TikTok Star Tabitha Brown On the Importance of Being a Black Woman in the Wellness Space
She’s a vegan foodie and a social media superstar, but it’s her sunny outlook and positive-vibe sharing that make her feel like a friend. Brown is changing the way her followers think about food (and life!), one recipe at a time.
What are you hoping to share with people through your content?
I love to tell stories through food. I like to post content that makes people think differently and see food differently. Hey, maybe even love differently and laugh differently. Look, it is all OK. Whatever place you are in life right now, it is your place, and that is OK. I have been there, and I am trying to guide [my followers] as a good friend would. And give them a little love in the process.
How did your career take this turn, and why did you choose TikTok as your medium?
I can’t tell you why it took this turn. It must be the TikTok gods. I never even wanted to get on TikTok because I thought it was for kids. I already was on Instagram and Facebook, and, girl, I thought that was enough. But my daughter convinced me to get on there. Eventually, I listened, and she was right. Within the first week, I went viral. My videos of food, love, and laughter took off. I read the comments, and then it became a responsibility. They loved it, they felt it, and it worked.
You’ve struggled with physical and mental health. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Food can be medicine, or it can be the thing that puts us in the ground. I struggled with being sick for quite some time, and I took a 30-day vegan challenge. In the first 10 days, I felt totally different. I knew I was onto something, so I never stopped. Prior to being vegan, I fell into depression, and many days, I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t understand why I felt so bad. Mental health is a real thing. I had always prayed that if I was able to pull myself out of this dark rut and see light again, then I want to choose to be the light. That is why I choose to do videos that are light, fun, and loving. I want to feed your soul, not just your stomach. If I can give people a little bit of hope, I am happy.
What is your advice for people who want to go vegan?
You have to start with your “why.” My why was that I was sick. My why was life or death. I chose life. I was hoping and praying that this would make me feel better, and it did. I always tell people: “When you first start, it can be challenging.” For me, I haven’t had pork or red meat in over 25 years. I haven’t had milk, because I am allergic, so I didn’t have to give up much. Do I still get cravings? Yeah, girl, right now I could see myself dipping a crab leg into some butter. But my why is strong enough. I say: “Be easy on yourself. Take your time. Don’t be hard on yourself. The world is hard enough already.”
These are stressful days! How do you take care of yourself?
Time, in my life, has changed a lot. With all these changes, I have a limited amount of me time. So when I get it, honey, I run with it. My shower time is my fun time. My family is my foundation, so the more time I get to spend with them, the better. Cooking relaxes me. It feels like a little getaway when I am in the kitchen. When I am not shooting, I am just cooking. Girl, I could be somewhere else in my mind.
As a Black woman in the wellness world, what has your experience been like?
It is who I am, and I love who I am. For a long time, I was conforming. Covering my accent, wearing my hair one way, doing things to make others feel comfortable. I wasn’t being free. When I recovered from my illness, I had a conversation with God, and I promised Him that if He would heal me, I would be who He created me to be. I realized that “Tab, you are enough—just as you are. However your hair grows, how you speak, how you look, everything that I am is enough.” When I show up, I am going to show up as me. As soon as we all do that, other people cannot deny us. I am so blessed to be in a space without many Black women or [Black] men [so that I can] say: “You know what? We are here as well. It ain’t crazy, and it ain’t unheard-of.”
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
When it gets really, really tough, just keep going. Also—when your mom wants you to go shopping with her [when you are] in your early 20s, go every time. Every single time.
This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter
- Former Swimmer Emily Klueh on Why Olympic Athletes Need Mental Health Support
- How Sarah McBride, the First Openly Trans State Senator, Plans to Bring Equity to Health Care
- These 3 Women Are Changing How People Find Mental Health Support
- How Honeybee Health and Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi are Making Health Care Affordable