Sister Sister’s Tia Mowry Was Told Her Curls Growing Up Were “Distracting,” and It’s Not OK

Everett Collection / Paramount Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

We watched Tia and Tamera Mowry grow up over the course of six seasons on Sister, Sister, starting in 1994. Like any good sitcom, the show seamlessly wove together comedy with a handful of serious topics and mirrored everyday life situations so closely that we often felt like we were watching someone’s real life play out on TV. And in a way, we were. In addition to your normal teenage stuff, like stressing over love interests and school, Tia and Tamara were feeling the pressure of society’s beauty standards behind the scenes.

In a recent interview with Elle, Tia Mowry opened up about the twins’ decision to straighten their hair in the later seasons of the show. Having previously worn their natural curls on screen, viewers might have assumed the girls just wanted try out a new style . . . but that wasn’t entirely the case.

“When we were younger, it was wonderful being able to wear our natural hair,” Mowry said. “People were always like, ‘Oh, you’re so cute. We love your curls.'” Then, as they entered adulthood, they started to feel pressure to straighten their hair to fit in with what was deemed “beautiful” in Hollywood. “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,'” she said.

Luckily, they had their mom’s unwavering support to help lift them up. “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,'” said Mowry. “I believe that’s what saved us from falling into the pit of childhood stardom.”

Mowry’s confession about feeling pressured to straighten her hair in Sister, Sister comes less than a month after High School Musical‘s Monique Coleman explained the reason her character always wore a headband in the films was that the hairstylist on set didn’t know how to do Black hair. Both circumstances, while very different, tie back to the widespread issue of a lack of appreciation, acknowledgment, understanding of Black hair that extends beyond just the entertainment industry.

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