Tia Mowry Opens Up About Her Hair and Her Happiness
Tia Mowry is making big moves. In October, the actor of ’90s sitcom Sister, Sister fame announced on Instagram that she was separating from her husband, Cory Hardrict, noting that they will continue to co-parent their children, Cree, 11, and Cairo, 4. She’s the newest ambassador for WeightWatchers. And now she’s launching a natural haircare brand called 4U by Tia in collaboration with Amyris Labs, the biotechnology company behind Stripes, Biossance, Costa Brazil, and more. Mowry describes her brand as “safe, simple, and effective. It’s very important to me that you get a lot of product with clean ingredients at an accessible price point. Using the formulas makes me feel good about what I’m putting in my hair and my family’s hair,” she says. Each product, from the shampoo to the curl cream, is $10.99 or less and available at Walmart. Keep reading for our interview with Mowry, and watch our senior producer, Annastacia Gladston, test out the new 4U by Tia line here:
How has your relationship with your hair changed through the years?
I didn’t always love my hair. I wasn’t always caring for it, embracing it, or accepting of it. I didn’t see hair like mine on television or in magazines. When I was at school, I heard, “Your hair is poofy,” “Your hair is frizzy.” Growing up as an actor, casting directors didn’t know where I fit, and the characters [they were casting for] were never described as a woman who had hair like mine. Casting directors would call my hair a distraction. So what did I do? I tried to conform. I tried to look like what people were saying was beautiful and sexy. It brought on tons of insecurity. When I was on Sister, Sister in my 20s and I was starting to date, I liked to straighten my hair because I didn’t feel like I was embraced or accepted when I would wear my hair curly.
That must have been so hurtful. At some point, you embraced your curls, though; did you have an aha moment?
In 2012 I started to see women with textured hair like mine on my Instagram feed. I can still picture a Brazilian girl who had just done the big chop to transition from straightened hair to her natural texture. I even reached out to her to tell her that she inspired me to do the same. This #bigchop community was beautiful and inspiring—women were standing up to society and saying, “No, I’m not going to conform.” I wanted to be a part of that movement. I did the big chop and started to fall in love with my hair.
You mentioned dating in your 20s while you were straightening your hair. What’s it like now in your 40s with curls?
Well, now I’m all about expressing myself! Now it’s about being myself and embracing who I am and walking with confidence. I am no longer afraid to express myself in an authentic way. And putting my hair in different styles—braids, knotless braids, cornrows, topknots—showcases my personality. Our hair is to be celebrated.
So, the worry about how people perceived you in your 20s is gone?
Gone! Completely. And the reason why is representation. Seeing people who look like you being included and celebrated makes you feel confident. I’m a true believer in the idea that if you see it, you be it.
Embracing your texture is one way you’re impacting your happiness these days. What else is doing that?
[Happiness] starts with yourself. So the project I am working on is me. I’m learning more about myself. I’m reading this book called Lighter, by Yung Pueblo. It’s about letting go of the past, living in the present, and healing for the future. Meditation is a big part of that. It gives you the chance to be still, focused, and alone with your thoughts. And to be honest with yourself.
I’m also forgiving myself and recognizing that I’m human, which resonates with me as a mom and an entrepreneur. Wellness is important, too. It’s amazing how when you take care of yourself, you start to feel alive and amazing.
Is there something small you’ve done so far that’s made a big difference?
Allowing myself to be alone, and being okay with not being okay. I grew up with a big family, and when I left my mother’s household, I moved in with my sister. We were always side by side in life. And then I ended up being in a relationship for 22 years. So I wasn’t used to being alone and to hearing all my thoughts. But I’m learning to embrace stillness. That’s where growth happens.
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