In the six months that I’ve known Tara Reich, the only thing that I’ve seen crossover has been this watch. She tells me how she stalked it on e-bay, how she tried to keep her voice calm on the phone. When it finally came, she wore it for a few days at work, and then it disappeared, presumably into her house.
I need to see where this watch lives.
I travel to her house on a Saturday. Her parents’ Stillwater house is comfortingly strewn with art detritus. Her mom is locally famous for drawing bears; her dad is an antique dealer; her brother makes armor; and Tara used to excel at model horses, which are everywhere.
But this isn’t what I’m here to see. I’m here to see her current drug.
I’m here for her closets. I have no idea where Reich keeps her daily jeans and cookie monster T-shirts, because when she opens the doors her closets are literally bursting with custom-made couture jumpsuits, gowns, jackets, coats, six-inch heels and gorgeous wigs—all built by her.
It’s really unbelievable. She pulls out books and books of photos. There is some kind of magic here: Tara in photo after photo is taller, shinier, perfect. In her bedroom, there is this red wig, fishtail braided to perfection. I flip the pages of the photo book. Tara’s already spread out her current project in the living room, watching anime. Her own hair is jammed in a bun, out of her way.
There is something here about Reich’s art that is so absolutely removed from what I would do if I had her skills. If I could braid like that, I would braid my own damn hair. If I made that perfect red jumpsuit, I would wear it to the bar, or try to sell it. All I can see is possibilities for hotness and cash. Sure, Reich has made some money along the way, but talk with her and you immediately see it is about that moment that she puts it on, and it’s perfect. She studies fabrics and HD screen shots like a scientist, getting closer and closer, discovering a seam and a hidden rivet. Her drug is perfecting screen ready, gorgeous replicas. It is somehow so much more noble.
I don’t linger long. Saturday is a typical work day for Reich. At home surrounded by her uber creative family and friends, Reich is making gorgeous objects, like it was her job.
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Tara Reich getting ready to do some draping.
You and I might not know her, but Tara Reich is internet famous. Her work is easy to find, coming up in the top image results for most of the characters she tackles.