Tara Moss

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Tara Moss
Born (1973-10-02) 2 October 1973 (age 45)
  • Martin Legge
    (m. 1995; div. 1997)
  • Mark Pennell
    (m. 2004; div. 2006)
  • Berndt Sellheim
    (m. 2009)

Tara Moss (born 2 October 1973) is a Canadian-Australian author, documentary maker and presenter, journalist, former model and UNICEF national ambassador for child survival.[1][2][3]


Moss was born in Victoria, British Columbia, where she also attended school. Moss's mother Janni died of multiple myeloma in 1990 at age 43.[4]

Moss began modelling at age 14, but did not stay long in the profession.[5] At age 21, as detailed in The Fictional Woman (2014), she was raped in Vancouver by a known assailant, a Canadian actor.[6]

After marriages to the Canadian Martin Legge and to the Australian actor Mark Pennell,[7] she married Australian poet and philosopher Dr. Berndt Sellheim.[7] Moss gave birth to a daughter, Sapphira, on 22 February 2011.[8] She lives in New South Wales.

Moss is a UNICEF Ambassador for Child Survival,[9] a has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007. Since 2000 she has been an ambassador for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.[10] She is currently (2014) a PhD candidate at the Department of gender and cultural studies at the University of Sydney.[11]

Writing and career[edit]

Moss's books are published in 18 countries in 12 languages and include the internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed[12] series of six crime novels featuring a feminist heroine, Makedde Vanderwall: Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit, Siren and Assassin.[13] Her first non-fiction book, The Fictional Woman was published in June 2014, became a #1 bestselling non-fiction book, and is listed by The Sydney Morning Herald as a "must-read".[14] The book has received critical acclaim,[15] with Dr Clare Wright writing, 'Moss is a serious thinker.' [16]

Her writing has appeared in the Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Daily Telegraph, TheHoopla[17] and more.

Moss is an advocate for the rights of women and children. She has been an ambassador for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 2000 and has hosted their annual charity flight for over a decade. She has also been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 and UNICEF Patron for Breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Heath Initiative (BFHI) since 2011,[18] and as of 2013 has taken on a larger role as UNICEF’s National Ambassador for Child Survival.[9]

She is known for her novel research, which has included touring the FBI and LAPD,[19] shooting firearms, being set on fire, being choked unconscious by Ultimate Fighter 'Big' John McCarthy,[20] flying with the Royal Australian Air Force, spending time in morgues and courtrooms and obtaining a licence as a private investigator.[21] She has also been a race car driver (CAMS), and holds a motorcycle licence and wildlife/snake-handling licence.[22] In 2014 she was recognised for Outstanding Advocacy for her blog Manus Island: An insider’s report, which helped to break information to the public about the events surrounding the alleged murder of Reza Barati inside the Australian-run Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre.[23]

Moss hosts and acted as executive producer and writer of Cyberhate with Tara Moss on the ABC in 2017, hosted two seasons of the true crime television series Tough Nuts – Australia's Hardest Criminals[24] on the Crime & Investigation Network, and Tara Moss in Conversation[25] on the 13th Street channel. She also previously hosted the crime documentary series Tara Moss Investigates on the National Geographic Channel.

  • Cyberhate with Tara Moss – Host, Executive Producer, Writer (2017),[26]
  • Tough Nuts – Host (2009–2012)[27]
  • Tara in Conversation – Host (2010–2012)[28]
  • Tara Moss Investigates – Host (2006)[29]

She voiced the character of Dr. Samantha Twelvetrees in the 1995 video game Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The Riddle of Master Lu.



