For all intents and purposes, Tara Reid should have a more prestigious career. She had all the makings of a success story: beauty, ambition, and acting skills. Somewhere along the line though, Tara’s career ended its upward trajectory and started a nosedive. Her fall from grace has been sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking, but always concerning.
From humble beginnings, her star started rising when she was just six years old. She scored commercial work and a coveted spot on a popular children’s game show, Child’s Play. Her first feature film was A Return to Salem’s Lot, a 1987 film written by both Stephen King and Larry Cohen. She was cute and bubbly but, most importantly, she was driven to succeed.
After she landed a role on Saved by the Bell: The New Class, she moved to Hollywood and started working on Days of Our Lives. In 1996, she scored a role on another television series, this one the short-lived sitcom California Dreams. After that, it was uphill for a long while. Believe it or not, Tara Reid was once a young Hollywood ingénue, highly sought after and offered juicy roles. Her girl-next-door good looks and peppy demeanor were a hot commodity.
So, how did Tara Reid, star of so many popular films, end up in Sharknado and its subsequent sequels? The following documents Tara’s fall from grace. Some of what’s happened to her is due to poor film choices and bad timing, but most of her failures are self-inflicted. She made a series of terrible choices, such as flashing her nipples on the red carpet, and was frequently drunk in public. This is the story of Tara Reid’s misbegotten behavior and poor career decisions.
15. She Played Characters With No Range And Little Depth
Her first major motion picture was 1998’s The Big Lebowski. Tara was 23 years old when she landed the role of Bunny, the pool-side trophy wife of the film’s much older antagonist. Lebowski would mark the first time Tara was type-casted as a dumb blonde, a sex symbol without substance. It wasn’t a role which worked for her, but once she stepped into it, it was nearly impossible to break free.
In her non-mainstream films, such as Girl, Tara was able to play supporting roles that didn’t objectify her sexually or make her seem boring or insipid, but these roles were not in major motion pictures. What Big Hollywood was offering wasn’t a chance to join the ranks of future Academy Award winners, but to join the ranks of non-memorable supporting cast and babes-in-waiting.
She unremarkably supported Hollywood A-listers in Dr T & The Women and played an idiotic sex symbol in Josie and the Pussycats. It seemed she would yo-yo between these tropes forever, which would have been a good thing if she’d continued to score popular supporting roles, such as her work in American Pie and My Bosses Daughter, but she didn’t.
14. She Got Engaged To Carson Daly
From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Carson Daly and Tara Reid were in a serious relationship, one that started when she was a guest on his show, Total Request Live. For you older millennials, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sweet, bubbly post-American Pie star and America’s radio-on-TV sweetheart were an item we frequently saw together on the MTV stage. And, we hated them… Well, at least my adolescent-self hated them.
This was the start of Tara getting right in the faces of everyone. She is an OG-fame-whore, but people resented that sort of behavior back then. If you’re like me, then you found their relationship nauseating and indulgent, and TRL sucked because they never played the full song. It almost seemed like Carson and Tara’s engagement was a song on TRL because it ended almost as soon as it began.
The whole thing marked the beginning of Tara over publicizing her personal life. She overdid it with Carson. No one needed to see the interior of the apartment they shared in New York City. They weren’t even home, but MTV shared that video anyway. It was her first brush with overexposure, and too bad she got addicted.
13. She Couldn’t Pronounce Newfoundland
Alone in the Dark is a Uwe Boll film, and that should tell you very clearly the film sucks. It’s basically unwatchable, but that didn’t stop people from tuning in to watch Tara Reid attempt to pronounce “Newfoundland,” a province whose name she completely butchered. She pronounced it by fully enunciating the spelling, as in New-found-land; instead of the correct way, which is New-feun-land.
The media dragged poor Tara for being improperly cast as a scientist. The film itself was a total low-budget bomb. Plenty of low-budget films are popular, such as Clerks or Mad Max, but Alone in the Dark wasn’t well-made (like almost everything Uwe Boll has directed or starred in). No one on set bothered to yell “cut” when Tara mispronounced Newfoundland, it was left in the movie; either everyone was just as confused as Tara about the pronunciation or this was sabotage. Lots of scenes that should have been cut were left in this disaster of a film, including that characters are wearing bandages one minute, but not the next, only to be seen with the bandages on again. Do everyone a favor Uwe Boll, and stop making movies.
12. Publicizing Her Personal Life Killed Her Career
Since the early 2000s, Tara has been known to leak information about herself to the press. She feeds salacious information to fuel her star power, but the whole thing backfired on her. This seemed to affect the movie roles she was offered; maybe because her behavior was viewed as busy and erratic by industry professionals.
She publicly discussed her split from Carson Daly. She told CosmoGirl that the breakup left her too heartsick to eat, but that she was moving on. Then, she admitted to asking her agent to introduce her to Tom Brady, stating “I definitely want a boyfriend.” This is the sort of verbal vitriol that shook the public’s opinion of her.
