Tara Reid is making a comeback.
The American Pie actress, 45, was certainly among the celebrities to suffer amid the misogyny of 2000s pop culture. She was a regular in the tabloids of that era, alongside Britney, Lindsay and Paris, with an ongoing narrative about how she was a drunken party girl (boosted along by a stint in rehab). Her love life was also dissected, due to a broken engagement from Mr. TRL himself, Carson Daly, and a dalliance with Tom Brady. Perhaps the nastiest stuff was body shaming over a botched breast augmentation and ridiculing her wardrobe malfunctions.
Now on the other side, Reid told E! News that having tabloids and websites out to "destroy" her "hurt." But she's reclaiming her narrative.
"It went from everyone loving you, being the 'It' girl, doing everything and then the power of the media, even now, is very strong," Reid said. "It was tough, because you went from, 'OK, this is great, this is fun!' to 'Oh my gosh, what are they saying?!' It started hurting my feelings."
She was a target and felt that the tabloids turned her into a "cartoon character."
"When we first started, we weren't used to paparazzi," said Reid, whose breakthrough role was 1998's The Big Lebowski. "There was no such thing. There was no Instagram, there was no social media, but there were the tabloids. It was a different kind of bullying when it started coming up. To sell tabloids, what do you have to have? You have to pick a certain person that you're going to pretty much destroy so they sell tabloids every day. They almost make a cartoon character out of you and they keep going with it."
The Framing Britney Spears doc, out last February, started a conversation about the culture of mean entertainment journalism in the 2000s. Reid admitted she "felt really sad" watching the film, having lived through a different version of the same thing.
However, even before that, Reid decided in 2018 — after making the final Sharknado — to take a break from Hollywood to heal from the damage and hurt that had built during the years. Her journey was to learn "how to be happy" and how to be alone.
"I needed to for myself," Reid said. "I traveled a lot and worked on myself a lot, to get more confidence in myself where, sometimes, when you've been kind of bullied and put down, it's like you get a bruise and you have to heal that bruise."
During that time, she spent five weeks in the vortexes in Sedona, Ariz. She talked in the interview about her love of crystals, and cited both Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Lama several times.
These days, "I'm very comfortable with my body," said Reid who long ago repaired that botched plastic surgery. "When that was all happening, you do start listening and questioning yourself, going, 'Oh maybe this is wrong or that.' But you have to look in the mirror and go, 'I'm OK with myself. I don't care. You want to body shame? Body shame me.' I'm in the place in my life where I am happy in my own skin."
That time off and perspective also led to what's building to be a big return. She has 16 projects in total in the hopper, including wrapping production on Doggmen, featuring DMX's final onscreen role, and a rom-com starring Rebel Wilson.
"Hollywood is a game and you've got to learn the game and play with it and learn how to be part of it and not be hurt by it," Reid said. "Being in the business for so long now, I've learned a lot and I'm taking everything I've learned and using it in my career now to help and benefit me. Going from everything to kind of nothing for a while, it's a hard transition and that's why I totally turned it around and said, 'OK, I'm not going to be a victim anymore.' You can allow yourself to be a victim for so long and then you either stop it or you turn the tables."
Part of that was not waiting for roles to come to her. She's forging her own comeback — and she thinks people will be impressed by what they see.
"They're going to look at me and go, 'Wow, you've changed,'" she said. "A lot of people didn't realize how smart I am and how intuitive I am. And now I think I'm getting to show people that side of me and that's great because that's something that I never got to do before."
And she doesn't have time for naysayers.
"It's funny because people will bully you and shame you and go, 'Oh, she's never going to come back or she's never going to do this,' and then all of a sudden, as soon as you come back, they go, 'I knew she could do it!'" Reid told the outlet. "Everyone loves a comeback and you're like, 'Yeah, where were you 20 years ago?' But it is possible and there are comebacks all the time."
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