You know, I always describe myself as determined, persistent and driven, but I think I’ll start using tenacious more often. I think someone with tenacity is someone who isn’t afraid to fail, so long as they learn how to do better next time; it’s someone who knows exactly what they want and does everything they can to earn it or make it happen; it’s someone who works just as hard for someone else as they would for themself.
Who is your professional hero?
Mindy Kaling is my professional hero. The daughter of immigrants, she started about as far removed from entertainment as you can get. Through hard work and fierce tenacity, she’s become a fantastic writer, actress, and showrunner. Her story really speaks to me because I’m the granddaughter of an immigrant and grew up with zero connections to entertainment. I hope to achieve Mindy’s accomplishment of becoming a successful showrunner!
What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience (such as an internship or leadership role)?
I’ve used my studies and skills in every single one of my internships! My EMST and film studies roots were integral to my internship with the Peabody Media Center. One particular example is how crucial my teachings in editing were. When COVID-19 necessitated the switch to online classes in the spring, I had to edit an entire video project on my own. It was incredibly challenging, but I learned a lot from that project and am proud of what I created!
What is the last show you binge-watched?
Grace and Frankie! I started less than a week ago, and I’m already almost done with season four.
What are you planning to do after graduating?
My goal is to be a television writer and producer and eventually work my way up to be a showrunner. As our current global situation has proven, planning for the immediate future is a bit of a wash. I’m reframing my focus to pursue any development and production-oriented jobs in the entertainment industry that would provide an excellent opportunity to learn transferable skills. I’m always working towards improving myself and my skills as I go after my dream job, even if I have to take a few back roads to get there.
Favorite or unique hobby?
Archery! I may or may not have gotten interested in this after reading the Hunger Games.
What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?
COVID-19 changed everything! I was set to graduate last summer—a year early—after spending seven weeks studying abroad both at the Cannes Film Festival and in Dublin, Ireland learning about travel writing. While rearranging my life’s plans was a tough pill to swallow at first, I honestly think it’s going to work out for the better. Now, I’ll graduate with two degrees instead of one. By staying in school, I’m still eligible for internships, which allows me to continue gaining relevant industry experience such as my current internship with A24!
Morning person or night owl?
Night owl! Something about the night is way more conducive to my creative work than the mornings.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?
I think this advice was given to me by both Dr. Anne Gilbert and Professor James Biddle: “Taylor, you can’t do all the things.” Anyone who knows me knows that I love to learn and that I love knowing how to do things myself. That’s all fine and dandy, but the thing is, it’s a lot harder to become really good at one thing—say screenwriting—if you’re also trying to do a bunch of other things like producing, cinematography and editing. That’s not to say we can’t do more than one thing in life, but rather that it’s important to specify one’s passion so that you’re better able to focus on it and become really good at it. After all, you need to be really good at what you do in order to make it in entertainment.
What is your proudest moment in the last year?
I completed two remote summer internships and earned an A in my online Classical Mythology class all while nannying my newborn nephew in Ohio this summer.
Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
The #ProfilesOfTenacity series–formerly the #GradyGrit–is a set of student features highlighting the strength, determination and leadership of students in Grady College. Stay tuned to see how #ProfilesofTenacity evolve in the future.