Tanna Frederick recently wrapped Henry Jaglom’s romantic comedy “The 'M' Word” with Corey Feldman, Michael Imperioli and Francis Fisher. She then went on to make her directorial debut (and star) in a theatre production of "Why We Have A Body" at the Edgemar Center for the Arts. She is currently in her native Iowa filming “The Farm” where she stars as a single mother who returns to Iowa to deal with her past.
Frederick starred opposite Noah Wyle in Henry Jaglom’s 2010 romantic comedy “Queen of the Lot.” She played Maggie Chase, an actress desperate to claw her way off the B-list of action films into major movie stardom. Frederick's performance in her first feature with Jaglom, “Hollywood Dreams,” earned her Best Actress at WorldFest Houston, Montana International Film Festival, Fargo Film Festival and the Wild Rose Film Festival. The film took Best Picture honors at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival and Best Comedy at WorldFest Houston. She was named Method Fest’s “Performer to Watch” and has also received the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Maverick Award.
Off-screen, Frederick has proved just as driven and talented. A fitness aficionado who runs daily, Frederick ranked 52nd out of 1,321 women in her division in the Los Angeles Marathon in 2010. She is a second-degree Taekwondo black belt and a passionate surfer. She founded “Project Save Our Surf,” an annual surfing event that benefits oceans and clean water initiatives. She is also founder of the Iowa Film Festival, which debuted successfully five years ago and has tripled in size. Frederick’s latest venture is Project Cornlight, which aims to develop Iowa-based films and other projects showcasing Iowa talent. She was recently named the recipient of the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2012.
What was the “ah-ha” moment that made you start taking your health seriously?
My mom is a nursing professor, and my dad a pharmacist, so I always have been very conscientious about my health and taking care of myself. However, this last year has been an insane year of Hurricane Cancer in my family. My mother went through chemo for ovarian cancer, and my father had complications from prostrate cancer. We all became very strong for one another, and I think it shifted a psychological ‘ah-ha’ in my brain. I have settled down quite a bit, slowed down to smell the ocean, because I realized how lucky I am to have my family healthy and happy. We all laugh a lot more now and appreciate being with each other.
Do you have a secret habit that is part of your healthy lifestyle?
Running marathons, surfing or kicking booty (Taekwondo black belt). One of those and all of those get out frustrations and aggression that otherwise might be bottled up and held inside. And goals — I have notebooks full of goals. I cut stuff out of magazines and paste it into one notebook that is health inspiration, another notebook that is acting inspiration, another environmental clippings; inspiration is the key to my success. I love reading stories about someone doing something spectacular, like Diana Nyad trying to go from Cuba to Florida.
If you could get a free pass forever with one bad habit, what would it be?
Fat Tire beer.
What is your greatest health achievement or milestone?
I’m lucky; I feel like I’ve had a lot. But the ones that really stick to my ribs are graduating as valedictorian at the University Of Iowa with honors in both political science and international relations, and theater. And receiving last summer the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa and getting my picture hung next to Tennessee Williams, who is a University of Iowa Alumni.
What is your biggest health hang-up in others?
Nothing really. I like to help people to be inspired, so I don’t really have any hang-ups. I am very competitive and want to be faster and better that whoever I’m training with, and that’s usually my guy friends who are faster than me because they’re dudes, but that’s more of a problem with my own hubris.
Run, walk, ride or swim?
Run, swim, surf, kick and punch!
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what kind would you be?
Jicama. Crunchy, loud and full of water.
If you could “superpower” one of your five senses, what would it be and why?
I’d love to fly. I know that’s not really one of the senses, but it’s be such a great workout.
If you could break a world endurance record, what would it be?
Acting the most days in a row in some fantastic biopic playing Eleanora Duse.
If you could tell one thing to your adolescent self, what would it be?
Chill out. You’re a lot less of a nerd than you think you are.