Perry (January 3, 2015). "How one trans businesswoman is helping others". MSNBC. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  26. ^ Megan Rose Dickey (September 1, 2015). "TransTech Helps Transgender People Get Jobs In Tech And, Soon, The White House". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  27. ^ ""POSE" Star Angelica Ross' 2nd Annual TransTech Summit | Shine My Crown". 17 August 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  28. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (September 16, 2019). "'Pose' Actress Angelica Ross To Host Presidential Candidate Forum On LGBTQ Issues". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  29. ^ Wheeler, André (September 21, 2019). "A huge misstep': Angelica Ross on Sanders' LGBTQ forum no-show". The Guardian. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  30. ^ "'A huge misstep': Angelica Ross on Sanders' LGBTQ forum no-show". the Guardian. Sep 21, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  31. ^ Chibbaro, Lou Jr. (September 25, 2019). "Thousands expected in D.C. for National Trans Visibility March". Washington Blade. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  32. ^ Cummings, Moriba (September 27, 2019). "Angelica Ross To Speak At Trans Visibility March In D.C." BET. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  33. ^ Lori Grisham (July 24, 2015). "#InTheirWords: 'A lot of trans people feel like they will never be loved'". USA Today. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  34. ^ "METRO GLAM Fundraising Event". Transgender National Alliance. October 28, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  35. ^ "2016 National Black Trans Advocacy Awards: Full List of Award Recipients". Black Trans Advocacy. Archived from the original on January 7, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  36. ^ "2016 HRC Chicago Award Recipients & Special Guests". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  37. ^ Knapp, JD (2017-05-07). "28th GLAAD Media Awards: Complete List of Winners". Variety. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  38. ^ "28th Annual GLAAD Media Award nominees recognize outstanding portrayals of trans stories #glaadawards". GLAAD. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  39. ^ "The OUTstanding lists 2018: LGBT+ leaders and allies". Financial Times. 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  40. ^ "Announcing Fast Company's second annual Queer 50 list". Fast Company. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  41. ^ "About". Miss Ross. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  42. ^ "Queerty Pride50 2019 Honorees". Queerty. Retrieved 2019-06-18.

External links[edit]