Tia Mowry-Hardrict Claims Her Sister, Sister Pay 'Never Equaled' Counterparts 'Who Weren't of Diversity'
Tia Mowry-Hardrict is opening up about the adversity she faced as a biracial child star.
In PEOPLE's exclusive first look at the new episode of Tia Mowry's Quick Fix web series, provided by Kin, the actress, 42, explains some of the differences she and her twin sister Tamera Mowry-Housley noticed as children between them and their "counterparts that weren't of diversity."
"It was very evident to me when I would walk on sets and see how certain stars or actors would be treated who weren’t of ethnicity — better dressing room, better trailer," Mowry-Hardrict recalls. "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."
"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 says. "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," she claims, "and that was frustrating. Very, very frustrating."
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She praised the beloved '90s sitcom, though, for advocating for her and her sister to wear their natural, curly hair on screen, adding that Sister, Sister and her current Netflix show Family Reunion have been the only two projects to give her that encouragement.
"When I was doing Sister, Sister, I had curly hair and what was interesting was once my sister and I got older and we wanted to be viewed as 'sexy,' we would straighten our hair," Mowry-Hardrict shares. "I went on to do so many other television shows and I would always wear my hair straight because I was insecure about my curly hair. These insecurities came because I didn’t see these images, meaning women with curly hair and their natural hair, being portrayed as beautiful.”
Mowry-Hardrict further reveals that her sister even got told once on an audition that her curly hair "was a distraction.”
The former Tia Mowry at Home host shared her own struggles with the audition process as well. "I've been told I'm not Black enough, which was very odd and weird to me," she remembers. " '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."
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Everything Mowry-Hardrict dealt with early in her career, she says, ultimately helped build her strong drive.
"How I was treated is why I built my work ethic," Mowry-Hardrict asserts. "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 I would be where I am today, which is a hard freaking worker. Because guess what? It's hard to outwork someone."
Speaking with PEOPLE in October, Mowry-Housley reflected on Sister, Sister's legacy.
"I feel it's kind of surreal because in my mind I still remember it, like day one," said Mowry-Housley, 42. "I still remember the buzz and the excitement that Sister, Sister brought."
"[I can still remember] my first day of that table reading and me saying, 'That girl has my face,' " she said. "I remember being on TGIF."
Now, two decades since the show first premiered in 1994, Mowry-Housley said it is amazing to see Sister, Sister — which hit Netflix in September — inspire and entertain a whole new generation of viewers.
"To see the younger generation loving it just as much as our generation did, it's really cool to relive that moment," she said. "I think in a way [we're] experiencing why something becomes a classic."
Tia's Mowry Quick Fix airs Fridays on Kin Network across YouTube and Facebook Watch.
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