An Interview With: Taryn Klajkovic
Not only the kick-ass Head of Promotions at Sony Music, Taryn also puts her time into running her community group the Women's Collective, alongside spending time with her beautiful beb, Miha and superstar-doctor wife Sasha. She spent some time with Laura to talk about overcoming adversity, hardships and stereotypes in her life so far.
I am constantly amazed by the way you carry yourself, with such strength but a soft heart. Do you think your experiences have shaped you in this?
Firstly thank you, that is such a kind thing to say. As I’m approaching my 30’s I’ve realised that while I have been through some tough stuff, so have so many people I love - and that has put things into perspective. I read in a blog once “you can choose to continue feeling like a victim, or when you’re ready, you can instead choose to see the adversity you have faced in your life as a gift”. That has stuck with me for a long time since, and I think it has helped me arrive at a place where I have realised although the tough stuff has been painful, if it hadn’t of happened I don’t think I would have the perspective that I do now. In order to keep loving yourself and others, you have to keep your heart soft. Love is the base of everything, it can be super hard to keep your heart open, but life is so much better when we do.
I've had the privilege of seeing you absolutely kill it in life, but I can imagine there have been many times where you have felt anything but, how did you handle that?
Starting when I was around 12, I felt a deep sense of loss and pain - it got so bad around 14 that I often felt in despair and I really didn’t see a future for myself. I didn’t know my biological Dad, I had a fraught relationship with my mother and stepfather and my little sister had been sick with cancer since she was four and a half and I was nine. I couldn’t tell anyone about what I was going through because I was so confused and ashamed by it all. When I turned 15, I decided to try and help myself find a purpose, so I volunteered in the kitchen at my local Hospice where I cooked for people every Monday night after school.
It was there that I met a woman named Kathy who I volunteered alongside for several years. She was 60 and she became my friend and mentor. I would look forward to Mondays every week because she would be there and we would have some of the best conversations I have ever had, even to this day. She helped me navigate my feelings and within the context of people often reflecting on what truly matters in life at the Hospice, it helped me to grow and to gain some clarity. It also introduced to me to how good it felt to give. By removing my focus from myself and focusing on the well-being of others, I found it was a healing process. Later in life around my mid-20’s I struggled with quite bad depression and I found myself soaking up the pain of the world, which made me feel even worse. This is one of the reasons why I founded the Women’s Collective, it operates on the same principles of showing love to our community and in turn, it helps to keep my mind and soul healthy.
Do you feel like you have had to overcome stereotypes within your life/career?
Being gay, married to a woman and a mother in a same-sex family has definitely brought about the opportunity to break through some of society’s pre-conceived notions. It has also given me a sense of freedom to design life the way I like it, because it doesn’t fit the typical mould so people don't really know what to expect from me - which is in turn quite liberating!
Did you find there were people that have supported you in your walk?
Absolutely, I have met so many people throughout my life that have been so generous with their time, wisdom and energy. My friends, my wife, my bosses, random people on planes/in taxis! There is an opportunity to learn from every single person we meet.
What would you tell yourself now that you can look back on everything?
To remember the saying that “this too shall pass”. It is still something I say to myself now. Time is a great healer and the tough stuff or feelings never last forever.
Do you feel like you have learnt things about yourself, or about people in general?
That self-love is truly transformational.
What advice would you give to people who are facing some kind of hardship right now?
To anyone suffering right now, please take a deep breath and be still for a moment. Please hear me when I say that even though life is hard right now it doesn’t mean it is always going to be that way. Please reach out and tell someone you trust about what is going on for you and if there isn’t someone around you can talk to, reach out to an organisation like Women’s Collective. Our arms are wide open for you, you are not alone.