Photo by Kevin Thomas Photography
While many former child stars have struggled to maintain success in adulthood, Tia Mowry- Hardrict found the secret ingredient to flourish. After starring in the lovable hit television series “Sister, Sister” (alongside twin sister Tamera), Tia showed no signs of slowing down, continuing to land roles in both television and film. With the release of her cookbook “Whole New You,” there really isn’t anything this mom, actress, and entrepreneur can’t do. Through sharing her own personal struggles, she’s inspired countless other women and shown them how to be a healthier, happier version of themselves.
Tia took some time out of her (very busy) schedule to reflect on why she feels grateful to have a “built in best friend,” what recipes from her cookbook bring back the best memories, and what keeps her going.
I don’t think there was a soul in the 90’s who didn’t watch “Sister, Sister.” What do you think made the show so popular?
It was a fun family show, and to be honest with you I didn’t realize what a blessing it was to have a show of that caliber, have a platform. I feel like we’re lacking that in today’s generation where families can just sit down and watch a show together. I feel like things are so individualized now. You now just have one group of people able to watch a show as opposed to all ages and the whole family, that can just forget about the stresses that this world can offer. And that’s what I think that’s so great about comedy and family….is that no matter what’s going on around you, when you sit down and watch a show that the whole family finds funny and uplifting, you kind of forget about how hard life can be for a minute. So I think that’s what made the show so popular. It was also nice to see a show about sisterhood.
Speaking of sisterhood, how important has the bond between you and your sister been throughout your life?
There’s something special about having a built in best friend to kind of go through this journey called life with. But what makes it even more profound is you have someone who’s the same age as you, that looks like you. So it’s almost like you have this mirror image of you when you’re going through puberty when you’re going through your first date, your first marriage, your first child. Basically, you have someone that’s going through all of the monumental milestones that life gives us, and she’s kind of like right there with you. So it makes life better. It makes life easier. It makes life enjoyable. It’s just amazing. Sisterhood is a beautiful thing and to be able to have someone to kind of go through life with you, it’s a blessing.
From the early 90’s to now, you’ve worked so consistently in both film and television. What keeps you going?
That’s a really, really good question. I have to say that it’s the people that you surround yourself with. So number one, my husband. I’ve actually known him for 18 years. We’ve been together for 17 years. He is my biggest encourager. When I don’t believe in myself, he’s the one that keeps me pushing. And I look up to him. He’s like my hero because he has so much faith in his ability, and he projects that onto me. So in times when I’m feeling doubtful or I don’t believe in myself, he’s quickly there to kind of give me that adjustment saying, “You can do it, Tia.”
Another thing that motivates me would definitely have to be my son. I truly believe that after giving birth to him, it was almost like as soon as I birthed him, I became this lioness that was no longer afraid. I do everything for him. I work hard for him. I want to be an example for him that you can do anything that you put your mind to. So my husband and my son give me strength, they give me courage, they give me motivation.
You and Tamera both starred in “Tia and Tamera,” a reality series that documented everything in your lives from marriage to pregnancy. What was it like sharing such personal experiences with the public?
It wasn’t easy. And it has to take getting used to. It’s hard to kind of show vulnerability, but the light at the end of the tunnel for me was I was able to inspire, to encourage other women. Because I had shared my endometriosis, I had shared my infertility struggles. By me becoming vulnerable and sharing those experiences, I helped a lot of people and then that for me is a greater reward than dealing with some sort of insecurity.
Your cooking show “Tia Mowry at Home” is perhaps one of the best cooking shows I’ve watched, and I literally want to eat everything you make. Was cooking something that always came naturally to you?
Oh yeah! I’ve always enjoyed cooking, ever since I was a little girl. It was a time and a moment that I can cherish with my mother. We were growing up in a house with four kids. It’s kind of hard to get that one on one time. Whenever I would cook, I was in the kitchen with my mom and we were building memories on memories on memories and that’s kind of like how it started. And then it later Mom figured out I was good at it. She was like, “Ok you have to cook for the family for a week.” And so it was my responsibility to make sure the whole family was fed for a week. Then I would rotate with my sister. I don’t know if my sister enjoyed it as much as I did. And then I started to build on that. And I ended up getting married, and there was dinner on the table every night and I saw how it made him happy. Then I started cooking for his friends and whenever they’d come over they knew that Ti was cooking and there was food.
Read Tia’s full-length feature in our Fall issue, available now at all Barnes & Noble locations, or for purchase on our website.