Tia Mowry is getting personal in a new interview with Elle, detailing what she describes as a “pivotal moment” in her hit 1990s sitcom “Sister, Sister”, and for her personally.

As Mowry explains, she and sister Tamera Mowry found themselves in the position of reflecting beauty standards for Black women during that era.

“When we were younger, it was wonderful being able to wear our natural hair. People were always like, ‘Oh, you’re so cute. We love your curls,'” she recalls “But as we went into adulthood — you could see that when we became teenagers in the show, we ended up straightening our hair. It was such a pivotal moment in the series because it was also a reflection of what was being pushed as ‘beautiful’ in society.”

Straightening her hair, she explains, “damaged my hair and it damaged my natural curls. Again, there were those insecurities. 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.'”

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She also reflects on the painful and eye-opening time that she and her sister couldn’t get booked for a “popular teen magazine” because, their publicist told them, the issue “would not sell” if they were on the cover.

“We didn’t understand that we were experiencing all of this kickback,” she continues. “You know that children’s rhyme, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never hurt me?’ I’m not a fan of that, because what that rejection did was create a lot of insecurity. This magazine was a very popular teen magazine that had fashion, beauty, and was known for spotlighting what they thought was beautiful and what they thought was popular and hot at that time.”

The whole experience, she remembers, “made us feel like we weren’t valuable in that space. Like we weren’t valuable at all.”

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It was the powerful words of her mother, she says, that put things in perspective for the sisters. ‘’Do not allow this business to define you,” she told the girls. “Do not allow this business to define your happiness. Do not allow this business to define your value.”

Mowry concludes by offering words of inspiration for today’s generation of young Black girls. “If you’re the only Black girl in your class, don’t be ashamed of wearing your natural locks or your braids,” she says. “This is something to celebrate. It’s history. It’s beautiful. If you are seeing us on ‘Sister, Sister’ with curly hair, we hope you see you. We hope you feel empowered. We hope you go out and move mountains.”