A Chat With Tamera Mowry – Housley
We were all introduced to them through the hit Tv Sitcom “Sister Sister” which ran for six seasons.
We have literally seen them grow up right in front of our eyes into sophisticated and successful young women. I have been a fan from day one and fell inlove with them even more recently when I started watching their reality show which has currently begun airing in South Africa on “The Style Network”.
It has become Style’s highest rated show in America.
It was with great excitement when I found out that I would get the chance to interview the other half of the unstoppable “Tia and Tamera” identical twins duo; Tamera Mowry-Housley.
Who was in the country to promote the launch of the show in South Africa.
Before I got to meet Tamera at the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, I was little bit nervous, both girls seem so love-able and real on TV and there’s nothing worst than meeting someone you idolize only to find that their public persona is just that, “a public persona” and in real life the person is completely opposite.
Need I remind everyone of how a certain Ms. KK who was married for 72 days disappointed fans with her diva attitude when she was in South Africa last year, but on her reality show appears to seem so sweet.
I have a saying that goes; “Sometimes in life it’s best to never meet your heroes”.
Tamera was running a little bit late for our interview and I had to wait awhile before actually meeting her and immediately I started panicking; “Oh no! one of those typical Hollywood types, this interview might turn out to be very awkward” but let me not complain, because the DSTV team treated us well and to a beautiful lunch. So the wait was not that exasperating.
Eventually Mrs. Mowry-Housley came through with her small team and the minute I met her, all anxiety about her being a “Hollywood-type” flew out the window. I have never met a warmer funny and down to earth being.
What I liked and impressed me about Tamera is that before the interview started. She asked me where am I from? How long have I been in Joburg? Etc. and she was asking with genuine interest and not with the sense of making small talk. This just blew me away
If I adored her before, I adore her ten times more. It emphasized even more how much of “REAL-ness” is in their Reality show because the beautiful person that resonates on screen, shines even more when you meet her in person.
Here’s how my chat with Tamera went down.
Zamani: The reality show, how did it start? Whose concept was it
Tamera: My sister and I have our own production company together. We produced a television film called; “Double Wedding”.
Zamani: Double Wedding, yes I have seen it.
Tamera: (excitedly) You know it? Oh my God this is so cool. Ok ok (nodding). And then we did the reality show, It was actually Tia’s idea. Because Tia loves reality shows, she watches all the Housewives shows. I particularly don’t like those kind of reality shows, I like shows like Heidi
Klum’s reality show. Reality shows are becoming so huge, and she was like; “ I think we should do one”. Because a lot of people had been asking us for years to do one. I was a bit hesitant because I’d like to describe myself as the more private one but she (Tia) was very confident that people would love it, and its something we should do. And also it was the right timing because she was pregnant and I was getting married so we thought perfect timing and with our fans really wanting us to do it, It would be a recipe for success.
Zamani: And it is a success! I enjoyed it very much
Tamera: Thank you. (giggles)
Zamani: Are you enjoying the experience? Don’t the cameras get in the way at times?
Tamera: If I were to be completely honest, at first it was pretty hard because it’s a… invasive. They (cameras) are right there all the time and we shot for four months straight and almost maybe 12 to 16 hours a day of shooting. So you have these cameras in front of you. I’m going through stress with planning my wedding. Tia’s hormonal throughout her pregnancy, It was a little bit stressful in the beginning, but after awhile you kind of forget that the cameras are there. In the beginning we kind of tip-toed around certain circumstances, she didn’t want to say certain things, I also didn’t want to say certain stuff, because you know how you always want to put you best foot forward but that doesn’t make great reality Tv, People are not going to relate.
So you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable nd once we did that it became easier, ironically.
Zamani: The rest of your family, your parents your brothers are not in the show, how come?
Tamera: No, they are not because my mom is extremely private, she actually didn’t even us to do the show at first. She was just protecting us. Because she’s protected us throughout all these years. But now since we can make decision on our own, we were like ok its time now and my brother is like no I don’t want to be a part of it. (jokingly imitating her brother) “I am Thaj, I don’t wanna be connected to you two” and I completely understand that.
