If you’re here, you probably have found a reason or two for loving Tia Mowry-Hardrict. For many of us, we’ve grown up with her. From her early days alongside her sister, Tamera, on the genre-defining sitcom Sister, Sister to being the matriarch of a family of her own on Netflix’s Family Reunion, Mowry-Hardrict continues to be someone we can look up to. As her empire grows—one that now includes her very own cookbook, several brand partnerships and a home decor line—she never misses an opportunity to be an advocate for us all. Her latest venture is one with skincare brand Aveeno for their #SkinVisibility campaign.
October is Eczema Awareness Month and both Mowry-Hardrict and Aveeno hope to shed light on a growing sector of the Black community who find themselves suffering from the skin condition and finding very little resources to aid in relief. Tia, who, alongside her children, suffers from eczema herself, is stepping out to arm us with the information we need to reduce flareups and force the skincare industry to consider how lack of inclusion in marketing and product development can leave us out in the cold.
We caught up with the ever busy actress, mom and businesswoman to talk about what it means to have visibility for Black skin in the skincare space and how Aveeno is hoping to help.
Iman N. Milner: You’re someone who has been in the public eye for quite some time. I mean you were literally representation for many of us, how have you changed since we first met you?
Tia Mowry-Hardrict: I am more confident as a woman in my 40s now and I am definitely more comfortable in my skin. I am not looking for affirmation or justification from anybody else. I’ve learned throughout the years that my own happiness comes from within and from myself. I feel like I am definitely a more well-rounded and grateful person because of that. I am still a go-getter, though. Just because you’re older or a mom, that you have to give up your aspirations. The biggest blessing that we all have is life, that we are here. I never take that for granted. I know that people are watching, the people I truly love, dearly: my children. And I want to be a great example for them.
IM: Being in front of the camera, especially during those puberty years…
TMH: Girl, those teenage years!
IM: Right, I am sure those days were tough. Did you always feel like the products or even the professionals who could tell you what you needed, were readily available to you?
TMH: No. And that’s what’s so amazing about this skin visibility campaign with Aveeno. We are talking about the under diagnosis of care and treatment when it comes to eczema on Black skin. As well as putting a spotlight on the inequities when it comes to Black skin health from marketing to advertising and producsts, themselves. Including us in those conversations has to be intentional. Yes, things are getting better in that regard but it was very difficult to find the right things for my skin especially in my own struggles with eczema. There was a lack of information out there about what could contribute to flareups, I was in that percentage of people who had an under diagnosis. I thank God for products like the ones Aveeno has because those were the only ones I could readily find that were specifically made for my issues.
IM: Most of us who had trouble finding products for our specific skin needs spent a lot of time using things around the house to help. Did you grow up with any remedies for eczema?
TMH: My mother was a huge fan of olive oil and coconut oil, so that was definitely something that we used on our skin to keep it very moisturized. Oatmeal, which Aveeno puts in their eczema driven products, is a huge help for eczema sufferers.
IM: What can we expect from this initiative?
TMH: As I said earlier, I was part of that percentage of people who were severely underdiagnosed when it came to eczema—also my children suffer from it—so, I am very excited to partner because these are products I actually use to give us relief. Black skin is way more sensitive than we all know. We are wanting to bring awareness to this topic so that people can get what they need to feel better in their skin. What’s really amazing is that there will be educational tools, resources and product access to the thousands of eczema sufferers over the next six months. I will be talking with Sabrina Henry, who is a Black scientist at Aveeno, about my eczema journey as well as the inequities we face when it comes to finding things, even as small as images for reference, that can help us identify our skin issues. There will also be a website component, a digital hub, called “Eczema on Skin of Color” where people can go directly to find more resources.