Tia Mowry says she experienced pay discrepancy while on 'Sister, Sister'

The actor starred in the popular '90s sitcom with her sister, Tamera.
SISTER, SISTER, Tia and Tamera Mowry, 1994-99
Tia and Tamera Mowry played twins who were separated at birth in "Sister, Sister."Courtesy Everett Collection
/ Source: TODAY

Tia Mowry-Hardrict opened up about wage discrepancy and race in a new episode of her web series, "Tia Mowry's Quick Fix," and said she and sister Tamera Mowry-Housley often felt frustrated while negotiating their "Sister, Sister" salaries.

"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," she said in a first look at the episode provided to People. "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."

Early on in her career, Mowry-Hardrict also noticed that actors who weren't Black seemed to have a different experience while filming projects, she said.

"It was very evident to me when I would walk on sets and I would see how certain stars or actors would be treated who weren’t of ethnicity — better dressing room, better trailer," Mowry-Hardrict, 42, said. "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."

Tia and Tamera Mowry during their "Sister, Sister" daysCourtesy Everett Collection

The mother of two often felt like she was placed in a box or stereotyped as a biracial woman working in Hollywood.

"I've been told I'm not Black enough, which was very odd and weird to me," she remembered. "'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."

Still, having to work harder to succeed has certainly shaped Mowry-Hardrict's work ethic, and that's something that she's proud of now.

"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 that I would be where I am today, which is a hard freaking worker. Because guess what? It's hard to outwork someone."

Mowry-Hardrict is also proud of the legacy that "Sister, Sister" left behind and said working on the show was an overall positive experience. To this day, the actor still hears stories from fans who say the show truly impacted their life or inspired them to feel more comfortable in their own skin.

"Just hearing those stories, it puts a big smile on my face because everything that I do, I want to inspire, to encourage and to uplift. And knowing that I was able to help young Black girls believe in themselves and believe that they are beautiful and believe that they are valued really makes me feel happy," Mowry-Hardrict said.

Something that was special about "Sister, Sister," in Mowry-Hardrict's opinion, was the fact that the show did a great job of authentically representing Black culture.

"Having two young Black girls be the star of their own show spoke volumes, which I am forever grateful to have been given that opportunity," she said.