Diana Ross Marks 25th Career Year
Celebrates with world tour and a TV special on HBO
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``I've always had this thing for clothes,'' she admits, ``even when I didn't have any money. I could mix and match until I looked fashionable. I think being named `Best Dressed' in my '62 high school yearbook was a highlight.Skip to next paragraph
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``My crew kids me about the number of costume changes I have on the tour. I think audiences like to see you in glamorous gowns, costumes, jewelry; so I don't think a new dress every 10 minutes is too much!''
Today, when Ross tours, it's always with family. Her two sons, Ross, 2, and Evan, 9 months, are there with bassinet, nannies, and Ross's ``Vroom-Vroom,'' the name he has given to his car bed.''
When she played Reno, both Diana's and Arne's children came along, making it eight youngsters, plus parents, maids, crew, and band. ``We're a circus,'' she says with a cascade of laughter.
Asked if raising her second family is different from the first, she says, ``When I had my three girls, my mother was alive. She'd take care of them whether at home or on a tour. I had such a secure feeling. If they weren't with me, Mom had her watchful eye on them.''
That part is different, because her mother passed away a few years ago, and Naess's mother is 82. Diana's three daughters - Rhonda, Tracee, and Chudney - by her first husband, manager Robert Silberstein (known professionally as Bob Ellis), are teen-agers. Her two sons by Naess are always with her.
WHY does she work so hard? Why is she driven? ``I remember reading a quote from Helen Keller: `Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.' It would be easy for me to do nothing but repeat the '80s, but I want my executive position with Motown to be hands-on. I hope to put back into the music business some of the knowledge I've gained, especially guiding younger talents as they start their careers.
``I've always had such big dreams. Even as a little girl I would sing and dance for my family or for anyone who would listen.''
In 1960, the trio that would become the Supremes won its first talent contest across the border from Detroit in Ontario, Canada. In 1961, after they had finished high school, Motown chief Barry Gordy agreed they could record their first single, ``I Want a Guy.'' In 1964, ``Where Did Our Love Go?'' became their first of 15 million-selling singles. The next year they were on the cover of Time magazine. In 1970, the Supremes gave their farewell performance at the Last Frontier in Las Vegas, and Ross launched her solo career with ``Ain't No Mountain High Enough.''
``I still dream,'' she says. ``I'd like to do more movies. I would love to do the Josephine Baker story, and I have invested a lot of my own money researching her life. ... If someone else does it, I'd still like to have something to do with the project.
``I'm always challenged by something new; I feel charged and alive. Even today, whenever I record a new song, I get excited, I think it's the best I've ever done. It's exhilarating to stand in the spotlight before a live audience. It's not just their reaction but that the performance represents my total effort.
``There are ways of dealing with the world that invite energy in. You have to be excited by the things you don't know. This keeps you constantly stimulated, on a learning spree with life.''