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Tia Mowry Approaches New Horizons

Tia Mowry bursts onto the phone, a ball of positive energy. From LA, she sounds bubbly, could even be glowing. Quite possibly, the 33-year-old mommy of Cree Taylor may still be over-the-moon about becoming an auntie.

“This is the hardest secret I have had to keep! But it’s out!!!!! I am gonna be an auntie!!!!!!!!!! OMG! Cree is gonna have a cousin!” she wrote on Twitter.

Or maybe she’s hooked on the high of Oh, Baby! an advice book about pregnancy and motherhood that hit shelves earlier this month. Within the pages, Mowry tells of her own baby-carrying journey, shares tips and pinpoints the forgotten details of when women gain baby bumps—style. It’s a dream actualized for the lovable star. ”You know how you always had a vision—well writing a book was always my vision,” she explains. “I just didn’t know what kind of book I was going to write.”

Now heading out on a book promo tour, Tia anticipates an intensified schedule while joining a long list of women who have perfected the balancing act of work and home life. “I’m the type of woman that looks up to Kimora and women that do it all.”

However, the mom-slash-wife-slash-actress kicked one main entrée off her plate: BET's The Game.

The popular show about the lives of football players navigating the world of fame has clipped two of its leading roles (Pooch Hall will not return next season either), allowing the now budding entrepreneur to focus on other individual feats as well as projects with her twin sis. In the meantime, she still heavily supports the TV spot that seems to have lost some faithful followers. "It has different angles, different lighting, but if you dive into the story and look at the story and not what it looks like, it is still a great show and the show that it needs to be."

She chats with Vixen about the certainty of her post-Game future, the changes in her personal style and what's in store for this season of Tia and Tamera.–-Niki McGloster

 

Photography & Makeup: D'Andre Michael/Maldonado Agency
Hair: Karmin Odoms/Margaret Maldonado Agency
Styling: Misty Casseus


VIBE VIXEN: Congrats on your upcoming book! How did you venture into writing and this book deal?
TIA MOWRY: I’ve always wanted to write. Actually in college that’s what I kind of excelled at. I loved just putting all my thoughts together and jotting them down and basically doing research and all that kind of stuff, and I always wanted to write books. You know how you always had a vision? Well writing a book was always my vision, I just didn’t know what kind of book I was going to write.

VV: Were you surprised that your first book ended up being a baby book?
TMH: No. My mom will tell you, my sister will tell you, my brothers will tell you, I always wanted to be a mom. I love babies, I love little kids and I loved being able to talk about my pregnancy. And the experience, I loved the whole process about being a mom. I annoy my sister because she is pregnant now. Like I will call her up and be like, ‘Tamera, you have to remember this’ then she will be like, ‘Tia, every pregnancy is different.’

Sometimes I have to try to not overly override her with tips because I talk about those women in my book. Like, everyone will come up to you and tell you things you have to do but every pregnancy is different. My sister she was so sweet last night; she texted me that she was [imitates Tamera] ‘feeling so queasy and I’m going to throw up.’ I was like, ‘Okay Tamera, just suck on a lemon.’ Then also she actually read a chapter in my book on what you need for a nursery and she found those tips very helpful, so I’m thankful I can help someone with things that I had to find out on my own. And I just love helping my sister out and giving her tips! I’m just so happy that she is pregnant.

What was your favorite part about the entire writing process?
Two things: my whole process and I’m so happy I wrote it this way. I wrote it from a journalistic perspective, so I was jotting down stuff in my journal during my pregnancy because I wanted it to be authentic and from a realistic perspective and approach. You know it’s funny how you forget. In those 10 months, you really do forget your experiences—you remember them but it’s hard to relive them, so I really liked that part [of reliving them]. I also liked the tone of it. It’s how you would talk to your best friend or your girlfriend, very conversational. When you’re a mom you have so much information in your head and you want to try and figure out as much information as you can, but I didn’t want to seem like I was teaching a course in college; I didn’t want it to be like that. I wanted it to be a fun, crazy funny conversational piece.

Favorite part of the book?
My favorite chapter in the book I say would have to be the “Mama Style” chapter, because I felt that there are a lot of pregnancy books out there but a lot of them didn’t delve into style and fashion when being pregnant. My book talks about this: where you can buy different pieces online and price ranges and different kind of accessories style and informing women to embrace their body. Even with my sister, we were having a meeting the other day and she was wearing all black, and we as pregnant women tend to do that. We’re putting on a few pounds and you’re getting used to it, so it’s kind of like embrace that belly! It’s so beautiful, you won’t have it forever, put some bright beautiful color on that belly; that’s kind of what I talked about in my book.

