Photo Illustration. Photo: Greg Allen/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Ahead of Mother’s Day, InStyle explores how women are navigating motherhood in 2018, from the role of the pregnancy selfie to new legislation empowering the working mom.

Jada Pinkett Smith, as told to Christine Whitney
May 08, 2018 @ 10:30 am

Jada Pinkett Smith has graced the big screen in such favorites as Girls Trip and Magic Mike XXL and is the matriarch of one of Hollywood’s favorite families. Her husband is, of course, Will Smith, and their children are the iconoclastic Jaden and Willow Smith. This week, Pinkett Smith is adding another entry to her IMDb resume, as she co-hosts the new Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk alongside her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter Willow. The three generations of women come together around the titular red table to share viewpoints on topics ranging from self-image to sex. And the series has already caught the public's attention for its candid revelations—like Willow's admission that she's walked in on her parents having sex. (New episodes debut Mondays, and Jada, Willow, and Adrienne host Facebook Lives on Wednesdays.)

Here, ahead of Mother's Day, Pinkett Smith pens a letter to 17-year-old Willow about their epic road trips and learning about experiences she never knew her daughter had.

Dear Willow,

I'm so proud of how opinionated and strong you are. Both you and your brother have taught me acceptance—how to accept and allow you to be who you are. I appreciate you for that.

Working on this project [Red Table Talk] with you has been such a joyful experience. I've learned so much about you, things that I didn't know and that I didn't expect, which, to me, makes the Red Table real.

I have learned so much about life experiences—intimate life experiences you were having that I wasn't aware of. And it taught me that, as much as I thought I knew you, there's so much more to know. Even though I've been surprised, and even a bit shocked at times, I'm just glad that you have your own internal fortitude to get yourself through some of your most intimate, darkest hours.

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<Generations of Womanhood> bound together forever

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Willow, I just hope that looking at how I've lived my life, you will find things within what you've witnessed, things that you will take on with you. How I continue to grow, how it's okay to make mistakes, and that you can always make things right.

Even when things seemingly go wrong, you can always make things right.

Some of my favorite memories with you are the nature trips that we've taken together, when we go on road trips and hikes. We’ve been to Mount Shasta several times, Oregon, Utah, upstate California. What I cherish most about that is having time to simply be together and to just enjoy each other without all the [noise] of our lives.

Willow, you're pretty intelligent. You have more of a handle on today's world than even I. I'm just waiting for you to continue to show me how to get through this new world.

I love you.

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