Today, Tia Mowry's approach to beauty is "unapologetic." But as a Black woman who grew up in the predominantly white landscape of Hollywood, this conception is the result of a long personal journey.
In a new Elle interview, the actress, cookbook author, and entrepreneur discusses how beauty — or, more specifically, society's definition of it — used to be a frequent source of insecurity for her.
Despite her and her twin Tamera's starring roles in the hit sitcom "Sister, Sister," for example, their publicist once told them that they couldn't be on the cover of a popular teen magazine. Apparently, they "would not sell."
"We didn't understand that we were experiencing all of this kickback," Mowry said. "It had us navigating who we are as a person and what our value is as a person in this business. It gave us a lot of insecurity. It made us feel like we weren't valuable in that space. Like we weren't valuable at all."
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She added that while her natural curls were seen as "cute" when she was younger, later in life Hollywood deemed them "distracting." She and her sister began chemically straightening her hair, as did their respective characters on "Sister, Sister."
"It was such a pivotal moment in the series because it was also a reflection of what was being pushed as 'beautiful' in society," Mowry told Elle. "When I straightened my hair, it damaged my hair and it damaged my natural curls. Again, there were those insecurities."
Luckily, thanks to the natural hair movement on social media, Mowry realized that her curls — and all variations of Black hair — were something to be proud of.
Mowry has been open about embracing a natural look throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She shared a photo of herself on her 42nd birthday in August writing "This is me."
In an interview with TODAY in October, she explained why she also felt compelled to go public with her gray roots and natural curls.
"Basically, I'm all about authenticity," she said. "However I look at the moment, that's what I'm going to share."
To that point, Mowry regularly shares snaps of herself at home in light makeup but also on-set all glammed up. She explained she also showed off her baby bump when she gained nearly 70 pouds during her pregnancy too.
"I'm not about hiding who I am," she continued. "I'm all about wanting to change the narrative that people think they need to be perfect. Growing older is a blessing."
"I didn't know the photo was going to make such an impact," she told TODAY. "But yeah, it's about me being myself, and who I am. We're not all perfect, and it's OK to be you, and who you are."
She echoed those sentiments in her interview with Elle. She added that she's now in a "love affair" with all aspects of her physical self, from her wrinkles to her smile.
"Being a Black beauty icon is empowering because I love inspiring beautiful Black women — young and old — to love the skin they're in," Mowry said. "If you're the only Black girl in your class, don't be ashamed of wearing your natural locks or your braids. This is something to celebrate. It's history. It's beautiful."