A great philosopher once asked, “If the Reader has an all-staff meeting and no one sings Taryn Allen’s praises, did the staff even meet at all?” Since she joined the crew in November 2019, the editorial associate has become an essential piece of the Reader puzzle, supporting every side of the organization with an unflappable cool and excellent punctuation. Born in Littleton, Colorado, and raised in Canandaigua, New York, Taryn had recently graduated from the University of Denver and moved to Chicago when she came to work at the paper. “Getting hired at the Reader as my first full-time job was life-changing,” she says. “It allowed me to immediately feel plugged into Chicago culture, and the team is more quirky and queer than I ever could have hoped for.” Taryn lives with her girlfriend Monica and their cats Kopi and Fika on Chicago’s north side, where she spends her free time visiting neighborhood gems such as Middle East Bakery and Grocery, listening to songwriter Mac Ayres, and watching BoJack Horseman and the 1999 version of Annie (which she describes as her “guilty pleasure movie,” despite the fact that it’s more PC and less bathtub-ginsoaked than its 1982 predecessor). Taryn is also a natural athlete who enjoys skateboarding and trying her hand at different recipes, instruments, art projects, and languages. “I think I’m generally good at picking up new skills quickly,” she says. That’s an understatement for sure, but we’ll let it slide.