Tahj Mowry Talks Being A Child Actor, His Sisters Tia & Tamera, ‘Smart Guy’ Reboot and More
It’s not every day you get to sit down with a child star actor that touched so many hearts in the early and late nineties. Playing in nostalgic shows like “Smart Guy” and “Sister, Sister” to being the voice of Wade on Disney’s “Kim Possible,” Tahj Mowry has always found a way to reinvent himself and to continue doing what he loves. As we talked about the challenges of transitions from a child actor to an adult actor, Tahj shared with us what it was like stepping away from acting and how it allowed him to grow into a new version of himself.
“I stepped away for a while in high school and then came back when the passion called me again. Doing that allowed people to miss me a bit, and I was able to create a space for the new older version of myself to emerge later on.”
From acting, co-writing, and directing a planned horror film, Tahj has much for his fans to look forward to, including a new character he will step into on “The Muppets Mayhem” coming out next year. “The Muppets Mayhem” is truly a character that resonates with me. ‘Moog’ is a special individual that I believe will touch many people! I cannot wait for people to finally meet him once the show premieres in 2023 on Disney +.”
As we got deeper into the interview, Tahj and I discussed his favorite fashion brands, working with his twin siblings, Tia and Tamera Mowry, and the misconceptions of being a child star. It’s safe to say that Tahj Mowry will always live in our hearts, and he will continue to inspire people with his gifts that he has no problem crediting to God above.
Check out the full exclusive interview with Tahj Mowry below.
Tahj, it’s so great to catch up with you. Since playing Teddy on “Full House” and “T.J.” Henderson on Smart Guy, you have graced our T.V. screens since the early nineties. What challenges have you faced as an actor, and what keeps you motivated to keep going? The main challenge would be transitioning from a child actor to an adult actor. That in itself poses a huge difficulty for people, but I’m so thankful because I believe I was able to do it easier than most. I stepped away for a while in high school and then came back when the passion called me again. Doing that allowed people to miss me a bit, and I was able to create a space for the new older version of myself to emerge later on. Motivation is so important. Staying motivated and inspired is key. You’ll always want to keep going and push ahead. For me, staying inspired and motivated makes me want to challenge myself and keep creating goals and aspirations. It keeps things fresh and new.
What’s one role that has resonated with you most and why? I’d say TJ Henderson because that character touched so many people. That role created a safe space for people of color to feel comfortable and proud of being smart. That, to me, is something I never get tired of people telling me. It’s an honor to have been that for viewers, and it’s even more so an honor for it to still be occurring to the newer generations. But I also must say that my new role in “The Muppets Mayhem” is truly a character that resonates with me. ‘Moog’ is a special individual that I believe will touch many people! I cannot wait for people to finally meet him once the show premieres in 2023 on Disney +.
I’m a massive fan of Tia and Tamera Mowry and yourself. Having two sisters in the same industry as you, what’re some tips they’ve shared regarding working in the industry, and what’s it like working with them on set? We all started around the same time, which a lot of people don’t realize, so we all share tips and tricks often, and it’s nice to be able to talk to someone who’s in your family about this crazy business because they know exactly what you’re going through. Working with them on set is always a dream, and I always look forward to the next time I can do so. We are siblings, of course, so there is a built-in connection and chemistry that you don’t have to work to have; it’s truly organic, so it’s always a blast – it never feels like work.
What’s one misconception about being a child star? I’d say that all child actors have stage parents. My parents were totally normal and were the ones that kept me grounded and humble. Yes, stage parents are real, but not in my case, so I’m very thankful for that.
Let’s talk about the Smart Guy reboot. What can you share with us, and why is it essential to introduce this nostalgic show to a new generation? All good things take time – it’s a process. It will happen, but it’s all about timing. Like I’ve said in the past, meetings have been had, and the idea that I was able to come up with is loved, so I’m excited about that. I’m just very busy at the moment, as is the rest of the original cast, so it will happen when it’s supposed to. I will not let the fans down; I promise you that. It’s definitely a passion project for me. I just want to make sure that it’s perfect and not forced. But I do think there is something super special about bringing back something nostalgic that means so much to so many people and creating something new, that still has that nostalgic feel but also leaves room for a newer generation. I think all generations deserve a little “Smart Guy” in their lives.
