Bangkok is a city brimming with talented and fascinating people. In 27 Questions, we interview notable Bangkok personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, important life moments, and their hopes and dreams, all revealed in about the same amount of time it takes to sit through a round of speed dating.
A personality as edgy as her ever-changing hairstyles and a real rising star to watch on the Asian bar scene, there seems to be no stopping Tamaryn Cooper.
The youngest female bartender to ever win the Campari Bartender Competition Thailand shot to fame in a very short amount of time, snagging hearts and accolades across the industry with her bubbly personality and passion for cocktails.
Formerly working at Belga Rooftop & Brasserie, the Phuket-born and Bali-raised bartender can now be found at the award-winning Asia Today and Teens of Thailand within the cool-cat haven of Chinatown’s Soi Nana. It’s a location very much suited to the moonlight tattoo artist and anime lover, who now experiments with foraged ingredients, unique gins, and — given the (still) imposed alcohol ban — steaming dumplings. All this, and she only just turned 22.
Tamaryn Cooper is definitely a character, yet the self-proclaimed “baby bartender” is refreshingly honest to talk to. In this cheeky, charming, but also somewhat emotional interview, Tamaryn ‘Makham’ Cooper speaks to us about childhood memories, salmon onigiri from 7-11, and the secret piercing she never told her parents about. Read on to find out why the industry has fallen so in love with her, and why it’s likely this won’t be the last time you hear of the bold bartender with a nihilist for an idol.
Name: Tamaryn (Makham/Min)
Neighbourhood: Rama III
What is your life motto?
We’re all going to die, so go get that face tattoo, pursue your passion, tell that person how you feel, confront your highschool bully, and beat them up. Who cares? We’re all going to be dead one day anyway.
What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
I had this rhubarb crumble with raspberry sorbet at a German restaurant in Jakarta about 8 years ago that was really good.
Who is your role model?
What was your first job?
My first job was at a Thai takeaway place in an open market in Huddersfield.
What is your drink of choice?
When was the last time you drove a car?
When I was 19 in a temple parking lot in Nakhon Sawan.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The salmon onigiri you can get in 7-11.
What is your biggest regret in life?
I took life way too seriously from a very young age. I wish I had just taken the time to enjoy my childhood and school years.
What do you hate most about living in Bangkok?
Age hierarchy, but I guess that’s everywhere in Southeast Asia.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Maybe 3 times a week.
What is your greatest fear?
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Buying anything that’s anime-related. I’ve wasted a lot of money on products I don’t need, but bought nonetheless, because they had a picture of an anime character on them.
What is one TV show everyone should see?
What is your typical Sunday like?
Sleep in, have coffee, Netflix, gaming, dinner, and then sleep again.
Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?
Probably any day from when I was a child in Bali, still living as a family with both my parents, my sister, and our dog.
What makes someone a real Bangkokian?
Maybe someone who knows their way about public transportation, such as the BRT, MRT, Win, Grab, Sky Train, and so on.
What is one song you know all the lyrics to?
‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic! At the Disco.
If you could banish someone from Bangkok forever, who would it be?
I think we all know the answer to this, but I can’t say because I’d be arrested or blacklisted…
Where do you go when you want to be alone?
The cinema is my favourite place to go alone, especially on a weekday in the early afternoon when it’s practically empty.
What is one thing you’ve never revealed to your parents?
I got a piercing I never told them about. [Edited for content]
What is your favourite scent in the whole world?
Fresh laundry and wet dirt.
Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, and what is one important lesson they taught you?
My 10th grade English teacher in Jakarta. I always thought of him as a modern day nihilist. I remember he had this wall of quotes and one of them was, “In a logical world, men would ride sidesaddle.” He taught me that it’s okay to ask questions and it’s right to question what we think we know.
Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life?
Be alone for the rest of my life.
What is the last dream you remember waking up to?
I dreamt of a black 4-eyed sheep last night.
How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?
I own 3 pairs of Fila sneakers (yellow, white, and black) and one classic high top pair of black Converse. I’ve been wearing the Converse often recently.
What was the best moment of your life?
I’m not really sure. All I can think of right now is my mum driving me and my sister to school in Bali back in 2006, very early in the quiet morning, with the car door windows down, music playing (probably a John Mayer song), and the cold fresh sea air coming through the windows. It’s not really an exciting moment, but it is one of the best memories I have that I find myself often thinking about.