Hustle Mindset

Tia Mowry Felt Pressure To Fit Into White Beauty Standards On ‘Sister Sister’


Tia Mowry bounces through the aisles of New York’s Tatiana, the popular Caribbean restaurant from Chef Kwame Onwuachi, where it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation. She’s greeting the journalists, influencers and hair care professionals who’ve filled the dining room. She has an infectious levity about her, accentuated by her new pixie cut with her baby hairs laid and a pearl-encrusted clip securing her tresses back.

The actor, known for “Sister, Sister,” “The Game,” “Family Reunion,” carefree TikTok videos and too many projects to name, is the latest celebrity to launch her own hair care brand: 4U, a line for natural hair. Backed by biotechnology firm Amyris, Mowry launched 4U in January with the intention of creating a line that was safe, sustainable and affordable after having challenges finding products on the market that worked for her.

Mowry said her relationship with her hair hasn’t always been a healthy one. As a child star, she recalled feeling the pressures of trying to fit into Eurocentric beauty standards heavily. She said when she and her twin sister, Tamera, entered their 20s is when they began straightening their hair more consistently on “Sister, Sister,” as they believed that was the only way to “feel sexy” back then.

“I would straighten my hair, I would put my hair in extensions, and I damaged my hair,” she told HuffPost. “I saw this movement on Instagram and I saw all these women doing the big chop.” They were like, ‘We are done with trying to fit societal standards on what beauty or of what beauty is. We’re going to cut our hair, we’re going to start from scratch, a rebirth, and just embrace our curls.’ I was like, ‘I’m about to do the same thing.’”

In 2012, Mowry found a new beginning via her hair. With that new start, however, came a new challenge to find products that worked with her hair. In the course of her journey, she found that many products created for Black hair that claimed to be “natural” or “clean” weren’t. And as a new mother with a new lens on what she put in her body, she refused to sacrifice the wellness component of hair care.

“I wanted to create a high-performing hair care line that really has safe, clean ingredients [that’s] also good for the environment and affordable,” she said. “From having to hack, to choose from something that is extremely expensive to something that is not necessarily expensive with toxic ingredients, why can’t we have something that is safe, clean [with] ingredients that are derived actually from nature at an affordable price?”

Tia Mowry celebrates 4U with the Black hair community at Tatiana restaurant in New York City.

Earlier this year, All Things Hair, a platform created by Unilever, released a hair inequality survey that found that Black women are likely to spend more on hair care each month. Last year, Treasure Tress, a hair care subscription-box company based in the United Kingdom, confirmed a “hidden texture tax” and inflation on products for women with tighter curls and coils.

Mowry said accessibility was important for her in creating 4U. Individual products range from $10.99 to $11.99, with bundle packages ranging from $39 for four products to $58 for six products.

“Representation [in the haircare market] is one of the main reasons why I decided to come out with this line,” she said. “I understand the benefits and the power of representation. To be able to give that opportunity and that outlet for people, I feel like it’s why I’m in this industry. I realized that that’s my focus.”

The reason for Mowry’s most recent haircut may have not been for her to embrace her natural curls, but it played a big part in helping her embrace the woman she’s becoming.

“I just feel like I am in the part of my life where I am really understanding and learning who Tia Mowry really is,” she said.

The 45-year-old actor recently divorced Cory Hardict after 14 years of marriage and the birth of two children, Cree, 11, and Cairo, 5. She told Hello Beautiful that having the courage to let her kids see their mom “walk in truth” was a big push toward her divorce.

Mowry recalled a conversation she had with a friend months ago that’s helped guide her on her path to learning who she is now. He asked her, “Who are you if you are not a mother? Who are you if you are not an actress? Who are you if you are not?”

“I just feel like I am in the part of my life where I am really understanding and learning who Tia Mowry really is.”

She admitted to having “a hard time, and I really feel like I became lost in those roles that society puts on us to be.” She continued, “Not saying that I’ve never wanted to be an actress, I always have, but I was an actor ever since I was a little girl. I didn’t really get to experience just really exploring who I really am as a person and then even as a mother.”

She said the societal pressures women specifically face exacerbate that. Her goal is to break generational curses and be a point of inspiration for other women.

“I feel like there’s so many external factors that are placed upon women. We feel like we have to fall in line, even if that means that we are not living out our truth,” she said. “You deserve peace. I deserve peace. I believe that it is attainable now and here, we don’t have to wait till we go to heaven, you know what I mean? It’s tangible.”

Her most recent haircut was symbolic of a chance to begin again and answer those questions.

“I think this era is just rediscovery, I’m rediscovering myself and who I am as a person,” she said. “I am moving with intent and being intentional in everything that I do. Meaning I’m moving with radical honesty, I’m moving with my inner truth. It’s not always easy because it’s about unpacking, unlearning certain things, but it’s been very rewarding and peaceful.”

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