How has your style changed since having the baby?
It’s so funny you asked me that because Tamera just told me, ‘Your style has really changed.’ My whole thing with being a mom is that you don’t want to lose your identity; you don’t want to lose who you were before. You can still be that hot, sexy mom. If anything, I like to think I’m wearing heels even more. I didn’t wear them that much until the end [of the pregnancy], so I’m now all about wearing heels. I wear a lot of vibrant, flowy, colorful clothes, before it was edgy. I’m a mom now, but when I go out, I don’t forget who I was before.


Speaking of before, you were a child star. How would you feel if Cree wanted to be in the show biz?
You know, it’s inevitable because his dad’s an actor, his mom’s an actress. I’m just telling you, I just looked at some pictures where we just did this photoshoot and he is just smiling and cheesing away in this picture [laughs], it’s great! So to deprive him of something that he really wants to do would just hurt my heart, but he has one ultimatum: he has to go to college, finish and have an education, then after that he can do whatever he wants.

We'll see more of him on the show, but what else can fans expect on this upcoming season of Tia and Tamera?
Well, what they will see different this season is how I will balance being a working mom, and I think this is what a lot of women experience. Will you always feel guilty? Yes. Will that guilt ever go away? No. It is so hard because I really find myself crying sometimes because I’m away from my son but then I have to change my perspective some. This is actually making me a better mom, because I am providing him with the best, so it’s very bittersweet; you will see me doing that.

With Tamera, you will see her kind of struggling with where her home is because her husband’s family is up in Napa and he lives in Napa. You can tell that her husband’s heart is in Napa, but where is Tamera’s? It’s something that I think a lot of women can relate to when you first get married. You don’t really see men doing much sacrificing for their wives and their jobs on where they want to live; it’s always the women that give up their lives. But with my sister, you can see the struggle and juggle.

Now, Tia and Tamera is in a totally different category of reality shows such as Basketball Wives. How do you view those type of reality shows?
I haven’t seen Basketball Wives, but I heard about it. I am a huge fan of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, but I just think that Tamera and I have a different take on these reality shows. I remember when we were pitching our show to different networks, many of them didn’t want to pick it up because they felt like we didn’t have enough conflict. My sister and I were like, ‘We aren’t those type of people,’ so it’s all about us being positive role models. People always say it’s nice to see fresh, vibrant, funny women on television, and that’s my sister and I. That’s how our career has always been and we knew we weren’t going to change who we are for the show business, so it’s kind of something that has been accepted.

How do you feel about the reactions to The Game this season and the changes that have been made?
I basically agree with them. I do think the show is different and it’s taken a new turn, but it’s not a new show. It is more from a drama perspective now and these last few episodes have been amazing. It’s almost like you are watching a mini-movie, and for the fans that watched it from the beginning, they can’t adjust well to the difference, but new fans love it because it’s a real show. I have to appreciate that these characters are real and they come from a realistic perspective. We talk about topics that a lot of people don’t want to talk about.

So what would you tell the old fans now in order for them to get on board?
Just basically get on board because these are the same characters, same writers, same producers, the only difference is that it is shot differently.

Awhile back we got to see you in a different light when you appeared in Pleasure P’s “Under” video. Can you see yourself doing more music videos?
Oh my god! If Usher asks me to be his leading lady, I would def do it. [Laughs] I say that because I love his music and I’m a huge fan of his. I love Usher’s new video to “Climax.” I think the reason I say Usher because he would try to take it from an actor’s perspective, so I think I would be a great fit.

Looking beyond the vids, what’s next?
I want to be an entrepreneur especially in the baby world and with my sister. I want to build a brand from scratch and focus on it, whether it’s building a television show for positive women of color, movies and building a brand with my ‘mommy-hood.’ I would love to do more books and continue to come out with products that inspire women to be amazing moms and give them amazing advice. But I also love to act. I like to give myself a challenge. A lot of people didn’t think I could be this character on The Game coming from Sister Sister, so now I would like to even raise that bar and try to book a drama, whether that’s me being a doctor, lawyer or cop, so that’s my next thing that I definitely want to do. I want to continue to build my brand, continue to act and build my brand as a unit with my sister.

