Drag performer, activist, and singer Honey Davenport (RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11) recently sat down with — via video chat, of course — actress, activist, and singer Tracee Ellis Ross to discuss her new film, The High Note.
In the Focus Features film, set in L.A.’s glamorous music scene, Ross plays megastar Grace Davis, who seemingly has it all — including an overinflated ego, and a loyal, overworked personal assistant, Maggie (played by Dakota Johnson). Though her days are filled running endless errands for her demanding boss, Maggie has a secret lifelong dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace is suddenly confronted with a career-altering decision, Maggie helps her form a plan that could change the trajectory of both their lives forever.
Ross tells Davenport that the idea behind the story was very personally relatable for her, however, it’s something almost anyone can relate to.
“This idea that there is no age, no phase, no stage, no circumstance that should stop you from pursuing your dreams and going after what you want," Ross says of the themes of the movie that resonate for her.
The Black-ish actress also admits she was nervous about all of the singing that was required for the role — but much like the character of Maggie in the film, Ross says singing is “my biggest childhood dream that somehow turned into my biggest fear…. When you leave a dream alone for a long time, it gets scarier.”
Of course, Ross is the daughter of the legendary Diana Ross.
Ross and Davenport also discuss what it was like working on a project not only written and directed by a woman, Nisha Ganatra (the out director of the queer classic Chutney Popcorn), but also with a female-led cast.
“It was amazing,” says Ross. “I loved being in a work environment that was inundated with female voices.”
When Davenport asks what her advice would be to someone who’s afraid to pursue their dreams, Ross says, “It’s never too late and it's always worth it.... The point is not to be great, the point is to try it. That’s how you gain equity in yourself. That’s how you own who you are."
The High Note, which also costars Kelvin Harrison Jr., June Diane Raphael, Eddie Izzard, and Ice Cube, is now available on all major on-demand services, including Prime Video, Apple TV, and Google Play.
Watch Davenport's full interview with Ross here: