Tara Subkoff

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Tara Subkoff
Born Tara Lyn Subkoff
(1972-12-10) December 10, 1972 (age 42)
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
Occupation Artist, fashion designer, actress, director
Years active 1993 - present
Spouse(s) Urs Fischer (m. 2014)[2]

Tara Lyn Subkoff (born December 10, 1972) is an American actress, conceptual artist, director, and fashion designer. Touted as an "it girl" of the late 1990s,[3] Subkoff made her film debut in the thriller When the Bough Breaks (1994) opposite Martin Sheen, and has had supporting roles in As Good as It Gets (1997), The Last Days of Disco (1998), The Cell (2000), and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005).

In 2001, she co-founded an art collective-turned-fashion line, Imitation of Christ, which featured pieces hand-sewn solely from recycled vintage and thrift store clothing, and has since worked primarily as a conceptual artist. In 2014, she made her debut as a director with the horror film #Horror (2015), which was picked up for distribution by IFC Midnight.

Early life[edit]

Subkoff was born in Westport, Connecticut. Her father was an antiques dealer who owned an antique store on 13th Street in Manhattan, and her mother was a schoolteacher in East Harlem.[3] She grew up in what she described as a "bohemian" family,[4] and attended boarding school at the Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts. After graduation, she attended the Parsons School of Design, but dropped out within a year of enrolling.[3][5] She relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1991 to study acting, and took classes alongside Angelina Jolie and Keanu Reeves.[3]


Early acting: 1994-2000[edit]

Subkoff made her debut as an actress on television, appearing in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1994, followed by her feature film debut, a lead role in the 1994 crime thriller When the Bough Breaks, opposite Martin Sheen and Ron Perelman. In 1996, she had a minor supporting part in the film Freeway, and in the horror film Black Circle Boys (1997).

This was followed with lead roles in the drama All Over Me (1997), and the comedy Lover Girl (1997), co-starring Kristy Swanson. She had minor parts in As Good as It Gets (1997), Whit Stillman's The Last Days of Disco (1998), and an uncredited appearance in the 1999 teen sex comedy American Pie. She also appeared in a supporting role in the sci-fi-horror film The Cell (2000) with Jennifer Lopez and Vincent D'Onofrio.

Imitation of Christ: 2001-2011[edit]

In 2000, Subkoff began working on a project called Imitation of Christ with designer Matt Damhave, enlisting Chloë Sevigny as the project's creative director.[3] Originally conceived as an art project, it has been described as "DIY art collective misconstrued as a luxury fashion label."[6] Every piece of clothing in the line was sewn by hand and recycled from vintage, thrift and Goodwill shops. Subkoff created pieces of wearable art with her fashion shows which garnered her a cult following.[7] Models who wore the pieces for runway shows included actress Scarlett Johansson.[7][8]

Reflecting on the line, Subkoff said: “We were talking about waste, throwing things away, and taking something that’s old and making it new again, putting the human hand back into a world that wreaks of manufacturing. It felt very appropriate to do that in 2000."[6]

Subkoff and Damhave created four collections together, and the shows were described as "guerilla-style, at least as much performance art as they were about [Subkoff's] refashioned, hand-sewn vintage clothes,"[3] with the project's earliest exhibitions taking place in a funeral parlor in the Manhattan's East Village.[9] After Subkoff and Damhave parted ways, she continued to design pieces for the line through 2006. In 2007, Subkoff sold the label to Josh Sparks, the former chief executive of the Australian label Sass & Bide, for a reported $2 million.[9] The following year, in 2008, the label went out of business. In 2012, Subkoff revived the label and began working on more pieces, shortening the brand name to simply "Imitation."[9]

Other projects: 2012-present[edit]

Milla Jovovich in Subkoff's art installation Future/Perfect, 2013

In 2012, Subkoff created a ten-day art installation and continuous performance piece at the Carlton Festival of the Arts in São Paulo, Brazil.[6] She also conceptualized a performance piece in a group show curated by Dimitri Antonitsis in Hydra, Greece.

She exhibited a three hour long installation at the Bortolami Gallery in New York City during the 2012 New York Fashion Week titled "This is Not a Fashion Show," which featured a girl's choir in leotards performing “Carol of the Bells” (intimated as a "slight to Yuletide consumerism") and "performers aging from 8 to 70 pruned and posing in front of antique mirrors lining the gallery walls."[6] In explaining the idea behind the show, Subkoff said: "We are a society that only sells commodities. We do not create anything unless it's to be bought and sold, so the idea of doing something where there isn't a commodity to sell, or what the commodity is to sell is very confusing, is extremely interesting to me."[10]

In 2013, she collaborated with Milla Jovovich on a filmed installation in Venice, Italy titled "Future/Perfect," which had Jovovich enclosed in a glass house, surrounded by boxes with consumer logos, artwork, and clothing.[11]

