Girl Crush: Tara Lynne Barr
In this series, we ask our favorite ladies the basics: what’s fun, who’s cute, and which movie is the best movie literally ever.
“I feel like an old person, to be honest,” Tara Lynne Barr says, smiling across an almond milk latte. “You know what I mean? I can totally see myself living in Pasadena.” I laugh, but I actually have no idea what she means. And not just because the Orange County native and on-the-rise actress isn’t old enough to rent a car, but also because the second she walked into the Toluca Lake bakery where we’d agreed to meet, it was like a force of bounding, audacious, (refreshingly un-Hollywood) nature had sliced through the otherwise stodgy crowd of monochromatic quiche-nibblers.
The girl is spunky—not the type I’d peg for Pasadena.
But as we talk, I start to see where she was going with that. As whimsical and candid as Barr is (“I’m really hating it; I’m only in it for the clear skin,” she tells me plainly of her three-day stint as a vegan), the impish sparkle in her eye is matched with a sophistication and wit beyond her years. And that intelligence is reflected in her work—after playing Roxy Harmon, the sociopathic and yet delightful high school psycho-killer in the film God Bless America, she’s taken on an equally adult and complex (if less horrifying) role as Laura, the sexually irreverent and inscrutable teenager, offering her mom condoms and dating advice on Hulu’s Casual. But the darkness that links her characters is all but undetectable as we girl talk over omelets in a corner booth, and within minutes I realize I’m subconsciously trying to make her be my friend. She’s that personable, that relatable, and that much damn fun.
Your name: What I like to go by is Tara Barr, but I guess professionally I’m Tara Lynne Barr.
Best and worst part of what you do: The best part is the process of creating: being on set and physically making something come together. Worst part of what I do is the press stuff. Red carpets make me super uncomfortable—it’s like pulling teeth. Standing there while a bunch of mostly-dudes are taking your picture, yelling at you to smile, and you’re trying to make a cute face but trying not to look like you’re trying to make a cute face—it’s the least natural thing you could possibly do. I don’t trust anyone who feels comfortable on a red carpet.
What’s your dream vacay and have you already taken it? No, I haven’t taken it. My dream vacay is to do a road trip across the country—specifically, through the south. I want to hit New Orleans, Memphis, Austin, and Nashville. Just a really good road trip with really good music, good drinks, and good company. And no rain—it needs to not rain.
Who in history do you wish you could have been? This is a terrible answer because her life was so painful for the most part, but Frida Kahlo. She had such an insane mind—which is why it may have been totally dark and miserable—but to have that level of creativity where you’re incapable of keeping it in, that’s so beautiful and poetic.
Favorite city: I really love Los Angeles, but I’d have to say that my favorite city to travel to is Austin. It’s a blend of everything I love about this country—it has this down-home, unpretentious feel, but it’s also progressive-minded and creative. That’s sort of how I see myself, as a blend of those things.
Current crush: I watched Amadeus for the first time—which I know is terrible because it’s been around forever and it’s, ya know, a masterpiece—but Tom Hulce as Amadeus… you know what it is? I don’t crush on people who are perfect-looking or perfect-behaving, and his role in that movie is totally uncouth and lacking in social graces, but he’s so adorable and he’s got this lazy eye. Anytime I crush on someone, it’s over something other people might see as a flaw, but I find endearing. I’ll see a guy and be like, “Look at those bushy eyebrows—hell-o.”
What one thing in your closet are you currently coveting? I got this dress at Wasteland, and it’s honestly a sack—it’s gray, and lacy, and way too big for me. But I looked at the tag, and the brand was called Evil Twin, and I was like, “Hell yes I’m buying this! So what if it makes me look like I’m potentially homeless? I love it.”
Where’s the best time every time? I love The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset [Blvd.]. It’s a metal bar—like old, leathery rockers who peaked in the ‘80s. It’s not my scene at all, but I went there for my 21st birthday, and every time I’ve gone since it’s always the best, even though I feel wildly out of place. I take people there because I like to give the impression that I’m a huge Metallica fan, which is totally not true.
Greatest movie of all time: This is going to make me sound like a college boy, but The Godfather is for sure the greatest movie of all time. Take it or leave it—but as a film, just the way it’s shot, written, and acted—it’s the best.
Favorite song of all time: That is so hard. Maybe “Lovely Rita” off of Sgt. Pepper because it encapsulates pathos and fun and technical proficiency—it’s something I could listen to over and over again.
Childhood memory that makes you the most nostalgic: I was in a kind of Girl Scouts called “Indian Princesses”—I know, I know, it was totally culturally insensitive, and it’s not a thing anymore, but the unique thing about it was that instead of being girls with their moms, it was girls with their dads. We did a lot of camping trips—one in particular was at the Kiwanis Club, which has this little park where you could also go camping. I remember hanging out there with my sister and our friends, and all the dads were there watching the fight, smoking cigars, eating Doritos. It was really the best.
Who would you die to work with? Frances McDormand. She’s honestly the coolest. I was just looking up pictures of her this morning… ya know, just because I needed a boost for the day, and seeing her on red carpets—I told you, I’m pretty miserable on red carpets, but she does not give one fuck about those photographers. I remember her at the Emmys last year when she won for Olive Kitteridge: everyone else who won was like, “Thank you so much, I’m so frazzled and so adorable,” and she got up and basically credited her writers and that was it. No ego, no pretention. She’s just the coolest chick.
What’s on the horizon for you? Season 2 of Casual just started last month, and I fucking love it. I’m usually not the person to brag about things I do, but I’m so in love with our writers, and our producers, and our crew; I honestly cannot say nicer things about them, and I think this season is going to be really spectacular.