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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A Brown Girl's Top-Down Spring Cleaning Guide

Oftentimes, the phrase “spring cleaning” is immediately associated with a weekend-long spree of knees-on-the-floor scrubbing, sorting, tossing and rearranging within one’s home, but it should be a little deeper than that. Yes, pristine living quarters are an ideal way to step from one season to the next, but that same fixer-upper dedication should also be applied to the self.

Self-care in 2019, especially for women of color, has become paramount. Audre Lorde said it best back in 1988 within the pages of A Burst Of Light: And Other Essays: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

In addition to caring for their well-being in terms of personal space, it’s also important for women of color to take care of their bodies and rejuvenate them from the top down as they would their closets before the summer sun hits. We tapped four experts in hair, skincare, fashion and fitness to offer nuggets of advice for how to spring clean their habits to get to their brightest, boldest, healthiest and happiest selves for the rest of the year.

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Hair, as told by celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen

 

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A post shared by Ursula Stephen (@ursulastephen) on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:07pm PDT

If you have shrinkage, you might as well embrace it in heat and humidity. You can't fight Mother Nature, but it's very important to invest in products that are geared towards shrinkage because they are making a lot of things for that. If you keep trying to make it be the thing that it's not, your hair's going to get depressed. You need to give it the love that it needs for what it's going through at the moment. Just like with your skin, your nails, it changes every season. It often changes every couple of years. I think it's a matter of paying attention to what your hair is doing and rolling with it. You have to grow with your hair and learn to understand it and work with it. Invest in a good diffuser. If you have shrinkage, after you pull out your twist outs or your braid outs, what you can do is, after you shake everything out, you unravel it. What the diffuser does is it helps to stretch the hair. It doesn't put direct heat on the hair. It doesn't move the hair around. That's another way of combating shrinkage. Another thing is just embracing it.

Don’t be scared to decorate and accessorize your 4C textured hair. I think accessories are a big deal. I think I've been pushing accessories for years, I've been trying to get more red carpets and now finally people are using a lot of accessories. I think it's another way to excite yourself about your 4C hair because people are going through a lot. I know girls with shrinkage, [and] I think adding accessories, headbands and scarves is a way to accessorize it and also get excited about the hair. Dress it up for the summer time.

Staple braid looks can lead to more fun, bold protective styling. If you feel like it's something you really can't deal with [shrinkage] visually, the summer time is an amazing idea to do alternative styles like braids, and weaves, and getting extension pieces to extend your top knot. You can't hack Mother Nature, so you have to figure out how to work with it. I think long, box braids are a great way [the warm up to protective styles]. If you do long ones, and you're not used to wearing long weaves or whatever, that's your segue into your long hair but it's still keeping up with your natural self. I think doing something like braids, like long braids, or crochet braids, that still gives you movement are a good way to trick your mind, or slowly getting to a different look. I think braids are a good segue into long, box braids. You always notice girls that have long weaves, they're attached to their weaves and you know they're nervous to take it out, they always go to braids. It still gives them the natural feel, but also gives care, so it feels alright.

 

Skincare, as told by aesthetic medicine specialist Dr. Barbara Sturm

 

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A post shared by Dr. Barbara Sturm (@drbarbarasturm) on Mar 4, 2019 at 8:51am PST

When seasons swap, switch it up with skincare. The misconception is that darker skin is bulletproof. The reality is the Achilles heel of darker skin is a greater sensitivity to the inflammation cascade. Inflammation can be easily triggered in darker skin, so it is essential to avoid inflammation triggers, such as aggressive ingredients in skincare, lasers, acid peels, inflammatory foods, smoking, sun and pollution exposure, and excessive drinking. Women of color need to remain vigilant against inflammation and all its triggers. This means in summer, or confronted with inflammation-inducing sun exposure, it is important to wear a high SPF sunscreen. I recommend a good Anti-Pollution serum year round, but springtime is filled with a natural air pollutant: pollen, which is inflammatory and can wreak havoc on unprotected skin. In warmer months, I recommend using a lighter formulation of moisturizer. In colder months, strong barrier protection is needed against harsh elements that also trigger inflammation. A higher lipid content moisturizer is recommended during the cold season. Strong anti-inflammatory skin care is required 365 days a year, and lasers and acid peels should also be avoided year round due to their inflammatory effects.

