Taryn O’Neill’s Adventures in Badassdome


What an adventure to be blogging within the realm of so many talented and inspiring women! As this is my first official post, written directly for Ms. In The Biz, I wanted to introduce myself: My name is Taryn, I’m a storyteller both in front of and behind the camera, I’ve been in the entertainment industry for over 10 years…. and I’m badass.

badasspicI include that descriptive because it will be the central spine throughout these posts. But why badass? (Especially as it’s such an overused term of late.) The traditional definition of it reflects a person who is aggressive, difficult, uncooperative. That might be me on a really bad day thanks to LA traffic and hormones. But the ‘urban’ definition gives it only positive characteristics: ‘the epitome of the American male, confident, rugged, strong.’ I connect with all these adjectives… except that my version of ‘badass’ happens to be synonymous with all my favorite female characters: Ripley, Sarah Connor, Wonder Woman, Buffy, Clarice Starling. These characters are rebels, breaking the constraints of a patriarchal society, sole survivors put to Herculean tests. They see the world through revolutionary goggles, one that regular society is not yet prepared to face. They look into the face of evil and not only survive but triumph… and in Clarice’s case, understand it, even empathize.  These were the characters, that as an actress five years ago, I was desperate to play. I connected with them, but only from a removed ‘they fill the void in me’ kind of way.  I used to feel like I would never be a ‘success’ until I stepped into the fictionalized shoes of such fierce female characters. But some muse from the ether burrowed into my brain and brought forth an epiphany. If I was so desperate to play a badass character on camera, I needed to become one myself. And in taking that first step towards a ‘physical’ transformation, I unknowingly  changed my orbit and moved into an exciting, should I even say enlightened and empowered, trajectory in my life… that I will now be sharing and building upon with you.

Let me come clean, I actually wear a lot of J.Crew. I have a knack for playing a warm and loving mom on TV and commercials. I love Instagramming sunsets and drinking pinot grigio. The only outwardly ‘badass’ thing I do is train in martial arts. And I like hockey, wear combat boots, love EDM, drink whisky, can drive a stick shift and shoot a gun. So sue me, I’m a Gemini. But badass for me is really a state of mind. Over the past four years, I have grown into a woman who is confident in herself and her choices, no matter how many times I have been challenged by the status quo (settle down, have kids, give up on acting, get a real job — sound familiar?) But it didn’t just happen over night.

I would like to say that the genesis of my rebirth was diving into the New Media world. When I first started acting, my manager at the time told me to ‘dumb down’ and lie about my age. I wasn’t supposed to let ‘the biz’ know that I was smart and already in my mid 20s. But when I started producing webseries, I suddenly was expected to wear multiple hats, be a strong producer, promoter/marketer, as well as an actress in the show. Suddenly, I had control and power, my intelligence validated, and it was like this infusion of pure oxygen to my brain. The phone was no longer the enemy (ie. just waiting for it to ring), it was a powerful tool. And then, in being immersed in this fledgling digital world, the phone became a portal because of social media… so by proxy, I started blogging, tweeting, developing a voice that I was willing to share with whomever stumbled upon my page. And this lead me to having the confidence to create ‘my brand’ which then inspired the badass… which then trickled into my creative life. I finally had the courage to write my first script, and most importantly, I started giving attention to the random big ideas that would pop into my head. This lead me to start studying science as these larger questions of life and existence started becoming part of my everyday. And I found the confidence, not to push those overwhelming questions aside, but to be excited by them, have them challenge and define me. And then one day, very recently, I realized that I was as fulfilled by who I am and the journey that I’m on, than by any other character that I could play in a movie. That’s a bold statement, and I don’t feel that way everyday, but I’m becoming the best character I could ever hope to play. Saving the earth from an alien invasion would just be icing on a very large cake.

I want you to become the best character that you could ever hope to play, write or imagine. My goal here on this site, the job that I am entrusting myself with, is to challenge and inspire you to do so.  Half of my posts will be ‘T and Her Brain’ curated lists of articles and videos, usually within the science and technological realm, that I have found inspiring, enlightening, educational… usually all of the above. They won’t be related to Hollywood or getting an agent (though some might be), but they will definitely spur your brain to think on something that you don’t normally stumble upon in your day to day, something awe inspiring that will give you a quick insight into mankind’s exciting future, thus help your own personal journey, whether you are involved in entertainment & media or not. The other posts will be my original musings. You can check out some of my first ones on my old blogger page. The one thing that you will notice about my posts, is that they came together out of seemingly incongruous thoughts. It’s usually the events/ ideas/ theories that have to find me and dance around my brain before my ‘ah ha’ moment for a post. I never know where they will come from. That means that I am especially open to YOU and your brain, to your thoughts, questions and musings. I love to tackle huge ideas, the meaning of it all, so think of me as your existential sticky board.

And now I take my leave, but am excited to ‘see’ you all next week as I will be blogging weekly. (Please make me blog weekly by leaving comments and interacting, I can be an awful procrastinator). I look forward to continuing my badass journey — and whatever ‘badass’ will come to mean in yours — with all of you.