For many of us, Tia Mowry has been a staple in our lives since childhood and a symbol of nostalgia. She’s graced our screens as a beloved actress on Sister, Sister, Twitches, The Game, and now Family Reunion.
Beyond her roles on screen, what we can clearly see is a woman who is playing a major role in restructuring the biased mold designed to confine women in Hollywood.
During her coming-of-age era, Tia noticed a lack of representation in the public-facing space. Noticing the disadvantages for women of color as a teenager, which still exist today, Tia had to navigate who she was as a person and what her value is within entertainment. Once, she was even told that wearing her natural hair to auditions was a distraction and that being on the cover of a certain magazine, alongside her sister, Tamera Mowry-Houseley, would not sell. Despite the roadblocks on her journey to self-love, Tia now determines her own beauty standards, all of which realistically encapsulate her inner power and health.
[Editor's note: This feature was originally published on August 9, 2021.]
After a drastic diet change, Tia admits that her relationship with food ultimately altered the relationship she had with herself and aims to change yours along the way. On Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, her popular YouTube channel with nearly 1 million subscribers, Tia dishes out delicious cooking tutorials for anyone to enjoy. With the upcoming release of her sophomore cookbook, The Quick Fix Kitchen, and houseware collection, Spice by Tia Mowry, Tia wants to make food a uniting factor in our everyday lives, not a chore.
Before starting Anser — a line of beauty supplements, prenatal care, as well as multivitamins for women, men, and kids — Tia ventured down her own road to treatment following her diagnosis with endometriosis, a common and often painful disorder in which tissue grows outside the uterus. Considering the lack of Black women in wellness, Tia was inspired to start the multivitamin company Anser with BioSchwartz and United Talent Agency (UTA) in 2020. What initially was established with simply three products, now boasts over 20 products that are changing the lives of consumers one supplement at a time.
Her Agenda recently got the chance to speak with Tia about her relationship with beauty standards, advocating for herself, and her vitamin line, Anser.
Her Agenda: It’s very rare to see someone from an entertainment background partake in health ventures, as celebrities usually stick to beauty or fashion. When it comes to thinking outside the box for something that is literally changing lives, did you have to bypass a lot of skepticism, or were people supporting you from the beginning?
Tia Mowry: From my experience, I did not have to bypass a lot of skepticism at all. I give credit to being an open book and extremely authentic throughout my journey in life. I’ve been very open and vulnerable with the transitions that I’ve experienced in this thing called life from my postpartum depression to my health challenges with endometriosis, to my weight fluctuation. When I launched Anser, I felt it was natural and didn’t have any feelings of skepticism at all.
Her Agenda: Your vitamin line, Anser, launched in January 2020 with three vitamin products, but now boasts more than 20 products, including a line specifically for kids and men. How long does research and product development take until you put a product out into the world?
Tia Mowry: I’m so grateful to be working with an incredible team, my partners over at BioSchwartz, who have been in the supplement industry for over 20 years. They’ve really helped me with the development process, which can be pretty complex. We have to focus on the safety, quality, and efficacy of the ingredients within our products. What’s really great with this incredible company is that we have pre-production trials, in which we do product testing which is very efficient and very important. We also have an experienced R&D team that really knows how to walk through each of these steps quickly and efficiently, so much that we can actually get a product from an idea to an introduction in as short as 6 months. They understand my vision, they understand my ideas, and we are able to get out what we want in a decent time.
Her Agenda: The health industry is notorious for failing Black women in a sense. Pertaining to endometriosis, Black women are less likely to have it diagnosed and more likely to have symptoms ignored. Unfortunately, with this disorder, women often blame themselves. What has your journey to unconditional self-love been like?
Tia Mowry: Unfortunately, my journey was not always great nor easy, it was very challenging. I feel like my journey started when I was constantly going from doctor to doctor and having them not take my symptoms very seriously. I was even told, ‘Nothing is wrong with you’ or ‘Run off the pain, put a heating pad on your stomach, and take a hot bath.’ I’m proud of myself because I actually became an advocate for my health and my wellness. I want to encourage everyone to do the same thing. My supplement line Anser has the hashtag #selfcareisntselfish. Once I started focusing on self, wellness, putting myself first and making it a priority and loving the journey that I was on, that is where I started to see benefits. I just want to encourage others to do the same, to never blame yourself, and never give up. It’s okay to feel frustrated or challenged, but always know and understand that you are worth it. You are worth finding an answer for.
Her Agenda: With the Olympic games that are currently underway, Simone Biles dropped out of individual all-around competition in order to prioritize her mental health. And, of course, she has been receiving a lot of backlash for it. When it comes time to say ‘No’ and prioritize yourself, have you passed the stage of trying to be superwoman for everyone or does it take you a while to speak your truth?
Tia Mowry: First, I’ll speak on Simone Biles. I applaud her and I am so incredibly proud of her. I just saw this interview in which someone called her selfish. And, that bothered me because prioritizing yourself and thinking about your mental health is not selfish. For them to put out that narrative made me frustrated. Simone doesn’t owe anyone anything. The only person she has to owe anything to is herself. It has to start with you first. I always say, “How can you be the best of anything, if you are not filling up your own cup?” It is her priority to focus on herself. I love the way that she stood up in front of the world. Do you realize how much pressure this girl has on her? For her to choose herself at a young age, is very admirable to me.
It’s okay to feel frustrated or challenged, but always know and understand that you are worth it.