Zamani: And then the significant others, your husbands. Was it easy convincing themOr was it difficult?
Tamera: Ummm it wasn’t difficult and it wasn’t easy. (laughs). Basically they were just supportive. If we had asked them both individually to do a reality show just by themselves, they would have said; “No way, you can’t pay me enough to do a reality show” but they wanted to be supportive and you kind of see both of our husbands in the show kinda like tip-toeing and peeking through here and there.
Zamani: In the show you touch on the “online” racial attacks you and your husband. Were subjected to? How difficult is it being part of a multi-racial couple?
Tamera: Honestly growing up because my mother (black) is from the Bahamas and my father’s side (white) is from England. Growing up we never saw colour, We Just never did so we based who someone was on their personality and how they treated you. I always tell people that I never realized that my father was white until I was in Junior High. Well you know, not like really…
Zamani: I get you.
Tamera: I didn’t know that it was different, until a girl came up to me and said; “Your father’s white?” And I’m like; “Oh yeah, he is. So?” but you know, being married to a white man, I again just never saw colour. I dated everybody from the rainbow, I even dated an Ethiopian. That was actually my first boyfriend, I’ve dated Cuban, Asian so I just happened to marry a white man.
So when our pictures got leaked, our engagement pictures, I saw these comments on a blog, it was actually one particular blog that had all these racial comments. I was like, this still exists? (gasps) It is ridiculous that this still exists in this day and age. We really need to get over that.
Zamani: You mentioned earlier that you and your sister run your own company, Do you find that it’s more challenging as black women in Hollywood running your own company?
Tamera: It’s not hard because we have amazing people that have kind of mentored us. Mara Brock Akil who’s one of the producers on “The Game” (Tia’s hit sitcom). She was an amazing force in Tia’s life and she’s kind of helped the both of us through Tia and Tia also has this amazing friend called Tracy, She’s the head of television development on “The CW” (US Tv Network).
So we’ve had mentors, and now that Tia and I have each other we are like; if you say no, that doesn’t mean we are not gonna do it.
We are going to keep trying; Tia and I have always had to prove ourselves ever since we were young, so it doesn’t stop us. We are still gonna go for our dreams.
Zamani: What sort of stuff are you going to produce in the future?
Tamera: We would love to do another film together, people love seeing us together.
Zamani: We do!
Tamera: Awww thank you! “Double Wedding” was such a hit, “Seventeen Again” was great, we did two “Twitches” movies. So now we are thinking of something a little bit more creative, something that would surprise you guys, maybe something really really dramatic, we’d love to do that.
We also wanna produce other things, maybe other shows that we don’t necessarily have to be in . I love to produce and my sister does as well, so you’ll definitely see us doing more of that in the future and creating more roles for the black community and women of colour.
Zamani: In an industry where most child-stars go off the rails and have difficulties adjusting from child star to adulthood, how have and you Tia managed to maintain a very clean image and what keeps you grounded?
Tamera: We have an amazing support system; my mom and my dad. We were army brats, my mom was a drill sergeant, and my father was also a sergeant. So there was a lot of discipline in our household.
When we were younger I didn’t appreciate it, but now I do but one of the main things is, they really didn’t care about the celebrity aspect of our lives. They are proud of our success and what we have achieved. But this doesn’t define who we are as people. So they made sure that, if for example we were on the cover of a magazine, they’d be like “Great, It’s awesome, but I’m only going to tell you once, that it’s awesome. You are not better than anyone else”.
This is exactly what my mom would tell us; “This is just a job, this job doesn’t define who you are. Your characteristics define who you are” and still to this day they keep us accountable for it, and that’s the reason why and God, we have a very strong relationship with God.
When you have someone that keeps you in check that way and holds you accountable for it. It’s the reason why we remain grounded. So I thank our parents, our husbands our friends and God.
Zamani: What a lot of people don’t know or tend to forget is that you ,Tia and your brother Thaj are very musical.