Sometimes, she lied to the press. Her publicist claimed she married Danish businessman Michael Lillelund in a quickie marriage in Greece. Never happened. Lillelund was dumbfounded and told the press he hadn’t had contact with Tara in more than six months. Her antics continue to this day, and it still doesn’t play well for her. She frequently gets into public feuds or reveals too much about her personal life, such as when she recently argued with Jenny McCarthy on her SiriusXM radio show when she refused to answer questions about a recent stint on VH1’s Marriage Boot Camp.
11. Audiences Weren’t Wild On Tara
Taradise (which began as Wild On! Tara) may have been set in paradise, but the whole show felt more like paradise lost than a voyeuristic look at the good life. The show sensualized Tara’s wild, romantic, jet-set, party-girl lifestyle. It focused more on Tara and her squad than the destinations she visited, and it was canceled after a single season. It simply didn’t resonate with audiences.
Perhaps Tara does deserve a bit of recognition for being one of the first celebs brave enough to get drunk while reality television cameras rolled. What star in today’s Hollywood hasn’t exploited the public eye using controversy and shocking acts of wild behavior? Unfortunately for Tara, she’s not obtained the icon-like status she deserves for being among the first to embark into the embarrassing world of total exposure. By today’s standards the show would have been wickedly popular, but 2005 wasn’t ready for Tara Reid. Entertainment Weekly said the show pushed “the limits of trashy,” and called her a “Jacuzzi floozy.”
10. She Is Frequently Intoxicated In Public
Tara Reid doesn’t shy away from public intoxication, which is to say she’s fallen on her butt a few times in front of paparazzi cameras. She’s kind of a drunk troublemaker, frequently caught on tape very intoxicated and slurring her words. What started as recreational partying quickly developed into a problem, and in 2009 she completed a sixty-day rehab stint for alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, she has been caught drunk on camera many times since.
One of my favorite drunk Tara moments was on her show Taradise. At a fancy dinner in Monaco, she embarrassed herself by telling the other guests, “I need to get some ass…I need some booty. I’ve been out of America for months and I’m horny.” This is just one of many times that her lack of a filter has gotten her into trouble. She’s even had lots of feuds with other famous celebrities. She once said, “I make Jessica Simpson look like a rock scientist.” A rock scientist…
9. She Publicized A Number Of Plastic Surgery Mishaps
So many women in Hollywood opt for plastic surgery, but most don’t go public with their decision. Tara Reid is not most women. She was very forthcoming about the botched plastic surgeries she had. She wanted six-pack abs for an upcoming film, but the surgeon left her with a rippling, bumpy belly. Her breast augmentation was botched as well, resulting in a less than natural looking chest. “As a result, I couldn’t wear a bikini,” she said. “I lost a lot of work.”
Unfortunately, it was a difficult road to recovery. She ended up with a hernia, and she ended up needing many more surgeries to correct the problems. Not only was she targeted by the tabloids for having a less than perfect body, she reportedly lost work because of it. When you’re typecast as the sexy one, it probably does affect your work when you lose your sex appeal.
8. She Flashed Everyone On The Red Carpet
According to Tara Reid, her infamous nip-slip was a total accident. She was strutting the red carpet in a slinky black dress, and the strap just happened to fall, freeing her entire left breast for a full 10 seconds. The paparazzi had a field day, and there are many pictures of Tara’s one breast online. Tara was reportedly very angry at the paparazzi for publishing the photos, and more so at the media for teasing her relentlessly. If you ask me, the whole thing seemed staged, but Tara insists it wasn’t.
The strangest thing about Tara’s nip-slip is that other starlets immediately started copying her. Nips and other naughty bits started slipping out all over Hollywood, conveniently while paparazzi were nearby to capture the nudity on camera. It seems Tara is a trendsetter. She basically started the celebrity flashing trend, and it lasted a few years; however, Tara received little of the fandom other stars garnered for this publicity stunt.
7. She Started Racking Up The Razzie Nominations
If you’re unfamiliar with the Razzies, they’re basically the opposite of an Academy Award. They’re given to the worst movies of the year, and Tara was nominated for a few of them. She was nominated, but did not win, the Razzie for Worst Actress in 2005. Unsurprisingly, this was for her work on Alone in the Dark, so she deserved it.
She also received nominations for her role in My Boss’s Daughter, the 2003 rom-com she costarred in with Ashton Kutcher. Lots of actors and actresses win them for romantic comedies, so no big deal right? Unfortunately for Tara, she was once again dragged in the media for being nominated. For My Boss’s Daughter, she was nominated for Worst Screen Couple and Worst Supporting Actress. She’s never actually won a Razzie.
She did win a Stinker Award, which is another bad film award ceremony. The Stinkers aren’t as well known as The Razzies; still few stars are proud to have won one. Tara won Worst Actress for her role in Alone in the Dark, and there’s no defending that movie or her acting, so the award is justified.
