Taryn Southern (born July 16, 1986) is an American writer, producer, digital strategist, singer, actress, comedian, and YouTube personality whose videos have received more than 700 million views online and been featured in Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Adweek, and more. She was part of American Idol season three's Top 50, but first gained national attention with her video Hot4Hill during the 2008 Presidential race. She went on to host and executive produce DirecTV's first original series, Project My World before landing other jobs in the entertainment industry.

Early life

Southern grew up in Wichita, Kansas and landed her first starring role in a pre-broadway theatrical production at the age of 10.[4] As a teenager, she co-hosted a regional talk show for WB Kansas that discussed complicated teen issues.[5] She graduated from Wichita East High School in 2003.[6]

At 20, Southern graduated from the University of Miami, earning a B.S. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Journalism. While in school she competed in American Idol and received a grant to travel to Peru to study the shamanic use of ayahuasca among rainforest communities.[7]

Career

Southern is an internet personality and digital media advisor. Her YouTube channel, TarynSouthern, is updated weekly with musical and comedic content.[8]

In 2004, at 17, she appeared on third season of American Idol, making it to Hollywood week and the Top 50.[9]

After graduating from college, Southern worked briefly at NBC and Morgan Stanley in Miami before moving to Los Angeles in 2006. She sold and produced a travel show, Project MyWorld, for DirecTV, which followed her and two friends as they traveled the world and met their MySpace friends.[10]

On July 2, 2007, she released a comedic YouTube video called Hott4Hill in support of the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. The video, which she wrote and performed as a satire of the Obama Girl video, shows her singing and dancing in a jokingly suggestive manner about her personal admiration of Clinton and how much she would like to see Clinton win the election.[11] That same year, Southern starred in the first WB online series, Sorority Forever, alongside best friend and lonelygirl15 star Jessica Rose.[12]

In November 2008, Southern and Jessica Rose launched Webutantes, a new media studio.[13] Also in 2008, Southern wrote/produced her first comedic musical web series, Private High Musical, which was released across various media platforms, and which was later sold to MTV as a half-hour comedy pilot, with David Zuckerman (Family Guy) as co-writer/executive producer.[14]

In 2010, she had a recurring role in the 5th season of the CBS comedy series Rules of Engagement, as well as a part in the movie Battle: Los Angeles as a reporter.

Also in 2010, she released her 2012 comedy album, which reached #20 on the iTunes comedy chart.[16] Since then, Southern has released more than 30 different songs and covers as well as an 80's inspired album, Flashback Friday.

In the fall of 2011, Southern hosted the pre-show for the US version of The X Factor.[17] She also provided voice over for the character Judy on the Fred animated series on YouTube.

In 2012, she appeared as a guest star on New Girl, American Dad!, The League, and Guys with Kids.[18] Southern also launched her YouTube channel in 2012 by releasing one video per week. As of 2015, she has more than 400,000 subscribers.

During Shark Week 2013 on Discovery Channel, Southern was the social media co-host on Shark After Dark Live, which earned the #1 ratings spot in their time slot all week.[19]

In 2013, she released the song Crush, which made it to the Top 100 in radio play in August.[20]

In 2014, Southern's YouTube Channel was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #52.[21]

Southern began hosting the 2000s and Today Countdown on The Pulse in May 2015. She is currently working with Marriott on a myriad of digital initiatives [22] and recently Maker Studios announced that they would be launching a late night talk show with Southern as the host.[23]

Videography

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
2006–2007Project My WorldTarynNine episode documentary
2007Hot 4 HillHot4HillDigital short featured on Fox, CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets
2007–2008The Heavy ShowVarious characters
2008Senior Skip DayIshamovie
2008Sorority ForeverTaryn Monaghan31 episodes
2008Private High MusicalSandra SmithIn addition to starring also wrote and produced
2009Single Black FemaleJennifermovie
2009Woke Up DeadDebbie
2010The Frankenstein BrothersJoymovie
2010Pound of FleshDyonesia Cosamovie
2010Rules of EngagementAllison4 episodes
2010The Temp LifeNancy Roder8 episodes
2010Battle Los AngelesReporter on beachmovie
2011ElfQuest: A Fan ImaginingTimmainDigital short
2012New GirlMeganGuest appearance in Season 2, Episode 3 "Fluffer"
2013Guys with KidsEricaGuest appearance in Season 1, Episode 12 "Marny's Dad"
2014Last Man StandingRachelGuest appearance in Season 3, Episode 15 "Tasers"
2015Princess Rap BattleEffieDigital short guest appearance in Season 1, Episode 6 "Katniss vs. Hermione"

Music videos

YearTitleDirectorNotes
2009"Wrong Hole"[24]Featuring Scott Baio
2010"Keep It In Your Pants (The Boner Song)"[25]Bob McKeon
2011"Chick With a Remarkable Vagina"[26]Kyle Morrison
"Coffee Makes Me Poo"[27]Taryn Southern
"Touch Your Boobies (I Touch Mine)"[28]Taryn SouthernDonation drive for Susan G. Komen
"Where Is My Goat?"[29]Michael Livingston
2012"Cuz We The X-Factor Digital"[30]Marc ScarpaPromoting X-Factor pre-shows
"I Think I Farted"[31]Jackson Adams
"Guys - They Just Wanna Bang You"[32]Taryn Southern
"Wrong Hole (The Untold Story)"[5]Michael Alan HoyFeaturing Dennis Haskins
"Just Google That Shit"[5]Jackson Adams
"Single Girls"[5]Taryn Southern
Jarrett McGovern
Justin Safaei
"Bad Sex"[5]Brad Etter
2013"Really Blurred Lines"With Julia Price
"Crush"[5]Taryn SouthernFeaturing Chester See
"The Fox - What the Fox Didn't Say"[38]
"Royals Cover"Derrel D'ItriWith Julia Price
2014"Everyone Pees in the Ocean"[5]Brad Etter

Discography