Have you ever considered directing and writing a T.V. series? Yes, I actually love screenwriting, and I’ve always wanted to direct since I was a kid. I recently finished up the latest draft of my horror screenplay that I co-wrote alongside my writing partner, which I am planning on starring in and directing soon, so I’m very excited about that.
Let’s talk about fashion. How would you describe your style, and who are some of your favorite fashion brands or houses? I don’t think I have a set style, so to speak. I like to dress for how I feel on the day. I’m not afraid to wear something that someone else may be afraid to wear because if I feel good and confident in it, that’s all that matters. I also like to take risks in fashion because it’s fun! But as far as style goes, I can wear all black one day and the next day be in a monochromatic color fit. I’m the guy that can wear All Saints with YSL boots one day, a Fear of God sweatsuit the next, and then go vintage thrift the next day – maybe even all in one day. It’s all about how I feel. I’m always inspired by things that I see, but I always want to make sure that it’s true to what I’m feeling at that moment and that I’m wearing it in a way that no one else can. I’d love to work with Sandro, YSL, and Kenzo one day, though!
You are an actor that’s achieved so much over your career. How do you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and fans? I just want to be remembered as someone who wasn’t afraid to speak up about their faith and as someone who made people “feel.” Being an actor is such a privilege, and I don’t take it lightly. So being able to cause an emotion, a feeling, a laugh, and have the ability to inspire people with what I do is such an honor. So I’d hope that people will always remember me as a great entertainer and as someone who is constantly inspired, not only in their work but in how they lived their life as well. I love entertaining and want people to always know that my love for doing so is real and genuine.
What’s next for Tahj Mowry, and what can your fans expect? “The Muppets Mayhem” is coming in 2023 to Disney+, and it is one of the most special projects I have ever been a part of. I am so thankful to be involved with such amazing artists and talent, and I cannot wait for fans to see this show! It’s hilarious; it’s heartfelt; it’s grounded in all the right ways, there’s amazing music, and it’s got Muppets! I’m hopeful that people will fall in love with the show and my character ‘Moog.’
You can also expect more films in the future. I love film and plan on doing more of that in the future. Also, be on the lookout for a horror film I co-wrote and plan to direct soon!
Lastly, the definition of Contrast is ‘to be strikingly different. What makes you strikingly different? I’d say my confidence – but my confidence with a sense of humility and gratitude for what I’ve been given in this life. Thanks to God above, I know the gifts I have and what I can bring to the table. I think if you have that kind of confidence in yourself and what you can bring to the table, that’s everything – it’s what will set you apart from the rest. No one can be you. So, I know that no one is me or can be me. No one can do, say, or bring what I can do, say, or bring to the table. So I try my best to live in that truth daily, all while remembering that an equal amount of shine is available to us all. God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. So, knowing that what is for you is for you, and also knowing that comparison will never get you anywhere, is a part of that confidence for me. The confidence I have in myself and my faith in God is what has gotten me to where I am and is what will get me to where I am going. Sure, some days we can all feel a bit insecure and believe me, I have my days, but once I remember that I am here for a reason and a purpose that WILL be accomplished, I’m good.
Be sure to follow Tahj Mowry on Instagram to stay up-to-date on all things Tahj. (Oh, yeah. And the reboot of Smart Guy too!)
Producer + Stylist + Interview: Oliver Brown
Photographer: Antwon Maxwell
Lead Assistant Stylist: Safa Haque
Assistant Stylist: India Young
Assistant Stylist: Gabby Sanchez
Assistant Stylist: Liz Everett
Grooming + Makeup: Tish Ferguson