Tamera: Yes! (giggles) You did your homework
Zamani: In a couple of episodes of “Sister Sister” you covered Mary.J Blige, The Supremes.
Zamani: And in the 2002 movie; “Something To Sing About” you had a solo.
Tamera: Yes! I can’t believe you know that.
Zamani: Why have we not had a Tamera or Tia song on the charts somewhere?
Tamera: Ok, that’s a really good question and no one has really asked us that. Ummm… We tried and the lifestyle is just something that I don’t know I can deal with. You travel a lot, musicians live in their tour bus.
We love our family, we love being home. But I might do a Christmas CD maybe. I think that would be great.
Zamani: Or maybe in one of the movies have a soundtrack.
Tamera: Yes! That’s smart! Maybe we’ll do that, because I really love to sing.
Zamani: When Tia first started out starring in “The Game”, I remember her saying in an interview that both of you had decided that you will have nothing to do with “The Game” because you both wanted to establish yourselves independently. Now that has changed, since you’ll be guest- starring on the show soon.
Tamera: Well… (laughs) we weren’t supposed to put that out there, and we got in trouble, I think. Because I haven’t heard anything else from them. I don’t know if I’m going to be starring in it anymore. They told us that I was gonna be starring in it, maybe just one episode because we were very particular about me keeping what I’m doing separate and what Tia’s doing separate.
I think one of their concerns is keeping this brand (Tia and Tamera Brand) separate from that brand (The Game) and that’s rightfully so. I guess we’ll just keep on doing our movies together. So the guest-role on “The Game” might happen or might not happen, it just has not happened, yet.
Zamani: What does the future hold for Tamera? Any future projects? Movies etc?
Tamera: Future projects… I have had a couple offers and maybe to do a play. And also to do a show with one of the guest-stars from “Sister Sister”, but I can’t really say much about that now. My sister and I are really particular about what we do, so I wanna make sure if it’s the right next move.
You’ll definitely see us producing a lot more and lot of our fans have been saying they want us to brand some things, whether that’s Clothes or jewelry. So I can tell you a hundred percent that we’ll be doing that but we want to make sure that the timing is right, we want to make sure that we hear from our fans. We want to make sure if it’s the right thing for our fans. Because a lot of people have been telling us we want something we can have, something tangible, we don’t only want to see you on Tv. So you never know, we just want to make it right for our fans.
Zamani: And now you guys have been nominated for a “People’s Choice Award”, How do you feel about that?
Tamera: (Excitedly) People’s Choice Award! I know. Honestly we are so very very excited. I would have never thought that the show would be as successful as it is. And now to be nominated for a “People’s Choice Award”, all it does is confirm how much people love seeing us together.
Zamani: We do! I can honestly say that I hardly watch reality shows, but I really love Yours, it’s authentic. So congratulations on a job well done.
Tamera: Thank you! We hear that a lot, thank you. I can speak for my sister as well, we really appreciate that, We appreciate everyone following us since we were… (laughs) Oh geez I’ll be saying my age. Since we were fourteen doing “Sister Sister”. So we really appreciate our fans’ supporting everything that we do.
Zamani: And has season two started shooting?
Tamera: Yes, I shot in Cape Town a little bit. I don’t know if you’ve seen the pilot of “Tia and Tamera” with my cousin Jerome.
Zamani: Yes, the one where Tia was setting you up on blind dates?
Tamera: Yes, well my husband and my cousin Jerome we were in Cape Town for a little bit and “Style” captured some of that and it’s just been amazing! I love! I LOVE South Africa. You guys are just genuinely so nice. The food is great, the scenery… The sharks not so much (laughs).
Zamani: It’s been lovely chatting to you Tamera, you are lovely.
Tamera: Thank you! And so are you.
And that’s how my chat with Tamera went, I cannot emphasize how lovely this young woman is. A breath of fresh air. She later made my day when I got home and found not only had she followed me on Twitter, but had also tweeted that I did an excellent job. I wish the “Mowry Twins” all the best and pray that they continue to persevere in their careers.