"I'm Finally Able To Own My Dating Experience — Because It Was Not Fun" — Tamera Mowry-Housley Opened Up About Her New Memoir, Being A Child-Star, And More

    "Most of the time, as an actress, you're at the hands of other writers and producers and studios, so you have to fit into the character or the role that they want. So it's very special when you're able to do that yourself."

    Tamera Mowry-Housley is known for her role as Tamera Campbell on ABC's Sister, Sister, where she played a young teen reunited with her twin, as well as starring in Disney's Twitches and Twitches Too. Tamera joined The Real as a co-host in 2013 and would eventually depart the show in 2020. These days, Tamera enjoys filming Hallmark movies and spending time with her family, two of the things she touched on when we had a chance to chat about her most recent book, You Should Sit Down for This: A Memoir about Wine, Life, and Cookies out now.

    Farrah Penn: What made you want to write a memoir, and why now?

    Tamera Mowry-Housely: The thought of writing a book didn't become a reality until I did the show, The Real. I was so used to acting out other people's words, being an actress, because that's what we did. It wasn't until [the show] that I realized — wow, I actually do have a voice. My voice is powerful, and there was an audience that truly wanted to hear my opinions, to hear about my experiences and what I learned throughout the years. That was a wake-up call for me to just push through the fear and move forth with vulnerability.

    It wasn't until the pandemic that I finally made the decision to write this book. I was like, I'm 42. I've lived some life. And now I have something to say. I have something that I want to share with the world. I wanted to control the narrative. I wanted to be 100% myself.

    FP: While you were discussing your time on The Real in your book, you said that you didn't feel like you had control over your narrative. That strangers were creating the storyline for you in your life.

    TMH: That was something that I was never prepared for. I am, by all means, not a perfect individual. We all make mistakes in life. I learned I have no control over [what people say.] And I love people, genuinely. But I thought maybe I could have a normal conversation and say, Why would you even think this way? Or where are you getting this information from? It's so not true. But I had to learn to kind of let that go.

    I could have done two things: I could have either ran left or right. Left was just hiding in a corner and letting people define who I am, letting those opinions define who I am. Or I could throw it away and let the experience make me stronger. And now I've learned that it's not personal. People are going to talk. It's the nature of human beings. But do I have to let that within my spirit? Absolutely not. So I learned to set boundaries and focus on the people that love me and who are there for me. What I've learned is that I can only speak my truth. And I'm not in control of how people perceive it.

    FP: There is one chapter where you talk about your start in this industry. You wrote that Irene had asked you and your sister about what kind of shows you wanted to watch. And that's how the idea of Sister, Sister was born — you pitched the rough concept. How did it feel to have such a big impact on the show's creation?

    TMH: I never thought in that moment that my sister and I were little producers in the making. Here was this woman who actually gave us a chance to speak on the things that we liked — and what we wanted to watch. And if we liked and wanted to watch something like this, maybe kids our age would be interested in it as well.

    And that's exactly what happened. And because of that, I have produced three Hallmark films. And I'm still working and pitching other movies and sitcoms. I'll never stop doing that. Honestly, in this business, sometimes you have to write things for yourself. You have to produce and think of things for yourself. Because most of the time, as an actress, you're at the hands of other writers and producers and studios, so you have to fit into the character or the role that they want. So it's very special when you're able to do that yourself.

    FP: Speaking of acting and growing up acting, it was your choice to try acting! While reading this memoir, I felt like your mom kept your family so grounded. You said in one part that she told you this won't last forever. And that had a profound effect on you. Has that feeling changed at all throughout the course of your career?

    TMH: No, I still say that this won't last forever. You gain a sense of gratefulness. I am grateful for work. I am grateful for every job I am given because actors are pretty much freelancers. We don't know where our next job is going to come from. I've learned that if you go into a project with that gratefulness, you won't think about, "Oh my gosh, what are people going to think of this?" or "Oh my gosh, are people going to like me?" You just have fun. You focus on the joy of doing what you've been blessed to do.

    FP: Another tidbit you included in the book was that, when you were younger, on the set of Full House, you and your sister were put in charge of babysitting the Olsen twins.

    TMH: Yeah, just for a moment! My brother was — I forgot what they were doing or what they had to do — but their mom was like, "Would you mind watching the girls?" And I remember we had so much fun. They loved matzah ball soup. And we just kind of babysat them for a little bit in their dressing room. And that was it!

    FP: Does anything about that experience — those moments as a child actor back then — surprise you knowing, like, what you know about the industry today?

    TMH: The one thing that I'm so grateful for is having parents that not only supported our dreams but supported our growth within the industry, making sure that our character stayed intact, making sure that this business did not define who we are as individuals.

    Our job in the entertainment business, as actors — we are always at the hands of critics telling us what they liked, a director telling us what to do. If you don't have a sense of self, it's very, very easy to go the other way. And our parents constantly reminded us that our care meant everything. You've achieved your dream, but then not only that, you have to find the balance of everybody doing things for you.

    One of my favorite things I did not talk about in the book was the catering [we received] as child stars. I mean, come on! You had all this candy. All the food you could possibly ever think of right there. You always got birthday gifts. Beautiful dressing rooms, first-class tickets to New York. You got to experience all that at a young age. And I remember we had this moment in New York when everyone started recognizing us. My mom knew I was feeling myself a bit too much, and she was like, "You know what? You both are on your little high horse right now. I will knock you down real quick." And she was in the army too, so we had that discipline. And I am so grateful for her. So grateful. Because I am who I am today because of that upbringing.

    FP: Out of everything that you tackled in this memoir, what was your favorite part to write?

    TMH: Favorite part, I would say, was dating. Just because I think it's so funny. And I'm finally able to own my dating experience — because it was not fun. Because I was so sheltered, and I learned later in life. That was fun to go back to. Also, talking about my skiing experience with my kids. Because still, to this day, I say I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to go! And of course, of course, I'm going to end up skiing.

    FP: I have to ask — what's next for you?

    TMH: I am hosting a baking show on Amazon Prime. It's called the Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge. It was so much fun! I am also in a Christmas film for Hallmark — their big Countdown to Christmas that they have every single year. I'm grateful for that. I finished shooting a film called Inventing the Christmas Prince. And Keshia Knight Pulliam directed Girlfriendship, which I'm in as well.

    You Should Sit Down For This is out now wherever books are sold.