TAHJ MOWRY TALKS: MORE LIFE, MORE LUXURY + THE MUPPETS MAYHEM!
EDITOR IN CHIEF + PHOTOGRAPHY: COREY GUEVARRA
WARDROBE: KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
BARBER: ERIC JAMAL TILLMON
GROOMING: ANNETTE CHAISSON
@ EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS USING KOH GEN DO
We first met Tahj Mowry in 1992 at just 5 years old starring alongside seasoned & rising greats like Patti Labelle & Vivica Fox. If his industry beginnings were any indication, it’s no surprise that some 30 years later his face & name equity still stand strong, firmly legacied into the global, classic-entertainment landscape! If you reference ‘Smart Guy’ (or Teddy from ‘Full House’ for that matter) to almost any millennial, they’ll know exactly who you’re referring to, which is a standing that countless actors aspire toward & by all accounts of accomplishment is in fact a very big deal! Add in the joint effects of co-family fame & there’s a clear legacy afoot, adored by millions with works still celebrated to this day. Not even several years of school & focus on football could stop what was meant to be, as the star eventually understood that the journey he’d began as a child was in fact his destiny! The decision to return to screen brought him a bevy of TV hits including the top rated ‘Baby Daddy’ sitcom, an apropos reintroduction for the [now] adult actor reestablishing his age appropriate presence. Today we find Tahj readying his debut & contribution to the additionally legacied Muppets universe as ‘Moog’ in the ever anticipated ‘ The Muppets Mayhem’ TV series out today! We were able to catch up with the comedic creative to discuss his life-long Hollywood experience, including initially front running his very famous family & his definition of rest, time & nature as life’s truest luxuries!
TAHJ, WE KNOW YOU’VE GROWN UP HERE IN LA BUT FOR THE RECORD WHERE WERE YOU BORN & WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I was actually born in Hawaii believe it or not! My parents were in the military so by all accounts, I was a military brat! We personally didn't live in Hawaii for long, moving to Texas shortly after & landing in California by the time I was 3. So my core life experience, where I grew up was here [in California]. We started in Anaheim & later moved to L.A. County, so I'm an L.A. kid, a Valley kid. I grew up in the Valley. I can say though that whenever I go to Hawaii, I do feel an interesting connection to it. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s my birthplace, but I instantly feel peace & comfort when I'm there! Like even on the plane, as we’re approaching & I can see the island from my window, I literally start to feel comfort, it’s the most interesting thing!
WE KNOW YOU’VE BEEN ACTING YOUR WHOLE LIFE, MANY OF US LITERALLY GREW UP WITH YOU! WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN ACTING AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE?
I think at a young age I just was so energetic. My mom was telling me the other day that I was just a ball of energy, that any room I walked into I was immediately harnessing all of the attention & so she knew very early on, that there was ‘something’ there. I remember I used to memorize commercials growing up, I would memorize my children's books & stories pretending that I could read. In many ways I think I also knew that I wanted to be on TV, it was just a part of me already. I knew that entertaining was a part of who I was from a very young age.
SHIRT:BURBERRY, PANT: AG JEANS, BOOTS: JEAN BAPTISTE RAUTUREAU
WOW! DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST AUDITION OR LANDED ROLE?
I do actually!! I started off in print work. I still have the photo at my house, but it’s of me on a tire swing in a Kodak ad! It always makes me laugh when I see it today, because I look like I totally knew what I was doing, I must been about 3 years old. My first commercial however was for Charmin toilet paper, I actually have a memory of shooting that commercial. Though I was probably about 4 at the time, I actually vividly remember that day on set, it’s crazy how [core] memories work!
A LOT OF US REMEMBER FIRST MEETING YOU AS ‘TEDDY’ ON FULL HOUSE. BUT HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU LANDED YOUR FIRST BIG TV GIG + WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY REALIZE THAT YOU WERE ‘FAMOUS’ TAHJ?
I don't think anyone's ever asked me when I knew I was famous before LOL, So my first major booking I’d have to say was probably my 1 episode of ‘Who’s the Boss’. My first major reoccurring gig however was a show called ‘Out All Night’ on NBC! It starred Patti LaBelle, Vivica Fox & Morris Chestnut. The cast was amazing & though we only did 1 season, that’s how I got Full House. Full House was when things really started to move because you know, it was a show that literally everyone watched! So between Out All Night & Full House I’d credit as my first ‘big’ gigs.
I’m not sure if I had an ‘aha’ fame moment tbh, because again, that as my life & job was all I really knew. So, I don't think it ever clicked growing up, like, hey, am I famous? LOL. Add in the fact that I grew up in a humbling environment where there really was never any room to ‘get a big head’! So I didn’t really know or understand that my life’s experiences were ‘different’ that way until mayyybe around middle school. That’s my earliest memory of when other kids started to… lets say magnify our differences. You know at that age kids are searching for their own social standing in additional to all the other things going on with us & anything deemed ‘different’ was a target, even acting! in LA! Lol. Because of that, my middle school years honestly were not fun for me. I hated it. I was always on guard, though it was clearly just stemming from a lack of information. People thought that I was just coming to school whenever I felt like it or that I was off “playing” as an actor, but in reality, I was on set with crews of people, working! I think I might even be one of the only actors that actually went to regular school when they weren't working. Most child actors or teen actors get homeschooled. They don't go to public or private school. So in the middle of that more authentic experience, I had to deal with equally as authentic middle school attitudes, growing pains & unmitigated popularity contests etc., I played football too, there was 1 time I remember that Jet Magazine came to photograph one of my games- I’d spent so much of my life at that point in front of the camera, it still wasn’t necessarily odd to me. But looking back, I can see how some moments could have registered as indications of fame. Honestly, I was just a kid doing what I loved to do. Yes, people knew or recognized me from TV here & there, but again, I think because I started so young, the levels of notoriety that intertwined just seemed like a ‘part of the job’. It’s also why I think now as an adult, we have to try to be as understanding as possible to everyone’s stories -because all of our literal day to day experiences are all so beautifully different.
LIGHTNING TENDS TO ONLY STRIKE ONCE, BUT THERE YOU ARE IN SAME FAMILY WITH MULTIPLE LEGITIMATELY HIT TELEVISION SHOWS, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE GROWING UP WITH SO MUCH FAMILIAL SUCCESS ALL AT ONCE?
Oh, man, I have this very vivid memory at a very young age of fans chasing the limousine that my sisters & I were in this 1 time. But honestly even with all of the attention that came from ALL of us diving into Hollywood, it also helped create a grounding environment for me growing up because I was constantly around family. I remember the coolest moment around that time was when we realized that Smart Guy & Sister-Sister would be airing on the same night, back to back. That was a big deal in our house LOL. Anytime we're all on television at the same time now, we’re all in the family group chat like ‘Mowry Takeover’ lol!! Between the acting & my brother killing it in the music scene, we're all about that ‘Mowry Takeover’ ha!