We had the good fortune of connecting with Tatum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tatum, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from Utah, originally. I grew up in North Salt Lake, which is a small suburb just over the hill from Salt Lake City. I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormon church as it is commonly known. The question I get most often is “are you still practicing?” and the answer is yes…mostly. I grew up in a mixed ethnic home. My mother is a convert to the LDS church from Honduras. She moved to Utah when she was 17 to go to school. She met my dad, who is Caucasian and a pretty typical white Mormon guy. They’re still married, though not without their differences in views. My mom has rarely been an active church going member all my life. So I grew up with a divided family, so to speak. My mom doesn’t go to church, though she still believes in a lot of it. My brother left the church when he was a teenager, And my dad and two sisters are, I’d say, the most devout. I feel I fall somewhere in the middle. My husband (also Mormon) and I go to an LDS church, but I am a bit more relaxed, or I base my faith on what I believe & my personal relationship with God, and not necessarily on what the church believes. I have picked up my mom’s independence, but also appreciate my dad’s devotion, so I have found that I tend to search for a middle ground, a place where God is more gracious and understanding of the individual’s journey. I think this is why I’ve stuck with acting as a career. I’m fascinated by people, what makes them tick, what makes them do good, do bad, or draw lines in the sand. I also like to push the boundaries of the status quo, not just from the bubble I grew up in, but the bubble I now find myself living in LA. I think acting is generally a safe place to explore in and outside these bubbles, to find that understanding that connects those that disagree or even hate each other. I am grateful that I was born into a church that I don’t always see eye to eye with, and to a mother that hates being told what to do, and a father who is humbly flawed and faithful. This dichotomy seems to be a repeating theme in life that I am drawn to, and undoubtedly affects how I perceive…well, everything.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been in Los Angeles for 8 years as an actor. Often, I feel like I don’t have much to show for it. But then I think of how far I’ve come. It feels like things are still just getting started. I’m honestly proud that I’m still here, that I’m still improving, still meeting new people, trying new things and doing more work. A friend of mine recently reminded me, not everyone keeps pushing, and this year a lot are giving up. Which is understandable! I have been lucky to have worked more this year than the last several, and that has almost all come from relationships I’ve made along the way. Currently, I’m excited to have a Christmas movie called “The Santa Box” playing in theaters in Utah, a spot on a daytime show airing this December (can’t say which one yet), and more projects underway with different friends, sketch groups, etc. My husband and I just moved into a warehouse live/work space near downtown, which is providing an incredible space for collaboration, and that is fun & fortunate to have at our fingertips. It is not easy. I will say the biggest lesson I continue to learn is how important the relationships are that you make along the way. I’m blessed to have support from my husband and friends. Sometimes I don’t know how I’ve overcome. Man, I’m still overcoming! Especially this year! One week I’m bawling my eyes out, wondering what’s wrong with me, the next I’m just like “well, what can I do today? What skill can I better? You going to quit? No? Well, then you better do something.” This has been my cycle.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start with my neck of the woods, which is Lincoln Heights/Chinatown. Gotta get some street tacos. There used to be a great taco table on Main, just off the 5, but they haven’t been out this year, so we’d probably go to La Naranja on Daly, which is conveniently across the street from my favorite place to shop, the 99 cents store. You gotta appreciate the deals! We would likely take a walk to the Los Angeles Historic park which had a facelift a few years ago. You get a nice view of the city, green grass, and the walk passes by the LA river, and the encroaching Arts District. From there, you can check out Chinatown, Olvera Street, the Arts District. Philippe’s for a taste of the Original French Dip. Hopefully, you’d get to go inside, because it’s a blast to the past. One of my favorite things to do with visitors is drive down Sunset and through Beverly Hills and then head south. You get to see quite the variety of life and realize how eclectic this city is. Another great spot to people watch is Venice Beach. I feel like it just doesn’t get more LA than Venice Beach. Throw in Abbot Kinney, poke bowls, and the canals…you’ve got your day planned. As far as shopping goes, my cup of tea is thrift shops, and boy do we have some good ones. Really, any Good Will. The Urban Outfitters Outlet on Ventura in Sherman Oaks and surrounding thrift shops is a great area to hit up. And if you can find some Estate Sales, add them to your list of stops.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband is rad. He’s in a band, and watching him work is both intimidating and inspiring. He has incredible work-ethic and never seems to let anything get him down (not even a pandemic). His example to me is undeniable. And he’s my rock. Even while I’m freaking out, feeling the energy of millions of people upset over the state of the world, he’s a shoulder to cry on, a brain to bounce ideas off of, calls me on my shit, and never gets in my way of what I want to do with my life. And he’s super sexy.
Dana Patrick Photography