Spoiling yourself with facials is more than okay, but quick fix skin regimens can make matters worse. A facial is a luxurious necessity. In the right hands and using the right ingredient science, a facial cleanses, nourishes, and awakens the skin, while reducing inflammation and hyper-pigmentation, evening out irregularities in the skin, and strengthening the skin matrix. The ideal everyday skin maintenance regime improves the skin matrix and avoids the need for too much “corrective action,” which if aggressive, can trigger inflammation. I would never use a peel with any skin type, but darker skin needs to be especially careful to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other dysfunction that can result from these “quick fix” approaches. I do not ever recommend a chemical peel for darker skin. A mask can be healing, hydrating and full of antioxidants and nutrition, and should be used several times a week as a skin corrector. Serums, like my Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum, are one of the most essential elements of my regime, and corrects the skin immediately while combating inflammation and oxidation.

It’s still possible (and preferable) to glow without a full makeup beat. Summertime skin care means high lipid-content moisturizers can stay in the cabinet. A lighter formulation is appropriate for the warmer months, and depending on one’s own sebum production and the climate, my serum may suffice as a moisturizer, which also contains Lumicol, a complexion brightening and skin evening ingredient. I am a fan of healthy skin that doesn’t require too much makeup, and makeup itself can contain aggressive ingredients triggering the inflammation that darker skin tones is uniquely sensitive to. To make my makeup pop or even instead of makeup on a hot summer night, I use my Glow Drops, which provide both anti-inflammatory anti-aging benefits and shimmer particle-delivered glow.

 

Style, as told by supermodel Chanel Iman

 

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A post shared by Chanel Iman (@chaneliman) on May 10, 2019 at 8:52am PDT

Revamping your wardrobe is a lot simpler than you think. I always keep my favorites. I always put them away when it’s wintertime, then bring them back for the spring, and then mix-and-match with different accessories. That’s what I do to make it look new again. Try it with a different shoe, or instead of wearing a heel or a tennis shoe with it, try to make it different than how I wore it the last year.

 

Fitness, as told by STRONG By Zumba co-creator Ai Lee Syarief

 

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A post shared by Ai Lee Syarief (@chopsueylee) on Mar 6, 2019 at 1:01am PST

Despite the heat of summer, sneak in fun ways to stay active and healthy. I think the most important thing is that you do something where you have fun. Don't do something where you think, I have to do it because everybody's doing it, or it's like, Oh, I heard this is good. Let's just try it. In the beginning you do it, but if you don't have fun, if you don't really enjoy it, you wouldn't do it. Make sure you do something where you have fun. Make sure you do something with your friend because if you're two, if you're three, it keeps you motivated. If you're only, "OK, I'm at home I'm doing a workout," and then today I'm like, "Aw, should I do it or not?" Or "should I go to the gym?" Make sure you have somebody, friends, do something you really love, too. And you know the whole package—workout, good sleep. Sleeping is very, very good. Make sure that you have a really good, balanced nutrition, and then I think you're going to be fine for summer.

Pushing through crappy weather days to get a quick sweat in is a motivation booster. Even on the bad windy days, I don't feel like it's something bad. I mean, I love fresh air. For me even if it's windy, let's just go out. Be motivated and do something you love. That is going to push you very much. I think that STRONG by Zumba, what motivates you is the music. Find a factor that you really love. When results come, whatever the results are, you will get even more motivated. You do it, you love it, you see your results whatever they are and then you go like "OK, let's push through."

Additional reporting by Desire Thompson.

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City Girls Get "Careless" In New Music Video

In honor of the one-year anniversary of their debut project Period, City Girls has dropped a music video for their song "Careless."

The video stars the rap duo, Yung Miami and J.T., the latter who is currently serving a two-year sentence in Tallahassee. The visual directed by Gabriel "Video God" Hart, features the two rap divas sporting their iced out Quality Control chains rapping in the streets of what appears to be Miami. Both Yung Miami and J.T. are donning the same outfits, distressed jean shorts-underwear, a cropped Miami jersey with a white turtleneck underneath and the classic Timberland boots.

City Girls are showing exactly what they're made of as they rap about "living life so careless," and "h**s [being] so mad it's evident" with an entourage of women behind them. The short clip is full of fun-filled energy as the hot rappers bounce from location to location. Whether they're in a hotel room sipping on some Hennessy, in a store copping a couple of things, they still manage to get their bars off.

The visual is a good representation of what fans can expect from the rap duo, even more so if they see them in concert. Most recently Yung Miami performed the girls' big hit, "Act Up" at Rolling Loud with the help of Lil' Yachty, their co-collaborator on the song. Next up for Yung Miami is the Hot 97 Summer Jam on June 2 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Make sure to check out their music video above and stream Period in celebration of its one-year anniversary.

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