Tara is a sought-after movie extra, art gallery volunteer and aspiring plus-size model – now she’s using her National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports to make sure people like her are more visible in advertising and social media campaigns.
The 21-year-old, who has Down syndrome, has had many successes since accessing the NDIS when she was 18. She’s completed a Cert III of Screen and Media at TAFE, become a visitor support officer at HOTA art gallery, started a modelling career and joined a local theatre group.
Tara, who lives on the Gold Coast, has also been chosen to appear as an extra in the Joe vs. Carole series, a scripted adaptation of the 2020 podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King. It premiered worldwide on Stan in March 2022.
“I do theatre and am involved in the Gold Coast Film Festival,” Tara said. “I’ve also been in Young Rock (season two). I was a fan girl cheering during the fighting and wrestling scenes.”
The upcoming movie and TV extra said she was “happy and excited” to be involved in Queensland’s burgeoning film industry, especially when it involved getting her hair and makeup done in 1960s style.
She recently volunteered at the opening night of the Gold Coast Film Festival where she got to meet event ambassador and Australian actor Lincoln Lewis, and the cast of How to Please a Woman, that also features Lewis.
Tara, who received assistance to implement her NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination (LAC) Partner in the Community Program, recently set up an Instagram account to showcase her brand.
The budding actress was one of the first NDIS participants to take part in Carers Queensland’s Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) workshops. This program aims to empower, educate and support people with disability to create or grow their own microbusiness.
Louise, Tara’s mother, said her daughter originally got involved in the BYOB workshop to learn how further develop her acting and modelling career and to promote and sell her artwork, particularly across social media platforms.
She said the business plan part of the workshop was very helpful, as was information about managing social media platforms effectively.
“During the process what we came to learn from the mentors is that it was better to focus on doing one thing well rather than doing lots of things badly, find a niche, and that’s been a part of Tara’s BYOB learning journey,” Louise said.
“Because of the advice we received, we’ve taken the focus off her artwork, it’s still featured on Red Bubble, to concentrate on her building her social media presence and film and modelling work.
“For example, we’re approaching active wear brands for larger people in the hope they will realise the benefits of campaigns that show society that you don’t have to look a certain way.
“There’s a lot of old stigmas still around of what people with disability should do or where they belong. Tara is doing what she loves, whether it’s acting, horticulture or becoming a barista, people with disability should be able to follow their passions, not be pigeonholed.”
Tara said she wants to be able to choose what she wants to do in life and loves being able to help people at HOTA on the Gold Coast, where she gives tours, welcomes guests and also helps during events such as Citizenship ceremonies, Kids take over HOTA and Bricktionary.
“I do all different kinds of things, looking after people, showing people around, telling them not to touch the art and where they can and can’t go,” Tara said.
As for Tara’s future, the sky is the limit as far as she’s concerned, with Louise saying one of her daughter’s next goals is to work on living independently.
If you’d like to find out more about the NDIS or want assistance to apply for access to the scheme, Carers Queensland can help you get started.
Carers Queensland can link people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS to options for support in their community.
You can contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or email@example.com