Tia Mowry-Hardrict is back on the small screen!
PEOPLE caught up with the actress about her new role on Netflix’s Family Reunion — a family-focused show that delves into identity topics within black families.
“It’s just really refreshing and really rewarding for me,” she tells PEOPLE about the new show. “When there is family programming, and it brings the family together, it creates memories, it creates bonds, it creates and sparks conversations, especially with this show.”
Spotlighting the show’s all-black writing room, Mowry explains that Family Reunion’s scripts are all based on real-life experiences. The show is also executive produced by Meg DeLoatch from Fuller House and directed by Eric Dean Seaton from Modern Family.
“These aren’t just ideas that are coming from people that think that this is what it’s like, these are ideas and story lines that are being told from people who’ve actually lived out the story line,” she says.
“There’s this raw, rooted, grounded authenticity, that is being portrayed in the pages and the story lines,” she adds. “We had 20 scripts, and I was so excited to read every single one of these scripts, because of the stories that were being told.”
Mowry portrays Cocoa McKellan — a free-spirited, fun mom from Seattle — as she moves into the home of M’Dear (played by Loretta Devine) and copes with living in a traditional, extended family household in Georgia.
Cocoa’s onscreen experiences mirror Mowry’s own life.
“[Cocoa] is now being a part of this very traditional family, where there are those gospel roots, which is how I grew up,” she says. “As I got older, I started to have my own views and my own way of raising my family. And it’s very much like the way Cocoa is. I’m very used to the banter that I’m having with Loretta Devine’s character when we’re talking about parenting styles where she’s very traditional, and, and I’m very non-traditional.”
“The church and the gospel has always been the pillar of the culture. And a lot of the time it’s not told or executed in a family program,” she added. “We have had some of it in movies, but to have it being executed from this perspective, it’s so authentic.”
“The root of it all is love and I think that’s just what’s so beautiful about this family dynamic,” she says about the new show. “And then at the same time, we’re really bringing a lot of authenticities when it comes to being black and growing up black.”
About working with Devine, Mowry has nothing but praise for the Grey’s Anatomy star.
“I am so in love with her,” she says about the 69-year-old. “She just does something to my soul. She is an amazing, beautiful person. And not only that, she is a talent force. I come to work every day with gratitude to just be in her presence because learning from her and just acting with her has made me not only better at my craft, but a better person.”
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“We’re on hiatus and I told her, ‘Loretta, even though I’m not going to be seeing you at work every day, I will be bothering you,’” she laughed. “I said, ‘I will be texting you.’ And that’s what I do: I just text her. I check in with her all the time.”
With her own family, Mowry maintains a close relationship with her sister Tamera and kids Aden John, 6, and Ariah Talea, 4. The Sister, Sister sisters are planning to take their families out on a vacation together.
“Our kids are getting older, we’re getting older,” she says. “We value family so much so whenever things kind of slow down, our priorities are just to get everybody together to have a great time.”
Family Reunion is set to premiere on Netflix on July 10.