“In high school, everybody secretly wants to be one of the popular kids. Me? I never felt like I was really ‘in.’ People never knew what to make of me.” Tamara Mello
California actress Tamara Mello is perhaps best recognized for her role of Lily Esposito in the acclaimed WB series “Popular” (1999-2001). She also costarred in the praised ABC drama “Nothing Sacred” (1997) and has guest starred in such popular shows as “Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane,” “7th Heaven,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “JAG” and “Strong Medicine.” More recently, she appeared in episodes of “Psych” and “Worst Week.”
On the wide screen, the vegan actress portrayed the supporting role of Chandler in the popular teen comedy “She’s All That” (1999). Other movie credits include “Get a Job” (1998), “Spanish Judges” (1999), “Carlo's Wake” (1999), “Tortilla Soup” (2001), “Scream at the Sound of the Beep” (2002) and “Clean” (2004, also a co-producer).
Childhood and Family:
Tamara Beccam Mello was born on February 22, 1976, in Orange County, California. She discovered a knack for acting at an early age, but did not consider it as a career until an agent spotted her while performing in a local stage play. At the time, she was an anthropology student.
Of Portuguese, French and Latin descent, Tamara married editor, producer and actor Paolo Cascardo in 2003. They have one child together.
She’s All That
Tamara Mello began participating in a community theatre when she was young. While in her first year of college, she performed in a production of “Agnes of God” at the Vanguard Theater Group, an appearance that won her an agent. Before long, she headed to Los Angeles to try her luck as an actress.
Mello made her screen debut in “The Making of ‘...And God Spoke’” in 1993. She followed it up with small roles in “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995), the family film “The Adventures of Tom and Huck” (1995) and Brian Cox’s “Scorpion Spring” (1996). She also appeared with Gary Stretch in the film “Infidelity/Hard Fall” (1997) and supported Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton in the romantic comedy “The Beautician and the Beast” (1997).
Making her TV debut with a guest role in the WB “7th Heaven” (1996), Mello landed appearances in episodes of “Diagnosis Murder” (1997) and “Boy Meets World” (1997). She did not make her debut as a regular until she won the role of Rachel on the critically acclaimed, but short lived, drama “Nothing Sacred” (ABC, 1997-1998). After the cancellation of the series, Mello revisited the big screen in the comedy “Get a Job” (1998), starring Jason Wolk, Jeremy London and Brenda Strong. She then appeared with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Christine Taylor in “Overnight Delivery” (1998) and in the independent film “Carlo's Wake” (1999), starring Martin Landau and Rita Moreno. She also acted in the Oz Scott directed drama “Spanish Judges” (1999), opposite Vincent D’Onofrio.
It was also in 1999 that Mello received her breakout screen role when director Robert Iscove hired her to portray Chandler Locklear in the hit teen feature “She’s All That,” which starred Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard. She then gained further popularity on television with her role of hardworking activist and outsider Lily Esposito in the WB teen series “Popular” (1999-2001). In addition, Mello appeared as Angela in a 1999 episode of The WB’s comedy series “Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane.”
Entering the new millennium, Mello had a small role in the indie drama “Rave” (2000), which starred Douglas Spain and Aimee Graham and was directed by Ron Krauss. She also costarred with Jacqueline Obradors in the comedy “Tortilla Soup” (2001), where she played Maribel Naranjo, the daughter of a widowed father (portrayed by Hector Elizondo). “In Scream at the Sound of the Beep” (2002), which was written and directed by Lori Fontanes, she portrayed the small role of Tori, opposite Katharine Towne, Rainbow Borden, Todd Bridges and A.J. Buckley.
Next up for Mello, she acted with Roselyn Sanchez in the TV film “Miss Miami” (2002), teamed up with Danny Glover in “The Law and Mr. Lee” (2003) and costarred with Paolo Cascardo and Patrick Fabian in the movie “Clean” (2004), a thriller by Nyle Cavazos Garcia. The latter film marked Mello’s first credit as a producer. Also in 2004, she returned to series TV as a guest star in episodes of “JAG,” “Strong Medicine” and “What I Like About You.” Mello resurfaced in 2007 when she portrayed Amanda in an episode of “Psych,” a comedy series starring James Roday, Dulé Hill and Timothy Omundson. She followed it up the next year with an episode role in “Worst Week,” a U.S. version of the BBC series “The Worst Week of My Life.”