Makedde Vanderwall series

  • Fetish (1999)
  • Split (2002)
  • Covet (2004)
  • Hit (2006)
  • Siren (2009)
  • Assassin (2012)

Pandora English series

  • The Blood Countess (2010)
  • The Spider Goddess (2011)
  • The Skeleton Key (2012)


  • The Fictional Woman (2014)
  • Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook For Women and Girls (2016)

Short stories[edit]

  • "Psycho Magnet" (Winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Young Writers' Award in 1998)
  • "Know your ABCs" (Second place winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award in 1999)
  • "Intuition" (2003)

Contributed chapter[edit]

  • "Women destroy the joint", pp. 57-62, in: Destroying the joint, edited by Jane Caro, Read How You Want (2015, ISBN 9781459687295).


  • Scarlet Stiletto Young Writers Award (1998)
  • Shortlisted several times for the Ned Kelly Awards and the Davitt Award
  • Bronze star on the Australian Walk of Fame[30] and the first person inducted for services to literature[31]
  • Listed as one of the top 20 most influential women in Australia (2012)[32]
  • Listed as one of Australia's most inspiring women by Women's Health magazine (2013)[33]
  • Listed as one of the 8 'Women Who Made 2014 Better' (2014) by Cosmopolitan magazine[34]
  • Listed in the international top 10 Influential Women of 2014[35]
  • Awarded for Outstanding Advocacy 2014 for the blog Manus Island: An Insider's Report [36]
  • Awarded the 2015 Edna Ryan Award for encouraging others to challenge the status quo[37]
  • Awarded the Order of Lambrick Park[38]
  • Recognised as one of the Global Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, for using her position in public life to make a positive impact in diversity, alongside Malala Yousufzai, Angelina Jolie, Bernie Sanders, Emma Watson, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet and more, 2017. [39]


  1. ^ "UNICEF Australia National Ambassadors Tweet to raise awareness of preventable child deaths", UNICEF Australia, 13 September 2013
  2. ^ HMMG biography
  3. ^ "Australian Female Models" ISBN 9781157542124
  4. ^ Tara Moss: Mum-To-Be, Who, 14 December 2010
  5. ^ http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/beauty-with-a-brain-tara-moss-continues-to-push-boundaries/story-fnhocxo3-1226927056199
  6. ^ http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-culture/tara-moss-i-kept-the-story-locked-up-in-me-for-20-years-20140516-38ecg.html
  7. ^ a b "Tara Moss gathers husband No.3", The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2009
  8. ^ Tara Moss welcomes baby girl, ABC News, 24 February 2011
  9. ^ a b http://www.unicef.org.au/Discover/News/September-2013/UNICEF-Australia-National-Ambassadors-Tweet-to-rai.aspx
  10. ^ List of ambassadors, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
  11. ^ "Under the skin" by Susan Wyndham, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2014
  12. ^ List of international book reviews Archived 22 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ HarperCollins Publishers Archived 8 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/next-chapter-mustread-books-for-2014-20140102-306j8.html
  15. ^ http://taramoss.com/book/fictional-woman/
  16. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/tara-moss-memoire-base-for-personal-investigation-of-feminist-issues-20140707-zsw33.html
  17. ^ Tara Moss at TheHoopla
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Moss talks about her crime research on YouTube
  20. ^ Randomhouse Publishers, Germany Archived 8 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Tara Moss biography
  22. ^ A couple of interviews with Demetrius Romeo
  23. ^ http://taramoss.com/manus-island-insiders-report/
  24. ^ Tough Nuts Archived 16 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Tara Moss in Conversation Archived 13 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Tough Nuts on IMDb
  28. ^ "Tara in Conversation – Val McDermid
  29. ^ Tara Moss Investigates on IMDb
  30. ^ List of past induction ceremonies Archived 30 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Interview on Spanish Television
  32. ^ The 20 Most Influential Female Voices of 2012 by Sarah Oakes, Daily Life Fairfax Media, 11 December 2012
  33. ^ Australia's Most Inspiring Women
  34. ^ The women who made 2014 better
  35. ^ Influential Women of 2014 by Cairns Post, 20 December 2014
  36. ^ Outstanding Advocacy 2014
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ [3]
  39. ^ http://www.globaldiversitylist.com/2017-top-50-diversity-figures-in-public-life.html

External links[edit]