Check our interview with Actress, writer, producer, director and LGBT activist Tay Barrett.
Tay is the multi-hyphenate talent you need on your radar. With her finger on the pulse of entertainment and a practical yet, hilarious take on her own experiences, Tay is single-handedly coining her own unique brand of raw and awkwardly-cringeworthy comedy. Chosen as a rising creator for millennial LGBTQ+ network HERE TV, Tay now brings viewers a semi-autobiographical look at her life in “Work In Progress” currently enthralling audiences in the festival circuit and making its series premiere in late April on HERE TV.
“Work In Progress” chronicles Tay’s fictional self as she reflects on her own, undeniably relatable path to discovering herself through her sometimes clumsy endeavors and strange experiences, including a few uncanny odd jobs along the way.
Tay will release her docs-series “Inside the Rainbow” highlighting how LGBTQ+ individuals are doing social good. When Tay isn’t creating, editing, and writing, she spends her time in Los Angeles with her girlfriend reading, hiking and supporting LGBT and animal rights.
Hi Tay please tell us a little about you?
I’m a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who makes comedies about how weird and silly we all are.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, compassionate, odd
Who is your biggest supporter?
My parents. They cheer me on everyday.
How did you get started in the industry?
I was born to an agent father and actress mother, so my participation in the industry was fated from day one.
What was your first acting role?
When I was nine or so, I played Glinda the good witch in a production of The Wiz.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
Best part: It can be therapeutic to experience a range of emotions that I may not tend to face on a regular basis. Worst part: Acting can be extremely emotionally taxing.
Best advice ever given?
My family is big on giving advice. Everyone in the family is a creative, so we are always throwing uplifting aphorisms at one another. The road toward being recognized and rewarded for one’s art is a long, often challenging one, so these days, one of my dad’s phrases, “recognize the signposts of success,” helps me stay focused.
Tell us about “Work In Progress?”
Work In Progress is a 6-episode, half-hour comedy series I wrote, directed, produced, acted in and also edited for HereTV. After a string of bad jobs, my character decides to pursue documentary filmmaking and investigate how people mine meaning and purpose from their work. I’m super proud of the show and the community – friends, family, strangers – who helped me realize it. It’s the biggest creative project I’ve ever undertaken and I couldn’t have made it without their support.
And about the “Woman On The Street” Video Series?
I love interacting with strangers on camera. It’s one of my life’s great pleasures. The camera gives me a wonderful excuse to approach strangers and ask intimate questions that would otherwise be considered uncouth.
What has been your most memorable experience from the set so far?
For the pilot of “Work In Progress,” I rented a gaggle of puppies for a scene. Basically for an hour I rolled around on the floor kissing these adorable fluff monsters. It was pure magic.
What other projects you have been part of?
A few years ago, my friend and I made a web series called, “Tiny Nuts.” I’m working on a documentary series for HereTV called, “Inside the Rainbow,” where I interview people in the LGBT community who are doing interesting stuff. I’m also currently making an anthology doc series called, QUEER FAMILY TREE, which features members of the LGBT community talking about their experiences navigating the world.
We know you are an LGBT activist. Please tell us about it?
I view my art as a form of activism. As a filmmaker, I center LGBT stories that celebrate the queer identity and community. I know that not all queer people have the ability to be open about their identity, so I try to be visible for those that can’t.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
I primarily identify as a filmmaker, so the actors I really admire also create their own stories like Issa Rae (Insecure), Brit Marling (the OA), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) among others.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
A notebook, chapstick and my dog, Walnut
What music do you like?
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Sunday is the perfect day to recover from the shenanigans of Friday and Saturday and also prepare for the work week to start. When I wake up, I like to take morning coffee with my girlfriend. In the afternoon, I do some writing and/or tidy up the house. And then in the evening, my girlfriend and I will either make dinner or eat out with friends.
How’s a normal day in your life?
Being a freelancer means I can construct my day based around what project I’m working on. One day I may be editing footage, color correcting, sound mixing or writing. Another day, I may be out and about with my camera and sound gear interviewing someone or getting b-roll.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Continuing to make art with friends!
Do you support any charities?
I deeply admire and support The Trevor Project as well as GLAAD. I also love the work that the shelter No Kill LA is doing.
Where we can follow you?
Favorite Music: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Quote: I’ve been returning to this tweet that Ava Duvernay published a while ago: “Before I was able to be a full-time filmmaker, I was a weekend warrior. Writing/shooting when I could. It’s Saturday. Do your heart’s work.”
Holiday Destination: Every summer I visit a small island in Maine that my family has been going to since I was nine years old.
Food: Raw vegetables
Drink: Coffee with almond milk
Song: “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” – the Temptations
Sports Team: Honestly, I don’t follow any sports teams.
Movie: Christopher Guest’s marvelous film, Best in Show
Photo Credit: Sela Shiloni