In the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar, actress and designer Tara Subkoff tells socialite interviewer Derek Blasberg about how her experience of being diagnosed with a benign “golf-ball-size” brain tumor a year ago and undergoing brain surgery has changed her.
Ms. Subkoff’s ordeal was made public last summer when Art Production Fund founder Yvonne Force Villareal, gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, pal Arden Wohl and rumored former boyfriend Wes Anderson organized a fund-raiser (Ms. Subkoff didn’t have health insurance) at Deitch Projects. At the time, Mr. Deitch told the Transom, “It is about our community coming together to support a friend who we love and admire. This benefit for Tara is an example of how the New York art world is not just a business, but a real community where people support each other.” Jasper Johns, Nate Lowman, Cecily Brown and John Currin donated art works for auction. But according to Ms. Subkoff, the fund-raiser “didn’t work out.”
“All of my close friends knew my financial situation, which is why they organized a benefit with a charity in my honor last July. … Unfortunately, for myriad reasons, it didn’t work out, but it came from such a good place,” Ms. Subkoff tells the magazine. “The charity paid for two medical bills and is now returning the remainder of the money to the donors.”
Below, a few other revelations from the story.
Initially, Ms. Subkoff’s doctor misdiagnosed the tumor as TMJ:
“I told my doctor I wanted an MRI. He made me feel like a neurotic New Yorker—a Woody Allen character come to life. He rationalized that I should be spending my creative energy and imagination on my work, not my health. I trusted him, and I didn’t get a second opinion.”
The surgery was a success, but the recovery is ongoing:
“They said the recovery would be intense. I would have temporary facial paralysis on one side and auditory hallucinations; I would be disoriented and sick. I have to have regular MRIs for the rest of my life. I’ve permanently lost the balance nerve and full hearing on my right side. Because of this, there is the challenge of constant vertigo.”
She is getting back to acting:
“I scored a role in Abandoned, the late Brittany Murphy’s last film; she was an amazing girl and a good friend. I will also appear in the new Jim Brooks film with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, and Tatiana von Furstenberg cast me in a short film she made in Austria.”
“While I’ve been recovering, I’ve decided to bring back IOC in its most basic incarnation: easy-to-wear staples with an edge. I’m calling this line just “Imitation.” I’m inspired by Coco Chanel and her use of jersey. I’d like to do that with Imitation. I want something as effortless as a T-shirt, but in dress, trench, and jacket shapes.”
She plans to slow down a bit and is sorry for some of the things she said and did in her youth:
“Looking back, I feel like the Sinéad O’Connor of the fashion world. I started working in this industry when I was so young and such a little punk. I was discussing stuff I wasn’t mature enough to understand, and some of the things I said were so silly and controversial. But I’d like to think I understand it all a little better now. What can I say? I’m in a much different place, and I’d like to apologize to anyone I offended in my brash days.”