Interview: Tamera Mowry-Housley talks Table Wars, a potential singing career, and becoming a new meme queen

Tamera Mowry-Housley on the red carpet
Tamera Mowry-Housley talks about Table Wars, her singing career, and becoming the new meme queen. Pic credit: ©

Tamera Mowry-Housley has been a familiar face on television for nearly three decades and continues to have an evolving career that is still going strong.

The public first fell in love with the star after she and her twin sister, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, played the lead roles in the ‘90s sitcom Sister, Sister. Since the show catapulted her into superstardom, Tamera has remained booked and busy. Along with numerous other acting jobs, she has ventured into reality TV and become everyone’s favorite television personality. 

2021 has been a busy year for the mom-of-two. She participated as Seashell in Season 5 of Fox’s The Masked Singer and appeared in her third Hallmark Christmas movie — The Santa Stakeout. Currently, Tamera hosts Hulu’s Baker’s Dozen and will appear as the presenter and judge on the upcoming HGTV competition show Table Wars with Martha Stewart and Chris Hessney, which is set to premiere on November 14. 

During a chat with Monsters & Critics, Tamera discussed Table Wars, a potential music career, her time on The Masked singer, how she became an unexpected meme, and a lot more.

Monsters & Critics: You are both the host and on the panel for Table Wars. What made you want to take on this job, as I assume you get pitched for stuff all the time?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: I recently left my day job for seven years, I was a talk show host [on The Real] and I just wanted more time to do passion projects. So to answer your question, this is just something I wanted to do.

I love the entertaining lifestyle and Martha Stewart, I believe, is the OG of that genre. When I found out that I had a chance to host a show with THE Martha Stewart, I could not say no. In my personal life, I love entertaining. I love hosting dinner parties, birthday parties, I enjoy it, it is a passion of mine!

I wasn’t aware that there was a term for what I love to do, which is table scaping, until they came to me with the idea of hosting the show. I did my research, looked into it and I love it. Table scaping is when you design a table for an event and I love all things beauty in the sense of artwork, interior design, and it has all those elements in table scaping.

I’m also a foodie, so eating food isn’t just to refuel, it’s a pleasure of mine, and I love having the experience while dining out. That’s what table scaping does, it elevates your experience whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, bridal, or baby shower. That’s what the show is about, it’s about finding the best of the best in the country and competing for $50,000.

What I loved about it too is that it wasn’t just a show about event designers, you had set designers, interior designers, and there was even someone who worked at amusement parks, he designed the rides. We saw SO many amazing creative talents on this show and you would just throw a theme at them. To just see them go, it was wonderful to see. It was awesome!

M&C: How hard was it eliminating someone each week when everyone on the show is already so skilled?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: It was very hard! But what I found out, everybody usually has a strength and a weakness. With each challenge, you never know which one you were going to get, and that’s what I loved. Even if one did an amazing job in one challenge, it did not necessarily mean they were going to kill it in the next, which always kept you guessing. 

M&C: I know you can’t say too much since the show hasn’t premiered just yet but was there a contestant that blew you away unexpectedly?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: Yes! Hosting these shows, whether it’s Bakers Dozen and now Table Wars, the reason I love doing it is that you get to see the human spirit and how we react to challenges. And also, I love seeing the underdog. I love seeing a person struggle in the beginning and persevere, learn, and keep pushing forward. That’s ultimately what these shows are about — you want to encourage and you want to inspire, and they do that.

M&C: Has the show inspired you to host your own extravagant event with table scaping?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: Yes! I am doing it next year. I am hosting a huge Thanksgiving meal, and I’m really excited about it. Yeah, you have your challenges and your stresses, but it’s ultimately so much fun when you see the reaction when people come. 

M&C: How was it working alongside Martha Stewart, being that she is such a legendary businesswoman?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: I mean at first, how could you not be slightly intimated [laughs] it’s Martha Stewart! But, she was fantastic. I wanted to make her proud, I also wanted to make myself proud as I take pride in my work, but at the same time, I knew Martha’s name was on this as well.

