More than just a pretty face

More than just a pretty face

Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series following up on people, places or things that made the news — got their "15 minutes of fame" — and what's happening with them now.

Although the bustling life of beauty pageants might be over for Rogue Valley native Tami Farrell, things aren't slowing down for the former Miss Teen USA.

"It's been an exciting year," she says. "And a really busy one."

The highlight of 2010 for Farrell, who graduated from Phoenix High School in 2003, was marrying 26-year-old Buddy Wyrick Jr. in Los Angeles in September.

"It was great to be able to come back to Southern Oregon and share that special time in our lives with family and friends," Farrell says.

While engaged, the couple co-wrote a humorous screenplay titled "Man Band," which is being considered by a production company, Farrell says. It tells the story of a retired — and now over-aged — boy band that tries to make a comeback, challenging an emerging and younger boy band to determine which is the better group.

"We are trying to get it in the hands of Will Ferrell," she says. "He'd be perfect for it."

Farrell, along with two Los Angeles writers, completed a different screenplay recently, and they were hired by a production company to write another, she says.

Writing a few hours a day, the three-person writing team can complete a full-length screenplay in about two or three months, she says.

"It has been fun exploring the world as a writer, but I'm still chasing my dreams of being an actress," she says.

It isn't easy, though, explains Farrell.

After being crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA in 2003, and Miss Teen USA later that year, Farrell packed up and left for Hollywood.

"I was working two or three jobs at a time just to pay my bills ... bouncing around, living on friends' couches," she says.

After a few years of struggling to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress, Farrell faced a setback that may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

"I had a cancer scare," she says.

A tumor, which developed in her thyroid, turned out to be benign. The scare and ensuing surgery to remove it distracted her from her goals initially, but they eventually motivated her to get back into pageants, she says.

In 2009, Farrell was crowned Miss Malibu USA, and was named the first runner-up in the Miss California USA pageant the same year. She was later crowed Miss California after the firing of initial winner Carrie Prejean.

"From that point on, my life started to change," she says. "I saw it (Miss California pageant) more as a business venture than just something to be excited about."

Farrell says she is thankful for all the opportunities that pageants have given her, but she has had her fill.

"I used pageants as a stepping stone toward my career and dreams," she says. "What has been paying my bills is working as a model, but I don't want to be a supermodel someday. I always joke that modeling is my waitressing job."

This is pilot-filming season in Hollywood, Farrell says, the time when major television networks are hunting for actors and actresses to film first episodes of possible TV shows.

"It's exciting, because you have the opportunity to really put yourself out there," she says.

Within the next year, Farrell hopes to have both of her screenplays sold, another finished, and have landed an acting role in a television show or movie.

"And still be married to the love of my life," she says.

Eventually, Farrell says, she and Wyrick would like to move to the Rogue Valley and fly to wherever the acting jobs are.

The couple plan to start a family, but not for a few more years, Farrell says.

"I want to focus on chasing down my dreams, so that when I have a child I can focus on theirs," she says. "I definitely want to come back to Southern Oregon someday, though. That's my ultimate plan."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4468 or at

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