"In this business, if I had my hair curly, I was told, 'Can you pull that back?'" the actress writes in a powerful essay for ELLE

By Kaitlyn Frey
February 11, 2021 05:49 PM
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Credit: ABC Photo Archives/Getty

Tia Mowry is opening up about discrimination she's faced over her hair.

From her adolescent years starring alongside her twin Tamera on the hit '90s TV series, Sister, Sister, to adulthood, the actress admits it took time to fully appreciate and love her coily curls.

"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,'" Mowry remembers in an essay penned for ELLE's State of Black Beauty package.

While she got compliments for her curls as a child, in her teen years on Sister, Sister, Mowry began feeling pressure to straighten her hair. "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 said, noting that the times she flat ironed her hair "damaged my natural curls."

Credit: ABC Photo Archives/Getty

Mowry soon started to become insecure with her natural hair. "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.' But I thank God that my mom told us, '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,'" she said. "I believe that's what saved us from falling into the pit of childhood stardom."

When Mowry got older and noticed other Black women celebrating their beauty on social media platforms like Instagram, she was inspired to do the same. "It ignited a fire in me. That led me to do my first big chop because I was ready to embrace and celebrate who I am and what my beauty is. I've been having that wonderful love affair ever since," she told ELLE.

At the beginning of quarantine in April 2020, Mowry went all-natural on Instagram as she embraced her textured coils, gray hair and makeup-free skin in a gorgeous selfie.

"It's been me and my #fro as of late. 👊🏽 #natural #hair #curlyhair #nofilter #nomakeup #me," Tia captioned the beautiful photo which showed her glowing complexion and few pieces of gray roots growing into her curls.

She even ended up giving husband Cory Hardict's hair a little trim while he was unable to visit his barber amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"You guys, I cut @coryhardrict hair," Mowry said. "He told me this is called the #quarantine #cut. He wanted to leave #hair on top because he didn't know how much he wanted once his actual #barber cuts his hair out of #quarantine#married #husband #wife."