Though working predominantly in art, Subkoff also had a minor appearance in the film, including Tanner Hall (2009) and Abandoned (2010), with Brittany Murphy. Subkoff made her directorial debut in 2014 with the horror film #Horror (2015), which details a group of wealthy adolescent girls who experience a night of violence and terror after a social media game is tinged with cyberbullying. The film was screened out of competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by IFC Midnight, slated for a limited release in November 2015. According to Subkoff, she conceived the film after a conversation she'd had with her friend's daughter: "[The idea] started because I asked my friend's daughter, "What is horror, to you?" This girl was cyberbullied very badly... Now, I was bullied badly as a kid, but I could always change schools. I could always go home. Now you can't…when bullying follows you home, and there's no escape and no end, to me, that's horror. And to so many girls, that's just life."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Subkoff has been formerly romantically linked to Wes Anderson, and was formerly engaged to director Tom Hooper.[3] In the fall of 2014, Subkoff married artist Urs Fischer.[13]

In 2009, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor which required surgical intervention.[14] Her symptoms had originally been diagnosed as TMJ by her doctor in 2003.[3] By the time she had been formally diagnosed with the acoustic neuroma, her insurance policy with the Screen Actors Guild had lapsed, leaving her without health insurance for the operation, which led to several friends running a charity to raise money for the surgery.[15] She relocated to Los Angeles, where she underwent a craniotomy to remove the tumor on September 10, 2009. The surgery left Subkoff deaf in her right ear, and with partial nerve damage.[3]


Year Title Role Notes
1994 When the Bough Breaks Jordan Thomas/Jennifer Lynn Eben
1995 Point Dume
1996 Freeway Sharon
1996 True Crime Liz McConnell Television film
1997 Black Circle Boys Chloe
1997 All Over Me Ellen
1997 Lover Girl Jake Ferrari / "Candy"
1997 As Good as It Gets Cafe 24 Waitress
1998 The Last Days of Disco Holly
1999 Mascara Daphne
1999 American Pie College girl Uncredited
2000 The Cell Julia Hickson
2002 Teenage Caveman Sarah
2002 Looking for Jimmy
2003 Undermind Anya
2004 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Mouse
2004 Good Boys Short film
2005 The Notorious Bettie Page June
2009 Tanner Hall Gwen
2010 Abandoned Nurse Anna
2010 How Do You Know Subpoena Girl
2010 Tyrolean Riviera Brigitta Short film
2011 For Lovers Only Yves' Wife
2013 Sugar Woman at accident
2015 Cook-Off!
Year Series Role Notes
1994 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Jennifer Episode: "Orphan Train"
1994 Northern Exposure Mary-Margaret Episode: "The Letter"
1996 Kindred: The Embraced Cash's Girl Episode: "The Original Saga"
2013 Kroll Show Two episodes
Year Title Production role Notes
2010 The Killer Inside Me Associate producer
2012 Magic Hour Director[16] Short film
2013 Future/Perfect Director Short film
2015 #Horror Director, writer, producer


  1. ^ "Tara Subkoff reveals LA inspiration behind the Chloë Sevigny short "Magic Hour"". Huck Magazine. December 14, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ Symonds, Alexandria (May 21, 2015). "Tara Subkoff Does Cannes". The New York Times. Travel Diary. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Karni, Annie (March 12, 2012). "Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff can’t escape life of drama". The New York Post. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ Krenticl, Faran (October 10, 2013). "Tara Subkoff Tells Us Why She Doesn't Want to be James Franco When She Grows Up". Elle. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Tara Subkoff". Paper Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Wyma, Chloe (September 14, 2012). ""This Is Not a Fashion Show": Accidental Designer Tara Subkoff's New Performance". Blouinartinfo. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Imitation of Christ". Elle. September 9, 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Imitation of Christ Runway". Elle. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c "Imitation of Christ: Label Overview". NY Mag. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  10. ^ McLaughlin, Alison (September 12, 2012). "Imitation by Tara Subkoff - Fashion Week 2012". YouTube. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  12. ^ Krentcil, Faran (May 29, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: A FIRST LOOK AT TARA SUBKOFF'S MILLENNIAL HORROR FLICK STARRING CHLOË SEVIGNY". Elle. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ Moore, Ian (October 27, 2014). "Tara Subkoff and artist Urs Fischer tie the knot". Page Six. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  14. ^ Aleksander, Irina (April 22, 2010). "Tara Subkoff Talks to Derek Blasberg About Her Brain Surgery in Harper’s Bazaar". The Observer. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ Blasberg, Derek (April 17, 2010). "Tara Subkoff: 'I survived a brain tumor!'". Harpers Bazaar. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Watch Chloe Sevigny Act Like an Asshole NY-to-LA Transplant". Curbed. Retrieved October 21, 2015. 

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