6. She Very Publicly Feuded With Paris And Lindsay
People started really noticing Kim Kardashian when she became Paris Hilton’s new BFF. For Tara Reid, this meant she was sent packing. Paris is a notorious mean girl, and once snubbed Tara outside Hyde nightclub. Tara was denied entry, saw Paris and Kim and called out, but they kept on walking. The whole thing is available on TMZ if you want to take a stroll down memory lane. It’s a bit depressing. Can you imagine seeing your best friend out with a new bestie, and then when you say ‘hello’ she just snubs you?
Lindsay Lohan was another one-time friend of Tara’s. The two had a falling out, and Tara bashed Lindsay in the media. She called Lindsay a mean drunk and said, “She should probably stop driving now. She crashed one of my friend’s cars… This girl gets chance after chance after chance.” This mean girl behavior didn’t win her many friends in Hollywood; although, it’s not the worst thing anyone’s ever said about Lindsay Lohan.
5. Her Role In Sharknado Further Embarrasses Her
Sharknado, aptly nicknamed “the most terribly good movie of the summer,” was 2013’s surprise hit. Tara stars alongside Ian Ziering in the Sci Fi B-movie. The film is totally absurd, and sort of makes fun of its cast, specifically it exploits their suffering star power. Neither Tara nor Ian had much of a career in 2013, needed the money, so took the role that was offered them.
When asked about the popularity of the movie Tara told HLNTV, “I’m just as stunned as everyone else. Come on, I did it as a joke! I didn’t even think anyone was going to see it.” Luckily for Tara, her decision to act in another truly terrible film actually made her some money this time around. Sharknado has a dedicated following, has spurned a couple sequels, and even inspired her to release a Sharknado-inspired fragrance. Good for her, but she shouldn’t expect too many roles in feature films after this.
4. She Is Extremely Thin
To promote Sharknado 4, Tara Reid was present at several Comic-Con events in 2016. She debuted a svelte frame that many in the media have called “too skinny.” Countless websites and gossip magazines showed before-and-after photos comparing her body to her younger days. Although there is a difference, she’s definitely skinnier now, it’s only a slight difference.
Yes, she is very skinny, but she claims to be healthy. She told TMZ, “I’m just a small-boned girl…I eat. I eat, I eat. Some people that eat too much, you yell at them that they’re fat. You want to get mad at me because I’m skinny? Great, get mad at me. I am what I am.” She admitted in another interview that the commentary on her weight hurts her feelings. “I’m a human,” she said. “If you cut me I bleed. I’m just like everyone else.” For that, I will not call her “scary skinny” like other rags have speculated, but say that if she’s comfortable with her weight then that’s what matters.
3. She Freaked Out On Marriage Bootcamp
Tara Reid should not have signed on for VH1’s Marriage Bootcamp. She’s not married, and trying to fake a relationship for cameras doesn’t work. If she was winning back some of her audience’s trust with Sharknado, she lost it all when she faked a relationship in an obvious cash grab. The whole thing was a train wreck, but not nearly as fun to watch as her other train wreck reality show, Taradise.
Tara Reid and Dean May weren’t a couple. This was all revealed over the course of the show, and it wasn’t entertaining in the least. Tara was off the rails. She seemed to freak out whenever the camera was pointed at her, which isn’t odd for her if you consider her history of erratic behavior and substance abuse. It simply was a sad performance, and it’s unlikely to lead to more reality show appearances. She should have stuck to what she’s good at: drinking and flirting.
2. She Publicly Beefed With Jenny McCarthy
Instead of just owning up to her fake relationship with Dean May, Tara decided the smart route was just to stop talking about it. While promoting Sharknado 4, Jenny McCarthy asked Tara about her role on Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars. She wasn’t mean about it, and complimented the show. “I f—king love that show,” she said. “Are you glad you did it?” asked McCarthy. Tara shut her down immediately, and refused to discuss the show which led to a war of words.
At the end of the interview, McCarthy told Tara she hoped her knees “get more wobbly than they already are.” Tara then insulted McCarthy’s breast augmentation by suggesting McCarthy’s surgeon was the same one who botched Tara’s boob job. More public feuding isn’t what Tara needs right now, but it seems to be what she gets everywhere she goes. Although, I think this feud could have been avoided if Tara was just straight up about her relationship with Dean, which wasn’t a relationship at all.
1. The Sharknado 3 The Audience Votes On Whether She Lives Or Dies
To get the Twittersphere tweeting, the people behind Sharknado 3 came up with an interesting gimmick. At the end of the movie, Fans were asked to vote if Tara’s character, April Wexler, lived or died. Will she or won’t she come back for Sharknado 4 was the question, and it worked to get people talking about a dying franchise again. There were a lot of votes and it got a lot of people talking, but it was yet another jab at the popularity, or lack thereof, of Tara Reid.
Tara’s fans didn’t let her down; she collected another Sharknado paycheck. She starred in Sharknado 4, which premiered on SyFy on July 31st, 2016. She survived because Tara is nothing if not a survivor. It seems that she gets knocked down quite a bit, but she always gets up. It’s up to you whether or not you think that’s a good thing, but if you ask me I’m glad she moves on.
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