Tia Mowry Reflects on the "Pivotal Moment" of Straightening Her Hair for Sister, Sister

In a personal essay for Elle, Tia Mowry described the impact she and twin sister Tamera Mowry felt after deciding to straighten their hair for Sister, Sister.

By Mona Thomas Feb 11, 2021 9:25 PMTags
Watch: Tia Mowry Opens Up About Witnessing Her Father's White Privilege

Tia Mowry is weighing on the hair conversation.

In a personal essay for Elle, The Game star spoke openly about how her and her twin sister Tamera Mowry's natural hair on their hit ‘90s show Sister, Sister became reflective of acceptable beauty standards of the time.

"When we were younger, it was wonderful being able to wear our natural hair. People were always like, ‘Oh, you're so cute. We love your curls,'" the 42-year-old recalled. "But as we went into adulthood—you could see that when we became teenagers in the show, we ended up straightening our hair. It was such a pivotal moment in the series because it was also a reflection of what was being pushed as ‘beautiful' in society."

She continued, "When I straightened my hair, it damaged my hair and it damaged my natural curls. Again, there were those insecurities. In this business, if I had my hair curly, I was told, ‘Can you pull that back?' On auditions, I was told, ‘It's distracting.'"

During that time in their career, Tia recalled herself and Tamera not getting booked for a magazine cover because their publicist at the time told them the outlet "would not sell" with them on the cover.

Stars' Epic Hair Transformations

"We didn't understand that we were experiencing all of this kickback," she said. "You know that children's rhyme, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never hurt me?' I'm not a fan of that, because what that rejection did was create a lot of insecurity. This magazine was a very popular teen magazine that had fashion, beauty, and was known for spotlighting what they thought was beautiful and what they thought was popular and hot at that time."

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Tia remembered the publication as a navigation for "who we are as a person and what our value is as a person in this business" and reinforcing "a lot of insecurity" given the lack of representation.

"It made us feel like we weren't valuable in that space," she explained. "Like we weren't valuable at all."

However, the mother of two quoted what her mother Darlene Mowry told her and her sister at the time, which was, ‘'Do not allow this business to define you. Do not allow this business to define your happiness. Do not allow this business to define your value."

Tia credited her mother's words as what kept her and her sister from "falling into the pit of childhood stardom."

Watch: Have You Seen Roger From "Sister, Sister" Lately?

 Over the years, the Disney alum noticed other Black women on social media platforms embracing their natural curls in a wide variety of styles. The open acceptance made the star realize that others are coming to terms with Black women and their hair not being monolithic in representation.

"Black beauty to me is being unapologetic. It means strong, Tia expressed. "It means bold. It means confidence. It means beautiful. When you are a minority, you have to see the lack of diversity being pushed in beauty and you have to have those qualities of being unapologetic."

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