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Life & Work with Tara Moran

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Moran.

Hi Tara, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a native Angeleno, an actor, musician, filmmaker, and fashion enthusiast.

I was born in Whittier, CA to my local father and Asian-immigrant mother. We never had much, but it was a part of my unique upbringing. My identity was shaped by my multicultural heritage and the lovely people I grew up around in East Los Angeles.

I was creative from the moment I could walk. Home videos show me tickling the ivories of my Toys R Us keyboard and singing original songs I had made for my family members. I was also the cutest tap dancer and little ballerina you had ever seen.

My creative spirit soon blossomed during the darkest time in my life, Middle school is a difficult time in everyone’s life, but it was particularly hard in mine. I was bullied quite badly. I had ended up in the hospital, had incidents where police intervention was necessary, and even had to leave school., It was during this time that I found my deeper creative drive.

I was re-introduced to music and picked up as many instruments as I could, It was a time of great wonder and I finally settled on a few instruments. I fell in love with photography and fashion. I began to find still-frames of beauty in a seemly dull life.

In high school, I continued to explore. I kept playing music all through high school. I organized and attended concerts locally. I found my place playing string and electric bass. I then expanded into theatre and found my way back to the acting and dancing days of my youth. I continued my knack for fashion by interning at Nordstrom’s and getting firsthand experience of the industry.

My high school experience is what ultimately put me on the collegiate path I am on now. When applying, I did not have the support of my parents. Both of my parents are in the medical field and very little experience with those in the creative realm. My immigrant family was altogether disapproving of the choice of pursuit. I understand that they came from a place of struggle but I could not struggle through a career path that I was going to enjoy.

I applied to 6 schools, three as a film major and three as a music major. I chose Loyola Marymount University and the film major as well as a music minor. I felt like LMU has the perfect space for my creative cultivation. It has given me a bounty of opportunities to further myself as an actor, filmmaker, and musician. It was through my attendance at LMU that I secured an art show hosted by Vans (the shoe company) that showcased my photography.

When not in school, I have a job in the fashion industry because my creative aspirations are primarily self-funded. I attend various concerts and help friends by providing my services as a creative. I frequent film sets and regularly visit art museums. I find inspiration from everything around me. Easy to do when you live in L.A.

Much of this came to a halt during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Cameras stopped rolling. Bands stopped playing. I found very little avenue to express myself but have jumped at any opportunity for a safe reunion with the arts. I shot my junior thesis film during the first half of the pandemic with only myself, my boyfriend, and a camera.

Unfortunately, those efforts have been thwarted. In November, I had Reconstructive ACL surgery and in February, my great grandmother passed from her encounter with the coronavirus. My efforts were little during that time. Preoccupied with an intense recovery and a devastating loss in the family, I did very little creatively, I have since began to reemerge into the Los Angeles creative scene. I am halfway through a headshot/fashion shoot with another Los Angeles creative. I have booked myself on a few sets. I am also hoping to write and record an EP, shoot an avant garde art film, and begin the process of my senior thesis film.

I am excited to get back in front of and behind the camera, back on to stages, and back to the wonderful, artistic city that is Los Angeles.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a bumpy road. When I was first emerging, I received very little support from my family. They did not offer much financial or emotional support and left me to provide for my creative endeavors. They have come around and now offer more appreciation for what I do, but it took years of proving myself to finally win them over.

Having little money tends to complicate things but I do not find that to be entirely harmful. I feel I have learned many valuable lessons from having to stretch a dollar. However, it has left me shorthanded in college, particularly in what I can get for my projects and classes. I currently postponed my senior film because I do not have the money necessary to fund it.

Being a woman has also added roadblocks. In music in particular, I find I have to work extra hard to earn my place or prove myself worthy. There have been numerous auditions where my skills or achievements have been downplayed because I am a woman. I see this to a lesser extent in filmmaking, but I still get talked down to and feel the need to prove myself.

My surgery and the concurrent recovery process has prevented me from partaking in several crucial creative opportunities. I received modeling and acting offers that I had to refuse because my injury prevented participation. There’s no telling what those events could have opened doors to. Additionally, the depression that has resulted from an inability to walk and such put a pause on my creative endeavors. As I stated before, I am emerging from that and are more ready than ever to explore again.

I do not let my obstacles define me. I let them be learning lessons and help me grow creatively. My hardships have provided some of the most important inspiration for some of my best work. This career is not an easy one and I feel like these experiences allow me to be prepared for the future.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a multi-talented creative. I am an actor, musician, filmmaker, and fashion enthusiast.

I have acted in a couple of live theatre shows but have mostly done short, student films. In terms of music, I am a string and electric bass player. I have played classical music for four years, rock and funk for six years, and jazz for seven years. I have been on a number of small local projects as both a bass player and a backup singer. My filmmaking is mostly through LMU. I have been on a plethora of film sets, usually as a production designer. I have directed a few times but maintain that as a secondary option to production design. As a fashion enthusiast, I use my fashion experience in my production design because it often covers costume design and during my time as a model/stylist for the store, Popsikle Shop.

I am known as a hard, enthusiastic worker who can do any number of jobs. I’m a useful tool on any project. My varied skill set has gotten me a lot of creative jobs.

I am most proud of my art show with Vans. I was surprised when I received the opportunity to work with one of my long-time favorite brands. I was selected as one of two college creative students in the entire Los Angeles area to put on an immersive art show. I put on a polaroid photography and painting show that was attended by a lot of LMU students. I got a feature in the Vans newsletter and they paid for the entire show.

I am also proud of my participation in the music scene. I have photographed and promoted concerts promoted music and given my musical contributions to local music. As someone who understands the importance of exposure, I wanted to do everything I could to help those around me succeed as well.

I believe what sets me apart from others is my personality and my creative capabilities. Because I come from a diverse area and I am myself diverse, I have always been able to find common ground with people. My life has been filled with hardships, but it has made me a more relatable and understanding person. My unique set of creative choices has also contributed. My intimate knowledge of related arts have made me a useful connection and valuable asset. It makes me happy to connect people and foster more creative growth. I think that I have chosen the best way for me to maintain a diverse and fulfilling career.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Do not get defeated, most people are just as lost.

Prioritize yourself and make sure you come first.

Not everything you want to do has to please others.

Be okay with accepting opportunities you don’t absolutely love, they open doors to ones you do.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: tockytara

Image Credits:

2nd to bottom/left @miapolcyn bottom/right @ycc_cine

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