Story at a glance
- Angelica Ross is the CEO and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, an incubator for LGBTQ+ talent.
- Ross is also an actress and known for her role as Candy in the Netflix series “Pose.”
- A self-taught coder, Ross is working to help other transgender women advance their careers and professional lives.
Many actors have side gigs to support themselves before they “make it” in the entertainment industry, but the woman behind the smart-mouthed and feisty Candy of Netflix’s “Pose” doesn’t just have a gig — she founded her own enterprise.
Years before her acting career took off, Angelica Ross founded TransTech Social Enterprises in 2014 to empower talent in both the transgender community and the broader LGBTQ+ community as a whole. The self-taught computer coder wanted to give others the support she didn’t have when launching her career.
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“What people didn’t realize was when I had the office in Chicago for TransTech, when we closed, I worked late nights so that I could out-stay the security so that they didn’t know that I was sleeping in the office,” Ross told Variety in a keynote conversation for the TransTech Summit. “And that when I would wake up in the office, I would go to the LA Fitness gym to take a shower and to get ready and change and come back and do these things. I sacrificed so much for myself to make TransTech a thing, but I did so knowing I was somebody who makes a bet knowing they’re going to win.”
Ross's activism and work through TransTech are informed by her own story, from being discharged from the Navy under the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, to workplace discrimination and eventually acting.
"Waitress. Makeup artist. Realtor. Dancer. Web Master. Actor. I've worked every kind of job you can think of. So when I talk about my value you can trust I’m worth every penny," Ross wrote in Wealthsimple Magazine.
The virtual two-day summit featured LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming identified professionals, speakers and trainers from across the country, including Ross, Laverne Cox and Rain Valdez. By sharing her own journey and investing in others, Ross hopes to inspire transgender women to realize their full potential.
“That’s the type of gambling that I want to encourage within my community, is betting on yourself in a way that you’re willing to eat ramen noodles,” Ross told Variety. “You’re willing to be in certain circumstances because you’re betting on yourself. You’re not going to have that return on investment right away, but this kind of return on investment, not saying that I’m living all that, because I’m not all where I want to be, but I’m calling the shots in my life.”
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