Inherited Gifts: 5 Powerful Mother-Daughter Celebrity Duos

These mother-daughter celebrity duos, including Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross, prove that talent and beauty runs in the family. 

Daughters learn and inherit a lot from their mothers, and in the case of celebrities, all the more so with plenty of powerful and talented women in the entertainment industry. In many cases, daughters follow in their mothers’ footsteps, pursuing similar careers in singing, acting, and the like. Both similar yet entirely unique, these duos may prove that talent, grace, and style are indeed hereditary:

READ ALSO: Seeing Double: 4 Celebrities You Never Knew Had Twins

Uma Thurman and Maya Hawke

At once spunky and sophisticated, American actress Uma Thurman redefined the pop culture scene with her roles in cult classics like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill movies. She also played the beautiful Irene Cassini in the critically-acclaimed dystopian sci-fi film Gattaca, and Poison Ivy in the 1997 Batman & Robin with George Clooney. 

Maya Hawke, Thurman’s daughter with ex-husband and former co-star Ethan Hawke is as talented as her parents, though she definitely bears a strong resemblance to the beautiful Thurman. The 25-year-old actress is best known for her role as Robin Buckley in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, and her blossoming career has seen her star in other amazing films. 

Recently, Hawke played Leonard Bernstein’s daughter Jamie Bernstein in Bradley Cooper’s Oscar-nominated Maestro, as well as June Douglas in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. She’ll also be playing the emotion Anxiety in the upcoming sequel to Pixar’s Inside Out. She also happens to be a skilled singer, with popular songs like “Thérèse” and “By Myself.”

In various interviews, including one with SiriusXM, Hawke revealed that her parents never pressured her to enter the entertainment industry—to her, they were simply loving parents, despite all the fame. “She’s the funniest person I know,” the young actress shared in an exclusive interview with People about her mom. 

“What isn’t a mother-daughter bond?,” Thurman told People in the same interview. “Good communication. That is a big challenge, to make sure we keep communication healthy, strong, and open with your family.” 

Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross

Everyone who lived to see the glorious 1950s to 1980s (or had parents who grew up during these periods) would know the legendary and inimitable Diana Ross. Initially a member of the motown group The Supremes, Ross eventually began an incredible solo career, churning out hits like a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and her groovy “I’m Coming Out.”

Ross carries a musical legacy unlike any other, and her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross carries her stage presence to the film industry as a top-notch actress. The 51-year-old recently played Lisa Ellison in Cord Jefferson’s Oscar-nominated movie American Fiction. She’s also received several Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her role as Rainbow Johnson in the TV series Black-ish, and won two NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Image awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.

Ross was a loving mom, as her daughter wrote in an Instagram post celebrating her mother’s 80th birthday: “What’s not available on Google is that she [Diana Ross] was also waking us up for school (she is the best waker-upper), having family dinner and bath time, recording while we slept, planning our birthday parties, play dates, doctor’s appointments, settling arguments between siblings…you know, all the mom stuff.”

Trecee continued: “Amidst shattering records, breaking glass ceilings, and setting a new bar for style and glamor, we, her children, were always her priority. As I often say, “Diana Ross” the beloved global icon is legendary but she doesn’t hold a candle to my Mama.”

Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith

Actress and singer Jada Pinkett Smith made a name for herself through her memorable roles in various genres, from comedies to dramas. She’s starred in The Nutty Professor, The Matrix movies, and Men In Black (alongside her husband Will Smith), to name a few. She also happens to be a great musician, having been the lead singer and songwriter for the 2000s nu metal band Wicked Wisdom. In 2021, Pinkett Smith received a spot on Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” list for her talk show Red Table Talk, which has championed the voices of Black women all across America. 

Diana Ross with her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross
Jada Pinkett Smith and daughter Willow Smith/Photo via Instagram @jadapinkettsmith

Much like her mom, Willow Smith entered a career in acting with her role in films like 2007’s I Am Legend, and also works with her mom Jada on Red Table Talk. However, the young star has truly carved her own path in music under the stage name “WILLOW,” having collaborated with American band Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne, Tyler Cole, as well as releasing her own hit singles like “Wait a Minute!” and “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l.”

The mother-daughter pair share a strong bond, yet one with its healthy boundaries, as Jada shared in an interview with People: “I gotta give Willow props because she’ll call me, disrupted, and be like, ‘I don’t need you to fix anything mom, I just want you to listen.’ I go, ‘Fantastic, I got you.’” 

Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber

Supermodel Cindy Crawford is someone who’ll go down in history as one of the best in the fashion industry. She rose to fame on billboards and magazine covers everywhere throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and many know her to be one of the world’s first “supermodels” as we know them today, together with other big names like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. Crawford still looks radiant to this day, though she’s ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, turning her name into a global brand for everything from furniture to skincare. 

As the old adage goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as her daughter Kaia Gerber has become an international superstar, both as a supermodel and actress. With features like her mother’s, it’s not hard to see why. Besides walking through runways and starring as the cover girl of multiple fashion publications, Gerber also starred in movies like Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, the highly-lauded 2023 comedy Bottoms, and more recently, Apple TV’s glamorous series on America’s elite Palm Royale

In an interview with People, Gerber described Crawford as a “cool mom,” and their relationship as one that’s a “really strong bond and friendship outside of just a mother-daughter dynamic” that has been really fun for her over the past years. 

Vanessa Paradis and Lily Rose Depp

By name alone, most people can guess that Lily Rose Depp is actor Johnny Depp’s daughter—however, for the most part, she gets a lot of her looks from her equally-talented mother, Vanessa Paradis. A model, singer, and French icon, Paradis took her home country by storm when she released her debut single Joe le Taxi in 1988, reports Claire Bonnot of Vogue France. It sold 1.3 million copies in France alone and double the number worldwide, Bonnot adds. 

Paradis was also a longtime face for the brand Chanel, and starred in various French films, including 1989’s Noce blanche [White Wedding] (which won her the César Award for Most Promising Actress) and 1999’s La fille sur le pont [Girl on the Bridge] (which also won her a César for Best Actress. 

Vanessa’s daughter Lily Rose Depp is a spitting image of her, possessing a similar youthful charm and sculpted features that have made her one of today’s It Girls in the entertainment and modeling industries (and a go-to face for Chanel, like her mom). Lily has been delving into very serious roles as of late, like Catherine of Valois in 2019’s The King with Timothée Chalamet and the highly-anticipated Robert Eggers adaptation of Nosferatu under Focus Pictures. 

Much like Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, both Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis worked to ensure their children chose paths for themselves, and didn’t thrust them into the spotlight. “I feel like my parents did the best job that they possibly could at giving me the most ‘normal childhood’ that they could,” she once said in an interview with Vice, as reported by Damon Wise of Deadline

Credit: Banner photo via Instagram @traceeellisross.

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