Tia Mowry: Lady of the Hour

Tia Mowry’s voice, crisp and vibrant, echoes through the room as she takes time to introduce herself to everyone who stands before her. She is smiling from ear to ear, and her signature golden skin and sparkling mocha eyes have not changed since she and her identical twin sister Tamara first appeared on the WB sitcom, Sister, Sister, back in 1994. Although her physicality remains untouched, Tia’s personal life has seen dramatic changes, the most central being her pregnancy and the birth of her son Cree (meaning: warrior), an experience she documents in her new book, “Oh Baby,” which hits shelves this May. “I want to share my experience because I feel like there aren’t a lot of people out there who will tell you what it’s really like to be pregnant. The book is [written] from a realistic perspective. I wanted to share my joys, tears—all the funky, crazy stuff that happens during pregnancy. When I was pregnant I was writing a journal, and this is basically my journal. Everything is extremely genuine. It’s written as if you were talking to your girlfriend.”

Tia and Tamera’s reality show, appropriately titled Tia & Tamera, was picked up by the Style Network in 2010. “My sister and I are very open to sharing the good things about sisterhood, and the bad things like sibling rivalry, which is very real.” Watching the show, it’s hard not to feel like “Tia and Tamera” is the same person. Tia makes it clear that the two have very different, often contrasting personalities. “My sister and I are different, and I think that’s what makes us work. Even our husbands are very different. Tamara would never date a guy like my husband, and I wouldn’t go for someone like her husband. She is very traditional, yet she is spontaneous, and I’m very structured. What’s really cool about our personalities is that sometimes you need a little bit of spontaneity in your life, and sometimes you need structure. I help her out and she helps me out.”

Overflowing with contagious positivity, Tia’s humble spirit is a far cry from that of Hollywood’s archetypal celeb-reality star. The philosophy of the show is one of cordiality. “We saw that our fans are very loyal. It’s crazy how we’ve kept our fan-base from Sister, Sister. We wanted to give back to them because they are the reasons why we are where we are today. We wanted to give them a chance to see what happens behind the scenes.“ Tia & Tamera does not subscribe to the smoke, mirrors and staged debauchery of your run-of-the mill evening reality shows. It’s an intimate documentary of their lives, capturing major life transformations, including the disquieting moments of Tia’s pregnancy. “One of the scariest moments of my pregnancy was when my doctor told me I was low on amniotic fluid. When you hear you’re low on amniotic fluid, you get scared because the amniotic fluid indicates that your child’s kidneys are functioning. So when I heard about it being low, I was like ‘Oh my god, is there something wrong with the baby?’” Filming a reality show is the last thing most women would want to do during pregnancy. “At first I was very hesitant about it because I knew everyone was going to see me gain 60lbs,” Tia states of her initial reluctance, “But then I thought I’m going to be able to go back and show my son how mommy was when he was in her belly; I think he’s really going to enjoy that.”

For Tia, the security of her family unit takes precedence. She is particularly protective of one aspect of her life, and reasonably so. “The only thing I’m very private about is my relationship with my husband. It’s a part of my life that’s so dear to me; I just want to keep it private. He isn’t on the show very much, and that’s by choice. It seems like people who do reality shows with their [spouses] always end up in divorces. I want to stay married.” When she speaks of her son, Tia glows with bliss. “[Before] my son came along, I thought I knew what love was. I never knew what unconditional love was, but now I understand.” Cree’s birth has given Tia a new perception of life. “My son makes this world a magical place. A tree is not just a tree to me anymore; a beach is not just a beach. Seeing the world through his eyes just makes everything old seem so new to me. He is teaching me to stop and smell the roses. I can be a bit of a workaholic, but he teaches me that it isn’t all about that. Enjoying what else the world has to offer is [just as] rewarding - maybe even more rewarding.”

Though Tia knows the ups and downs of Young Hollywood, she has no plans of preventing Cree from pursuing a career in entertainment. “If I were to say he couldn’t do it, I would be a hypocrite. This is what his parent’s do and this is how our family makes money; this is our lifestyle. I definitely don’t want to be that parent who forces him to do something that he doesn’t love doing.” One thing she does stand her ground on is education. “He can do whatever he wants as long as he has a college education. College is not all about figuring out what [career] you want to pursue, but it [contributes to] how you are shaped as an individual. College was very important in my life, and I want to share that with him.”

When asked about her secret to maintaining a successful career, Tia refers to what she feels is the most important virtue for making it in the industry. “In this business, [people] try to be who they think they should be. There is no longevity in that. Stay true to who you are.”

You can see more of this issue for free online at Issuu.com!

Interviewed by Ashley Symone Lee

Photographed by Diana King Styled by Zoe Costello Makeup by Autumn Moultrie (Exclusive Artists) Hair by Karim Odoms (Margaret Maldonado) Production Assistant: Alex Levine

We're giving away three autographed copies of our new May issue to three different winners!

Guidelines: - You must be 18 and a resident of the United States - You must be on Twitter and following both Tia Mowry and Zooey Magazine - Tweet Zooey Magazine and Tia Mowry, along with this hashtag: #TiaZooey - Leave a comment here stating why you love Tia

Deadline: May 24, 2012

Good luck!