During its relaunch on BET last season, The Game made history by becoming the number-one sitcom debut in the history of cable television. A huge part of that success is thanks to series star Tia Mowry. After five seasons of portraying footballer wife Melanie Barnett, this real life wife, mom and star of the reality series Tia & Tamera is ready to play once again on the popular dramedy.
Mowry talked to BET.com about what’s in store for her character this season, how she juggles motherhood with two hit shows and what’s behind the magic chemistry between her and her costar Pooch Hall.
What changes can fans expect from Melanie and Derwin this season?
This year what I love about Derwin and Melanie is that whenever they have something bothering them they have made a pact to forget all the lies. They'll be no more hidden secrets, they've decided to just bring everything out in the forefront. So now they always speak what’s on their minds. You’ll see a sense of truthfulness and maturity with Melanie this year. And you’ll see a sense of independence. For the past few seasons she’s always been very supportive of her husband and kind of submissive.
What have you enjoyed most about playing this role?
I love the opportunity to be real and express the realities that women today go through. It’s not easy being the wife of a very successful man. Nobody tells you about the groupies and the struggles with the wife finding her own voice and how that might make the man feel. I love to be able to explore that realness within Melanie’s character.
Brittany Daniel, who plays Kelly, was dropped to reoccurring status on The Game last season and she’s not included in any of the promos for season five. Is it true that she is no longer with the show?
It’s not true that [Brittany Daniel] is no longer apart of the cast. She is still a part of the show. Brittany is just taking personal time off and once she’s ready to come back we’re all here and we’re ready for her. It has nothing to do with all the rumors out there. They’re all lies.
You’re happily married in real life to actor Cory Hardrict, but you and your onscreen hubby, Pooch Hall, have amazing chemistry. How do you two create that synergy?
I hear that a lot from The Game's behind-the-scenes team; the hair and makeup people and the cameramen are always saying, "I really love you guys together. You guys are funny, you guys are great." Pooch and I have this relationship where we trust each other in our scenes. We’re a team, we make sure we have fun and we both have a desire to make the fans happy. So when you have that same goal in mind it resonates. Pooch and I are also like brother and sister. If I have something in my teeth, if I have something in my nose, he’ll take it out. It’s that kind of relationship and we translate that to our characters.
How do you juggle the hectic schedule of having two hit shows currently on TV: The Game and the Style network reality show Tia & Tamera, plus being a wife and mom?
Back when I was in college I was doing Sister, Sister at the same time. And I recently stumbled across some 40-page research papers I wrote and I asked myself, "How in the hell did you do this Tia?" I just don’t think too much about it. If you overanalyze it, it becomes overwhelming. But if you just do it and find the enthusiasm in whatever you're doing, you’ll find the strength. I love what I do. I’ve been [acting] since I was 14 years old and it’s all I know. I’m having fun, I’m on a playground right now. I’m like, recess? I don’t want that bell to ring.
And what has the working motherhood experience been like for you?
When I’m with my son, Cree, I give him 110%. My favorite role yet is being a mother and it’s really grounded me as a person. I don’t really know how life was before. It felt selfish and now everything is about him. When I’m working, I’m working for him. I was just talking to [my sister] Tamera [Mowry] the other day and she said, 'You could be having a bad day but as soon as you see your son it shifts gears.' He just gives me unbelievable amounts of joy.
Season five of The Game premieres tonight at 10pm/9c on BET.
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