In a time of uncertainty, one thing is for sure, the world needs more of Tabitha and Choyce Brown. At first glance, these two beautiful women look more like sisters than they do mother and daughter. Tabitha, with herSouthern accent and calm and soothing words, is an actress and vegan enthusiast who has taken social media by storm, especially since joining TikTok this past March at her daughter’s insistence.
“She kept trying to get me to go on and I was like, ‘Girl, I’m not getting on with those kids,’”says Tabitha. “She was persistent, so I said, let me see what this thing is all about.”
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Thankfully, Choyce, who is a model and stars along side her mom in their YouTube show,“Very Good Mondays” was able to convinceTabitha to give it a shot. Her first video, a recipe she shared in the 59 seconds the platform allows, went viral within the first day.
Since then, life for the mother of three (which includes her “bonus daughter”) hasn’t been the same.
Dubbed “America’s Mom,” Tabitha’s signature catch phrases and soft and soulful, “Hello there” greeting, which starts off almost all of her videos, leaves followers wanting simply more “Tab!” Fortunately for all of us, we’re about to get our wish. This past year has been groundbreaking for the duo and 2021 is set to be even bigger.
BELLA sat down with Tabitha and Choyce to dish about how it all began, their high-profile projects, and where this life-changing year is taking them next.
TB – Originally from the south, you moved to California with dreams of becoming an actor. I used to watch “The Cosby Show” as a kid, and I would tell my mom I wanted to beRudy’s friend on the show. I didn’t know I was trying to say I wanted to be an actor, but that’s what I was trying to tell her. In old video footage my dad would say, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” and I would always say, an actress.
CB – Did you envision a career in front of the camera like your mom? When I was younger I wanted to be a singer like Beyoncé. Now I’m kind of in that lane and doing what I had envisioned.
TB – A mysterious illness put your dream on hold for some time. Now, having found success, do you believe things worked out the way in which they were supposed to? And what would you tell a young Tab?I definitely think I am where I’m supposed to be. I would tell my younger self that when things feel like they’re not going to happen, or you feel hopeless and want to give up, keep going, keep believing. Everything happened the way it was supposed to, I truly believe that.
TB – Twenty-two years later you’ve become internet famous, thanks in part to Choyce, along with your faith in God, which led you down a path of healing. I was sick for a year and seven months before going vegan. I wasn’t able to audition, I couldn’t work, and went on disability. I was depressed, suffering from major anxiety attacks, and I lost my faith because I was sick with no answers.
Then I had what I call was my “coming to Jesus” moment in my bathroom. I was looking into my soul for answers from God, and being sick for so long, I felt like He wasn’t hearing me anymore as I was praying. This was my last call to Him. I told Him, ‘God, I am begging you, if you heal me, you can have me. I will simply do whatever you ask of me,’ and I meant it.
Two weeks later I had a dream, and in it I saw myself on a show. But the difference was in the dream I had a little short afro, I spoke with my accent, which for years I had covered becauseI was told to, and here I was—completely free. When I woke up I asked God, ‘What was that?’ and I heard a voice say, ‘Start doing videos.’ And that didn’t make sense…why would I do videos? But I was reminded of what I had said, ‘If you heal me you can have me,’ so I had to live a life of obedience.
TB – What were your initial thoughts when Choyce told you about the documentary, “What the Health?” When my daughter came home and told me she saw the documentary, we watched it, and it was instantly for me alight bulb moment. People die young in my family, they get sick early, and meat was the common denominator that I could think of, so I told my husband ‘Let’s do a 30-day vegan challenge and see what happens.’ I didn’t have anything to lose at that point; I’d taken every drug the doctors had given me and nothing helped, if anything it made me worse. In the first 10 days the headaches I had for a year and seven months disappeared, and I knew I was onto something.
CB – Do you think it was divine intervention that put you in the right place to help your mom heal? I think everything happens for a reason. I went to school that day so I could watch the documentary and share it with her.
TB – Together you host a YouTube series called, “Very Good Mondays.” Do you plan the content in advance, or press record and wing it? Nothing is planned, we press record and it goes down! When Choyce graduated from high school, she didn’t want to go to college; she wanted to pursue entertainment. I already had a platform, so I told her, ‘Every Monday we’re going to start doing these videos, and it’s going to be our show. People will know your name, your face, and that will help build your platform and your brand,’ and it worked.
TB – Along with Choyce and her brother Queston, you’re also“bonus mom” to Ty-Leah. What does the role mean to you? Ty-Leah has an amazing mom who I respect, and I make sureI don’t cross that line, like I’m her mom, but I get to be her friend. It’s fun being able to have that relationship as a woman with another young lady who considers me a mom if she needs me, but mostly as her friend who can help with life as it goes.
CB – How would you describe having an older sister? It’s like having a friend for life. We always talk, and sometimes we go a little while without seeing each other. She has family on her mom’s side as well, but when we do see each other, we never miss a beat. I love her.
TB – All of your videos are infused with your signature catchphrases, which fans obsess over. But for you, they’re just second nature. Catchphrases are how I live my life. Growing up as a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my granddaddy and my great-granddaddy, and if you ever spent time in the country you know we’re natural storytellers. And my daddy and I are best friends. I talk to him every day and he always has a line for me. How I end my shows, “Have a good day but if you can’t, don’t go messing up nobody else’s…” that is what he always told me and still does.When I first started cooking live I never watched myself back and I would wonder why, in the comments, people kept putting in parenthesis, “Because it’s my business.” I watched the videos and realized I said that a lot, but it’s just how I talk.
TB – Where do you come up with the recipes you share? I cook from the spirit, so if I have a taste for something, I tryand figure out how to make it my way. Sometimes peoplesend a recipe and ask me to “veganize it” and then I figure out substitutions to make it fun.
TB – You have a new show coming to the Ellen Digital Network, “All Love.” What can fans expect? It says it in the name—it’s all things love…it’s parenting advice, family, food, and inspiration—everything that surrounds love because that’s what I’m all about. I’m all about leading with love and finding love in everything we do, and also about having fun. My kids or my husband might pop up; maybe I’ll do some cooking, some Q&A…it’s going to be a lot of fun.
TB – The end of this year is a busy one for you. What projects are happening? I’m in a new movie, “Princess of the Row.” Morgan Freeman is the executive producer and it will be on iTunes and Amazon the day after Thanksgiving. I have a completely different role in this film and I’m super excited. A lot of people know me from my older work but they haven’t seen my acting as I am now, so I can’t wait to share that.
I’m also writing two books—an inspirational book and a cookbook—I’m developing a scripted sitcom, and I’m continuing to do a ton of partnerships and brand content with my daughter and on my own. And I’ve been working on a hair growth kit, which will be out before the end of the year. A lot is happening!
CB – In addition to collaborating with your mom, you also have some projects in the works, including your own skincare line, “Skinbychoyce.” I’m doing a lot more modeling and working on campaigns for different clothing brands. I’m also in the process of working on the skincare line, making sure everything I want and whatmy supporters are looking for are in it. Hopefully you will seemy face a lot more!
CB – How has working alongside your mom inspired you? She’s taught me a lot about perseverance, to keep going, and to chase your dreams.
TB – How has Choyce inspired you? One of the greatest joys is becoming more of her friend now.I’ve always been a mom first, but it’s inspiring to see something that came out of me grow up and become this amazing, independent woman. She keeps me young and on my toes, and she teaches me a lot about the younger generation. I’m so open to listening to her—listening to her changed my life two times. It saved my life watching that documentary, and it changed my life when I joined TikTok. I get to work with my best friend every day.
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