Tamera Mowry-Housley Adds a Little Magic to Hallmark Channel in "Christmas Comes Twice"

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Tamera Mowry-Housley Adds a Little Magic to Hallmark Channel in "Christmas Comes Twice"

This time last year, Tamera Mowry-Housley joined the Hallmark Channel family with the lead role in A Christmas Miracle, her first movie for the network. It was a project she was particularly proud of, as it was based on an idea by her and, in addition to starring in it she also served as an executive producer. The film marked her return to acting after a seven-year hiatus, during which she was a co-host on the syndicated talk show The Real. Little did she know twelve months ago that joining forces with Hallmark would have a major impact on her life, and that in December 2020 she would be celebrating the release of her second Christmas project, Christmas Comes Twice. "And now it's happened," she laughed when MediaVillage spoke with her about being a part of the Hallmark family. "I manifested that, I put it out there in the universe, and I am so happy to be back!

"This movie happened the same way as before," she continued. "Stephanie (Germain), who I worked with on A Christmas Miracle, and I love working with, has her own production company. I really got to know the Hallmark family doing the first movie, so we just kind of had a session where we sat and talked about possible ideas. We then worked it from there."

The result of that session was a magical "what if" do-over tale, and if ever there was a year that needed a do-over, it's 2020. "The idea did come about during the pandemic," Mowry-Housley explained. "I feel like there are a lot of people who have been forced to deal with their reality and that's exactly what you see my character Cheryl going through in the beginning. She's successful, but she's not happy with her current state, with relationships, and with her job. That gets her thinking about what she could have done to live a more fulfilling life. So, she goes to this Christmas carnival that she visits annually with her family, hops on this magical carousel and it goes from there. I wanted more of a happier magical tone with this, and I'm glad I did because I miss doing that."

Where it goes is five years back in the past, allowing Cheryl to re-evaluate the choices she made then, and by not making them, giving her the option to possibly change her future. She also gets to spend quality time with her beloved science teacher Ms. Nelson (Sheryl Lee Ralph, above left with Mowry-Housley), to whom she never properly expressed her gratitude for inspiring her to become an astrophysicist. She also revisits a relationship with her high-school rival George (Michael Xavier).

When it comes to do-overs, Mowry-Housley has mixed feelings. "There are things that happen in our lives that shape us to be who we are," she shared. "But there are times, or moments when you would like more time. That's what I loved about the relationship between Ms. Nelson and Cheryl in the film, and the fact she could see her teacher who'd passed away. There are people in my life like my grandmother Lena, that I would love to go back in time and just hold a little bit longer and tell them I love them 100 more times."

This past July, Mowry-Housley made one of the biggest decisions of her career -- to leave her gig on The Real after eight years. She told me it was a decision fueled by working with Hallmark, and one that led to her joining Home & Family as its newest contributor. "Doing A Christmas Miracle last year, I fell in love with the [creative] process all over again," she revealed. "It ignited this fire and now it's like a burning log constantly on fire. I can't wait do more. It still feels like I have a daily grind, being a mom of two, doing the Hallmark films, and [now] being on Home & Family. But I'm definitely still moving along and I'm grateful for it."

She's also grateful that through Christmas Comes Twice, she can promote something very dear to her heart -- on-screen diversity. "I feel doing The Real and Sister Sister, I understand the importance of representation," she said. "It matters. It was important beginning this beautiful partnership with Hallmark, to bring that to the forefront. I wanted to tell stories where families looked like me, or like the characters in our movies, so people can relate. There's something about seeing yourself in a story, it moves and hits you differently. That was true in this project, all the way down to Cheryl and her sister Trish having their naturally curly hair. I'm so grateful Hallmark allowed me to do that."

Through storytelling, she could also incorporate an educational element by making her character an astrophysicist. "When I was eight I wanted to be an astronaut," she beamed. "I was in love with the universe, stars and space." Home & Family even surprised her recently with a star named in her honor via Hallmark's partnership with the International Star Registry, all to celebrate the portrayal of women in STEM.

"There's nothing like seeing a successful working woman, and I wanted to inspire young girls or young women to say [anything] is possible and it can be done," she explained.

"I also wanted to shed light on the importance of teachers and having a teacher that inspires you," she said in closing. "Now more than ever with kids being home-schooled virtually, it's challenging for parents. Now we truly understand the weight of what teachers go through every day [for] the profession they love and are passionate about."

Christmas Comes Twice will be telecast Sunday, December 13 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of the network's annual Countdown to Christmas programming event.

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