Tara Moss

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Tara Moss
Born (1973-10-02) 2 October 1973 (age 42)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Website taramoss.com

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


Moss was born to parents of Dutch descent – her grandparents had escaped from Nazi-occupied Holland – in Victoria, British Columbia, where she also attended school. Moss's mother Janni died of multiple myeloma in 1990 at age 43.[4] Her mother was one of the first 100 patients in the world to be treated for the cancer with a bone marrow transplant. The main character in Moss's crime series, Mak Vanderwall, lost her mother to the same form of cancer.

Moss began modelling at age 14, with frequent trips to Europe from the age of 16, 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] She recounts that she received little support. He was eventually charged with raping about a dozen women but was only convicted for another rape because his friends testified against him, then jailed for two years.

After marriages to the Canadian Martin Legge and to the Australian actor Mark Pennell,[7] she married Australian poet and philosopher Dr Berndt Sellheim,[8] grandson of German-Australian artist Gert Sellheim in 2009. Moss gave birth to a daughter, Sapphira, on 22 February 2011.[9] She has lived in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney in New South Wales since 2009.

Moss is a UNICEF Ambassador for Child Survival,[10] a Goodwill Ambassador, and UNICEF Australia Patron for Breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Heath Initiative (BFHI)). Since 2000 she has been an ambassador for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.[11] She is currently (2014) a PhD candidate at the Department of gender and cultural studies at the University of Sydney.[12]

Writing and career[edit]

Moss's chief professions are novelist, TV presenter and journalist. Her books are published in 18 countries in 12 languages and include the internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed[13] series of six crime novels featuring a feminist heroine, Makedde Vanderwall: Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit, Siren and Assassin.[14] 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".[15] The book has received critical acclaim,[16] with Dr Clare Wright writing, 'Moss is a serious thinker.' [17]

Her writing has appeared in the Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Daily Telegraph, TheHoopla[18] and more.

Moss is an outspoken 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,[19] and as of 2013 has taken on a larger role as UNICEF’s National Ambassador for Child Survival.[20]

She is known for her in-depth novel research, which has included touring the FBI and LAPD,[21] shooting firearms, being set on fire, being choked unconscious by Ultimate Fighter 'Big' John McCarthy,[22] flying with the Royal Australian Air Force, spending time in morgues and courtrooms and obtaining a licence as a private investigator.[23] She has also been a race car driver (CAMS), and holds a motorcycle licence and wildlife/snake-handling licence.[24] 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.[25]

Moss hosts the true crime television series Tough Nuts – Australia's Hardest Criminals[26] on the Crime & Investigation Network, and Tara Moss in Conversation[27] on the 13th Street channel. She previously hosted the crime documentary series Tara Moss Investigates, shown on the National Geographic Channel in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

  • Tough Nuts – Host (2009–2012),[28]
  • Tara in Conversation – Host (2010–2012)[29]
  • Tara Moss Investigates (2006)[30]

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


  • Fetish (1999)
  • Split (2002)
  • Covet (2004)
  • Hit (2006)
  • Siren (2009)
  • The Blood Countess (2010)
  • The Spider Goddess (2011)
  • Assassin (2012)
  • The Skeleton Key (2012)
  • The Fictional Woman (2014)

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"


  • 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[31] and the first person inducted for services to literature[32]
  • Listed as one of the top 20 most influential women in Australia (2012)[33]
  • Listed as one of Australia's most inspiring women by Women's Health magazine (2013)[34]
  • Listed as one of the 8 'Women Who Made 2014 Better' (2014) by Cosmopolitan magazine[35]
  • Listed in the international top 10 Influential Women of 2014[36]
  • Awarded for Outstanding Advocacy 2014 for the blog Manus Island: An Insider's Report [37]


  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. ^ "Tara Moss gathers husband No.3", The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2009
  8. ^ "Tara Moss gathers husband No.3", The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2009
  9. ^ Tara Moss welcomes baby girl, ABC News, 24 February 2011
  10. ^ http://www.unicef.org.au/Discover/News/September-2013/UNICEF-Australia-National-Ambassadors-Tweet-to-rai.aspx
  11. ^ List of ambassadors, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
  12. ^ "Under the skin" by Susan Wyndham, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2014
  13. ^ List of international book reviews
  14. ^ HarperCollins Publishers
  15. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/next-chapter-mustread-books-for-2014-20140102-306j8.html
  16. ^ http://taramoss.com/book/fictional-woman/
  17. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/tara-moss-memoire-base-for-personal-investigation-of-feminist-issues-20140707-zsw33.html
  18. ^ Tara Moss at TheHoopla
  19. ^ http://www.babyfriendly.org.au/meet-tara-moss/
  20. ^ http://www.unicef.org.au/Discover/News/September-2013/UNICEF-Australia-National-Ambassadors-Tweet-to-rai.aspx
  21. ^ Moss talks about her crime research on YouTube
  22. ^ Randomhouse Publishers, Germany
  23. ^ Tara Moss biography
  24. ^ A couple of interviews with Demetrius Romeo
  25. ^ http://taramoss.com/manus-island-insiders-report/
  26. ^ Tough Nuts, hosted by Tara Moss
  27. ^ Tara Moss in Conversation
  28. ^ Tough Nuts at the Internet Movie Database
  29. ^ "Tara in Conversation – Val McDermid
  30. ^ Tara Moss Investigates at the Internet Movie Database
  31. ^ List of past induction ceremonies
  32. ^ Interview on Spanish Television
  33. ^ The 20 Most Influential Female Voices of 2012 by Sarah Oakes, Daily Life Fairfax Media, 11 December 2012
  34. ^ Australia's Most Inspiring Women
  35. ^ The women who made 2014 better
  36. ^ Influential Women of 2014 by Cairns Post, 20 December 2014
  37. ^ Outstanding Advocacy 2014

External links[edit]