*From the outside it’s easy for most folks to look at the successful childhood career(s) of twin sisters Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley and assume it was all peaches and cream.
Well, of course that wasn’t the case. Tia says she a Tamara were treated differently. As an example, Tia says Tamera was constantly told her hair was a “distraction.” Casting directors even advised Tia to go after Latina roles.
On her YouTube series, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, she said this:
“It was very evident to me when I would walk on sets and see how certain stars or actors would be treated who weren’t of ethnicity — better dressing room, better trailer. Now I’m like, more aware what that was, which is a budget, but back then I didn’t know what a budget was. It was so clear how you would see one show that didn’t have a diverse cast that just had a bigger budget so everything just seemed bigger and better. But when it came to my projects and what I was doing, you actually really visually saw the less-than.”
Even after “Sister Sister” became a hit show, basically nothing changed, says Tia:
“I remember once the show became a hit, it’s very normal for you to ask for a raise. That’s what happens, right? People get raises. But it was always so hard for my sister and I to get what we felt like we deserved and our paycheck never equaled our counterparts’ that weren’t of diversity, and that was frustrating. Very, very frustrating.”
While she and Tamera were known for their curly locks, Tia Mowry-Hardrict said she was also insecure about those because she didn’t see many other women rocking their natural hair.
“When I was doing Sister, Sister, I had curly hair and what was interesting was once my sister and I got older and we wanted to be viewed as ‘sexy,’ we would straighten our hair. I went on to do so many other television shows and I would always wear my hair straight because I was insecure about my curly hair. These insecurities came because I didn’t see these images, meaning women with curly hair and their natural hair, being portrayed as beautiful.”
She added that at one point, Tamera was told her hair was a “distraction.” Tia also said:
“I’ve been told I’m not Black enough, which was very odd and weird to me. You don’t look Black enough. I think you would fit more of the Latino role.’ It’s like, what? These were casting directors who did not understand the different shades of Black culture.”
But the upside to the bad treatment was that it helped to boost her ambition.
“How I was treated is why I built my work ethic. Nothing came easy to me. I always had to work harder than. I’ve always had to be better than average. And I guess if I didn’t go through what I had gone through or if I didn’t see what I had seen when I was a child, I don’t think I would be where I am today, which is a hard freaking worker. Because guess what? It’s hard to outwork someone.”