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Actress Tammy McGarity Postpones a Career in Psychology to Pursue the Arts

Full given name: Tammy McGarity von Nordheim

Current Project: Studio 11 Films’ Crossroads, an 11Eleven11 Project

Where you were born/where you were raised: Toccoa, Ga.

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Why did you take this role?
I really connected with Marlanna. She’s a beautiful person with a great heart and loving spirit. However, when she loves, she loves deep and she wants to bring out the best in those around her. Marlanna also doesn’t play when it comes to protecting those she cares for. Don’t cross her. You might get fooled by the easy smile and pretty face.

Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor?
I didn’t start my acting career when I was young, but I will say that in these last couple of years, I’ve had several acting coaches and other actors who’ve made a great impression on me to work hard and create the space that I needed to do what I dreamed. To every mentor in the business, I thank you for being an inspiration to someone and encouraging them to follow their hearts.

The one movie — attended — that you will never forget:
OMG! I can’t name just one.

Your personal acting idols:
Angela Bassett, Angelina Jolie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Phylicia Rashad and Brittany Murphy. Also, Edward Norton, Will Smith and Denzel Washington.

Last good movie you saw:
I find learning moments in all the movies I watch, so to me they are all good. I know … such a generic answer. [Laughs]

Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Anyone who manages to have the courage to perform their best in front of others deserves positive attention. I can’t think of any one person that I would choose.

Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Reality shows like “Survivor,” “Amazing Race,” “The Voice,” and “American Idol,” oh, and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Favorite cities:
New York and Miami

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
Earth Wind and Fire and Michael Jackson.

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
The moment I first felt myself really become the character I was performing. I mean really transitioning into that person. It was incredible and I loved the feeling of becoming someone else and telling their story for others to enjoy.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
The time I had a wardrobe malfunction during my performance in my high school talent show. Yes, like a Janet Jackson mal-func-tion.

Most challenging role you have played:
The role of Tomi in the stage play, “A Husband’s Wife.” There were only two cast members and we had to learn 26 pages of dialogue filled with intense dramatic monologues. We also had to perform three shows in one day. But, it was a success.

Worst job you ever had:
It was at a call center. No windows, no fresh air, constant chatter on the phones, no face-to-face interaction with people; it was not conducive to my personality.

Career you would want if not a performer:
A psychologist; it’s what I have my degree in. It’s in my DNA to listen and try to help others work through their issues. But for now, I’m living my dream as a model, actor and photographer … blessed!

Three things you can’t live without:
My family, Chapstick and books. OK, so what? There’s a little geek in this person who continues to turn her dreams into realities.