I think it is normalized for women to feel like they have to be superwomen. Part of it is brought on by societal standards and there is a nurturing side that we have to ourselves. We are always focusing on giving, giving, giving to other people. Society also celebrates perfectionism which is very dangerous to your mind, body, and spirit. I’ve had many challenges trying to be a superwoman. I am a mom so I’m constantly trying to juggle things [along with] the many different facets of who I am as a person. I’ve learned the hard way [the pitfalls] of trying to be a superwoman, like becoming burned out, anxious, and depressed. I know what that feels like and I don’t ever want to go back there anymore. I’ve been an advocate for myself, my self-care, and my boundaries. I’m a happier person overall therefore I’m a better mom, wife, and friend. I don’t think anyone should ever try to beat themselves up for trying to be perfect or trying to put on a cape to be a superhero. But, I’m here to encourage people to become aware of what that can do to you. I want us to get to a place where self-love becomes a priority because you’ll definitely see great benefits from it.
Her Agenda: Last fall, I remember you posting a selfie in which you embraced your gray hair. In Hollywood, there is so much pressure to be perfect and women are often penalized for aging. Do you think your interest in beauty standards have faded as you’ve grown?
Tia Mowry: I’ve learned to follow my own beauty standards. And, what I mean by that is what makes me feel good and beautiful from the inside out. This definitely took time and one of the main reasons why I’m vulnerable and open about posting myself getting older is because I understand those unrealistic standards put on women. I want to change the narrative and encourage women to not allow society to tell [them] what beauty is or what is seen as beautiful.
I’ve learned to follow my own beauty standards. And, what I mean by that is what makes me feel good and beautiful from the inside out.
One of my friends shared a perspective with me: When you wear glasses and when your hair turns gray, that is a blessing. Not many people make it to be able to go through the aging process. I am just grateful to be alive, and well. To me, aging should be a celebration, not something that we hide or don’t appreciate. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t allow people to tell me what beauty is. The way I feel about myself is what I will celebrate.
Her Agenda: I read that a few years ago, you drastically altered your diet and had to cut out a lot of things. Considering the role that food plays in Black culture, how did your relationship with food change the relationship you had with yourself?
Tia Mowry: It’s all about perspective. When you focus on prioritizing the way you feel and think because food does trigger your mood, and you have a perspective of awareness and realize what food is doing to your body; it’s crazy. It took a health challenge [for me to get to that realization], but my goal is to encourage others to not wait until you’re diagnosed with an underlying health issue or wait until you’re 50 or 60. My goal is for people to see that they are deserving of feeling amazing and great. When you know what food does to your body, it’s almost like a lightbulb turns on. The only way that happens is when you start to take away certain foods. If you focus on how you feel, then you really start to have a relationship with your body and you start to have a relationship with yourself. Why do we have to tell everyone, ‘I love you,’ but you can’t tell yourself that you love you?
When you focus on how you felt when you stayed away from something or what made you feel great, you start to have a memory log of how food makes your body feel. This can help you unlock your wellness potential so that when you are in your 40s you’ll feel like you’re in your 20s. When my relationship with food changed, I started to love myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge, there are times when I will eat a red velvet cupcake or decadent food, but I definitely get back on track.
Her Agenda: Your second cookbook, The Quick Fix Kitchen is set to be released on September 28. When it comes to implementing recipes in your book and even on YouTube, what helps you determine which ones are so special that you must share them with the world?
Tia Mowry: I definitely have to say, it has to be practical. I want to inspire and encourage people to get in the kitchen and not see it as an overwhelming chore. This could be fun, entertaining, and a way to bond with your family. Why do we go out to eat dinner with our friends and family? Because it makes us feel good when everyone is sitting around together indulging in delicious food, sharing stories, and creating memories. I want people to feel like that’s tangible and something they can do too. When it comes to my meals, it has to be something that’s practical, doable, and not overwhelming. A lot of my sheet pan dinners and one-pot meals are the ones that are definitely going in the book.
Also, flavor because it has to taste good. My son is really getting into food and cooking with mommy. Now that he is older, he is my taste tester. If he says, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom, I loved it,’ then it’s definitely going in the book and the same thing with my husband. I dedicate my book to my husband and children because they are my taste testers for real.
Her Agenda: Your new homewares collection Spice by Tia Mowry launches soon. With your line, how do you aim to change the way that people eat?
Tia Mowry: Yes, wait, until you guys see this line! I’m so excited about it! With my line, it’s all about the experience. It’s about energy, having fun, and not feeling overwhelmed. The colors are vibrant, bright, and fun. I really wanted it to impersonate my personality in the kitchen and how much fun I have. And, again, it’s all about practicality. For example, in my line is a batter bowl that I really love. When you make batter for something like pancakes, you usually have batter left over. With this bowl, instead of pouring the batter into another dish that you have to eventually wash, I incorporated a lid on top so you can just store it into the refrigerator. A lot of the dishes have that practicality to them. I’m really into organization, so there are some great storage pieces.
[Editor's note: This feature was originally published on August 9, 2021.]
I’m all about creating quick fixes for people who are in the kitchen. Whether they are new or have been cooking for a minute, I want to make sure that my line contains the essentials that you would need to get started.
Also, the cast iron skillet, which is my favorite and had to be a part of the line because you can create a one-pot dish. You can cook a lot of one-pot meals in them, throw them in the oven, and then your dish is made. We also have sheet pans for sheet tray dinners. What is important to me is the functionality of these pieces. I love design and love when you are able to take dishes straight from the stove and serve them with the pot. That way you are not making a mess and everything is easy. I also want it to have all of the essentials that one needs for the kitchen. I’m all about creating quick fixes for people who are in the kitchen. Whether they are new or have been cooking for a minute, I want to make sure that my line contains the essentials that you would need to get started.
[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. This feature was originally published on August 9, 2021.]