She told me, “wow, you’re such an amazing host,” and even said she felt like she had known me for years. She even hosted a beautiful dinner for my husband and I, it was beautiful. We got along beautifully. It was smooth! It wasn’t anything we had to work hard for. Those are the kind of jobs that you want. 

M&C: One thing you did fairly recently was your third Hallmark Christmas movie — The Santa Stakeout.

Tamera Mowry-Housley: YES!! You know what’s crazy, I had no idea how much people were looking forward to that movie. I guess it’s because it’s so different. It is something Hallmark had never done before and that was definitely a risk I was taking, but I was ready for the challenge. When you take a risk, it can be polarizing.

The film didn’t follow that same kind of like old-school Hallmark vibe, but it had all the elements of a Hallmark movie in it, and people loved it! I was so grateful, I couldn’t sleep for three days before and felt like I had to throw up [laughs]. It was just the anxiety of doing something different. I wanted people to embrace that difference instead of fighting back because some people don’t like change, you know.

What made this different is that there is a beautiful arc to this film. You have a lot of antagonism at the beginning, these two detectives don’t like each other at all and their transition for falling for each other happens at a more natural pace. In the end, it’s more of a real take of a relationship instead of “hey you, I love you!”

M&C: To you, what is it about Hallmark Christmas movies that make them so iconic?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: I’m very grateful to be a part of that family. I think they just know the formula. They have become the place people can trust during that time and being a mother of two, you know your entire family can watch these films and enjoy them. It’s not like you have to cover their eyes while they’re watching something, you don’t have to worry about hearing something they don’t need to hear at an early age. I think it’s that safety, warmth, and positive story that they always tell so well.

M&C: Another thing that you did recently that you probably watched with your kids is The Masked Singer. How was that experience and trying to keep it a secret for weeks?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: The hardest part was to keep it silent from everybody, especially from the people I love. I remember asking if I could tell my brothers and sister and they were no, it’s more fun if you don’t. I would literally get these texts saying “Is this you? I know this is you!”

What I loved about doing that show is that it’s not you versus the other masked, it’s you versus yourself underneath the mask. All your insecurities all come up when it’s just you in that mask. You had to deal with them, you can’t fluff them off. It’s a ready, set, go experience. If I had time to think about what I was doing, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I would have talked myself out of it. Every single time I went on, I was so nervous.

You perform live, if you mess up, you cannot start over. I remember asking if I could have a teleprompter in case I forgot the words but thank God I did not. I learned a lot about myself, to push through and you actually shine when you have fun. 

M&C: Prior to going on the show, you said you wanted to pursue music and release an album. How likely do you think that will happen as it definitely should?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: Aww, thank you! I do wanna do it. I think it’s all about timing for me. When I do it, I just don’t want it to be fluff. I wanna take my time and really think about what I’m doing. I wanna say I wanna do it in the next two years.

M&C: We are all so totally ready for that!

Tamera Mowry-Housley: You are so sweet!

M&C: Are there any acting or television jobs you want to take on that you haven’t already yet?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: I would love to do a Western. The Harder They Fall on Netflix is a dream. That’s what I would love to do!

M&C: I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but recently you’ve become a little bit of a meme.

Tamera Mowry-Housley: NO! What happened?

M&C: When you played Heads Up with the Instagram filter, you got Jesy Nelson, and neither you nor your co-workers on The Real were aware of who she was. It’s almost become the new Mariah Carey “I don’t know her” meme.

Tamera Mowry-Housley: NO!!!

M&C: If you Google both of your names together, you will see you can purchase stuff like iPad skins of your confused face!

Tamera Mowry-Housley: YOU’RE KIDDING ME!

M&C: I promise you! You’re the new meme queen. I remember when you went viral after having a fangirl interaction with Mariah Carey on a red carpet too. I loved that moment, it was sweet.

Tamera Mowry-Housley: And it was real! When I found out she said, “I love her!” I was like… oh my gosh! I think she tweeted it actually. 

M&C: To end this amazing chat, what’s your favorite Mariah Carey song or album?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: I wanna say Heartbreaker and maybe the first Christmas album, it’s a classic.

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