Tamera Mowry recently credited her mother for teaching her and her sister Tia to know their worth in a biased entertainment industry.
In a new interview with Essence, Mowry spoke from her new position as celebrity ambassador for MARS and their #HearToBeHeard campaign, which is compiling answers from women on “what needs to change so women can reach their full potential?” as part of a global survey.
In connection to MARS’ message of female equality and empowerment, Mowry shared her experiences in struggling to achieve equal treatment in Hollywood, particularly when it came it pay discrimination. Fortunately, she and twin her Tia Mowry could count on their mother Darlene, who helped them navigate the complicated waters of advocating for fair compensation when they were both child stars.
“We were 18 or 19 and she had done her research and she realized there were certain people in the entertainment business that were making more money and she knew that my sister and I, we were putting in the time, putting in the work, but not only that, we had success.”
It was beneficial for the TV stars to have someone around to support and encourage them, as Mowry-Hardrict realized early on how challenging their circumstances would be.
On a November episode of her web series, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, she talked about the discrimination they faced in their career.
“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 said.
“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, and that was frustrating. Very, very frustrating.”
For Tia Mowry the bias against actors of color was clear when she witnessed how much effort their projects received when compared against non-diverse shows.
“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,” she explained. “Now I’m 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.’”
However, despite the obstacles, the sisters’ mother was always present as their biggest supporter and took the initiative to question why her daughters were not getting pay equal to that of their peers.
Tamera said she motivated them to stand up for themselves and speak out against inequality, no matter the consequences.
She said her mother told them, “This might be a little nerve-wracking, it might cause anxiety, but if you don’t fight for what’s right, you don’t fight for what you believe in, take that risk, you’ll never know.”
Tamera added, “She believed in us. And by her believing in us, we saw that strength and we believed in ourselves. And my sister and I became, at one point, one of the highest-paid actresses on a pre-teen family show, and it started with my mom and us knowing our worth and, again, vocalizing what we believe is right.”