Ladies, take note: Tia Mowry may have the remedy to all of your love woes. The actress has a small but memorable role in this month’s Baggage Claim that’ll leave you wanting for more. But it’s her advice on landing your Mr. Right that will have you begging her to draft a how-to book.
Mowry’s been married to actor Cory Hardict since 2008, but they’ve been together far longer, meeting as undergrads at Pepperdine University. Her twin, Tamera Mowry-Housley, recently revealed on their super popular reality series Tia & Tamera that she was 28 before losing her virginity to husband, Adam. In the same episode, Tamera shared that she and Cory dated for years before doing the do.
And there’s more: Cory had to wait a year before she even kissed him. But the kicker is, he waited for that kiss. EBONY.com chats with Tia about her career, her next move and her key to living happily ever after.
EBONY: Hollywood has allowed you to have a nice progression: from Full House to Sister Sister to The Game, and now this new role as a stepmom for the Nickelodeon series and as a married temptress in Baggage Claim. What’s the secret?
Tia Mowry: The backstory behind that is basically just doing anything that I’m passionate about. I think where there is variance there comes passion. I absolutely love being a mom and I was very thrilled and excited to be able to play a mom. In Instant Mom, she is a stepmom, but she’s a mom to three adorable kids, and I am so enjoying this time right now playing a stepmom for the show. It reminds me of the Cosbys in the sense that it’s a classic family sitcom, four cameras, and it’s comedy. But we have a contemporary take on it because it’s a show about a blended family.
I always want to tap into my fears. If I’m fearful of doing something or if it’s a challenge, I like to take on that challenge. I think I’ve become that way because of my life. Everything’s been a challenge. Everybody doesn’t know that, because they just see the end result, but Sister Sister was a challenge. The show hadn’t gotten picked up, and then all of a sudden at the last minute they put it on the air. Then with The Game, I had to work really, really hard convincing the executive producers that I was no longer a child star. I am an adult who can take on adult storylines and I am capable.
With Baggage Claim, that’s what that was. I chose this role because it was something that people wouldn’t necessarily think that they would see me do. I like going out of cast; I like heading in the complete opposite direction where it’s not so predictable.
EBONY: Because of the reality show, we know so much more about you and you sister, Tamera. Do you carry that on a soundstage?
TM: I want people to be able to see me as a drama queen, that I’m one way in real life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t bring this to a certain character if I’m not that way. I hope that people see me more as an actress who is capable of taking on so many different roles despite who she is in her personal life.
EBONY: You and Cory seem very happy. What advice do you have for single women?
TM: I think you should focus on not having the relationship define who you are or a man to define who you are. So if you’re careful and cautious about that going into a relationship, I think it’s going to be a healthy relationship. And I think at the end of the day, it starts with you. It starts with looking within and loving who you are, knowing who you are first, knowing who you are as a person. And then once you are solid within that—and we’re constantly learning—but once you have some foundation of who you are as a person, you’re not looking for anything or any man to solidify you at all.
I think the advice that I would give for single women is, we all have this kind of Prince Charming that we envision, but nobody is perfect. I always hear about someone who has pages and pages of qualifications in a man. Well, if you’re not realistic, you’re always going to just be dissatisfied.
The other thing is, everybody has baggage. Like every car, there’s always something in the trunk, always. It’s just whether or not we can handle this person’s baggage. So if this person has baggage, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to lose hope. I think once we become aware of what kind of baggage we can handle, I think that becomes helpful. I think it makes it clear.
The last thing is, understand what love is. Be patient and kind and have unconditional love towards yourself.
EBONY: I read that you waited a year to kiss your husband when you first started dating. How on earth did that work?
TM: My husband and I, we were friends for a whole year before we decided to start dating. And even once we started dating, we waited. I lost my virginity at 25. So we even waited for a while to even get intimate. This works for some people and it doesn’t work for some people and it’s OK. That’s what I mean by baggage. Know and learn and understand what baggage can you handle and what can you not handle.
I knew that I personally could not handle jumping into a relationship and getting physical and then realizing that this person can care less about me. I can’t do that. That’s what really helped Cory and I see if this was real. And my dad always taught me, “You always feel a person, who they are, in two years. In two years, you will know who that person is. Hopefully if they’re a sane, healthy person—there are some con artists out there—you learn them.”
I was coming from Sister Sister and I needed to know that this was a real relationship and see if this person really wanted to be my friend.
EBONY: All that said, will your next book be a relationship one?
TM: That would be so much fun to write a relationship book! I never even thought about that! I always try to approach the situation in a humbling way. I also want women out there to know to [not] be too hard on yourself; that’s what I meant by loving yourself. If we were to love ourselves despite all of our mistakes, then we will be able to learn how to love someone else despite all of the little things.