Tia Mowry-Hardrict got her TV start as the star (with twin sister Tamera) on the family comedy Sister, Sister. Now a wife and mother, Mowry-Hardrict has found a more grownup role in her new show, Instant Mom (airing Thursdays on Nickelodeon). “What attracted me first to Instant Mom was just the family dynamic,” says Mowry-Hardrict. “This was a show about a blended family, and you really don’t see a lot of that on television right now.”
On Instant Mom, Mowry-Hardrict plays Stephanie Phillips, a former party girl who marries an older man and becomes the stepmom of three adorable children. In a special Mother’s Day episode airing Thursday, May 8, Stephanie and her new family face the mother of all misunderstandings. “They forgot about me on Mother’s Day,” says Mowry-Hardrict of her character. “They had Mother’s Day for their mother and then they created a Stepmother’s Day for me. And that hurt my feelings.” Upset, Stephanie and her mom (Sheryl Lee Ralph) head to the spa, where Stephanie gets advice from some of television’s most iconic mothers — Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), Jackée Harry (Sister, Sister), Meredith Baxter (Family Ties) and Marion Ross (Happy Days) — and an iconic TV sister, Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show).
Mowry-Hardrict calls working with such iconic women “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as an actor,” and didn’t feel any pressure working with such an esteemed group. “When you grow up watching television and these women have been a part of your childhood, it’s as though you know them, and it’s as if you’ve known them all of your life. And they were so warm, and funny, and welcoming.”
Mowry-Hardrict thinks she’s uncovered the secret to the longevity of her guest stars’ careers: “These women are confident women. They know who they are. They know what they’re doing, they know how to execute it, and they’re just having a lot of fun. Now you see why these women had wonderful careers in television. Because they’re that damn good. … I was a sponge.”
Mowry-Hardrict says she shared a special moment with each actress, moments she will treasure forever. “Acting with each and every one of them, and looking into each of their eyes, I saw a different story.”