Tia Mowry recently spoke with ET on how her self-image has evolved throughout her career and how she’s instilling those values in her children.
During her chat, she recalled being shut down for the cover of a magazine with sister Tamera during the ‘Sister, Sister’ days because they were Black.
“To this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful,” Mowry says in a candid conversation on Unfiltered. “And the same thing even with my son. I tell him how handsome he is, I tell him, you know, he is smart. Because I know what it feels like for someone to devalue your worth, and I don’t want my children to ever, ever, ever, feel that. And not have the strength, or the foundation, to not believe it. To believe that they are worthy.”
One example the actress cites is during the height of Sister, Sister’s popularity, when the show was a ratings hit. “So my sister [Tamera] and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular [teenage] magazine at the time,” Mowry recalls. “We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”
Despite being discriminated against and devalued for the color of her skin, the actress knew it wasn’t true — but didn’t say anything at the time. “I will never forget that. I will never forget where I was,” she continues. “And I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that wasn’t right.”
Looking back on growing up in the industry as a young Black girl, Mowry says she was full of insecurities. “I would feel insecure about my hair because being young and being in this business, I never saw girls like me. I never saw girls that, you know, were embracing their curls or I never saw curly hair being portrayed as beautiful,” she explains.
In fact, many shows at that time — Girlfriends, Moesha, Sister, Sister — were praised for showing a variety of Black hair and portraying a positive image for young women to look up to. Mowry, however, didn’t have anyone on screen or in the magazines to look up to before that and has only started to embrace her own curls over the past five or six years, even wearing her natural hair on her latest series, Family Reunion. Following an expanded family that grows closer after a family event, the Netflix original is now streaming alongside episodes of Sister, Sister, which were added to the platform in September.
“I love that now I’m seeing images that are really embracing natural, beautiful, curly hair and just beautiful Black women in all shades — dark, light skin, brown,” she says. “Representation is important and that really helped me, meaning me seeing those images is what helped me embrace my natural beauty.”
Watch the video below.