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This month, our Artist Spotlight is
on a real up-and-comer in the film industry — our own Taylor Foster. Join us as we visit with this Über-Successful Actress as she shares with us some of her most memorable roles — The most important role being her amazing life.
DECEMBER 9, 2022 — BY CHRIS DANIELS
Look up the word “Spirited” and you may see Taylor Foster in the definition. Taylor’s brand signature is usually signed as Actress – Dancer – Redhead, and she definitely excels in all three. Long of leg and lithe in form, this amazing actress possesses that certain kind of poise, charm and élan that reminds one instantly of an Emma Stone, or perhaps an Isla Fisher or an Amy Adams.
With over 21 years of training in professional dance, including tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet and hip-hop, Taylor has performed competitively throughout the southern half of the United States. Her training has landed her in music videos, national commercials, tap competitions, in ballets like “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White,” and in dance theater performing hip-hop and contemporary works like “Jungle Book” and Michael Jackson’s Ghost.”
While still in college, she booked her first feature film, “Saving Sloane,” as the lead, Sloan Emerson, then, moved to Los Angeles and immediately landed yet another feature film, “The Time is Right,” as well as a local commercial, and a startup project called “RainBro,” directed by Ryan Kaplan. Very soon after that, she found herself in her debut gig in season 1 of Netflix’s “Dear White People,” which cemented her career focus, as she became a SAG-AFTRA affiliated actress after the first episode.
While pursuing her true love of acting, however, Taylor could not give up her first love - dance. And in the fall of 2017, she booked her first big dancing gig as a background dancer in Neon Trees’ music video, “Feels Good,” an American rock band that rose to fame when they toured with The Killers in 2008.
Then, in the fall of 2018, Taylor attended her first Hollywood premier at the Egyptian Theater for “Severed Road,” directed and written by Benjamin Brown. “Severed Road” is Taylor’s first SAG feature, filmed primarily on location in Big Bear National Park. Things began to get easier for her after that.
Signing with Firestarter Talent, Taylor worked across Rudy Mancuso in the fall of 2019 on his Facebook Watch show, “Tempo,” and in January of 2020, she premiered in a co-starring role on the hit show, “Criminal Minds,” in their final season. But of course, wouldn’t you know, a pestiferous epidemic was sweeping the country and tightened up the industry for almost two years.
Right after the pandemic finally eased up a little, however, Taylor booked a role with Cartel Pictures in the Lifetime movie “Sister with a Secret” as the title character, Tara, directed by Ben Meyerson. It premiered August 14, 2022 on the Lifetime Network and she received praise for her portrayal of the 18-year-old who was kidnapped. She also appeared this fall season in the LA Shorts International Film Festival for her role in “We're Here Because We Love You” as Sarah, directed by Chris Johnson.
And currently, you can watch Taylor in the Tubi original horror/comedy film “The Final Rose,” directed by Tim Cruz. She plays Abigail, a young superfan who comes to the island as a contestant of her favorite reality show. The film stars Christina Masterson, Brytni Sarpy, and Robert Palmer Watkins.
We caught up with Taylor Foster and wanted to get some further details on her latest project and ask a few questions about what she’ll be doing next. Join us now as she reveals some surprising facts on how her life has been one fast roller-coaster of a ride to success.
Taylor, thank you so much for taking time to be with us today and answer a few questions about some of the exciting things happening in your career, including the present Tubi Original Film, “The Final Rose,” which just came out. It’s classified as a horror/thriller, based on a reality show, and the part you played seemed ready-made for you. You must have had a super fun time in this role. Give us a little back-lot banter on how this came to be and who’s starring with you in the film.
“Thank you for chatting with me Chris! When I first read the script for The Final Rose, I knew it was a project I wanted to be a part of. The script was insanely captivating. The concept Tim Cruz and Blake Rutledge created blew me away, and it was so funny! Yes, it is a movie where you should expect blood and some jump scares, but you should also expect to laugh a lot. That's also partially thanks to our insanely talented cast, Robert Palmer Watkins, Brytni Sarpy, Carrie Alexander, Brittany Underwood, Robert Adamson and our star Christina Matherson.”
“I love that you feel like Abigail was made for me. I did feel like I got to thrive in her skin, and that's because there was a lot of freedom for me to fully create her. When I first auditioned, I initially sent in a tape for the lead role. But, Jess's description didn't match me at all. Christina, who did book the role, does a fabulous job and is perfectly cast. When I got called back, it was for Abigail, who had one description – superfan. She's a character that is the comedic relief with minimal dialog."
"These characters are the kind of character where, we as actors, have a lot of filling in the blanks to do. She isn't a large character, but I am gonna make sure you leave the film remembering that quirky redhead named Abigail.”
2018 Severed Road Premiere
I feel I have a true kinship with you, having lived myself for many years in the same general area in Texas where you grew up. If I’m not mistaken, your first passion there was competitive dance and ballet, where you performed in shows like Snow White and The Nutcracker, then you moved into plays and musicals. It seemed to be then that you realized you were destined for a career as an actor. What was that journey like, and how did you next shift into TV and Film?
“Texas! Yeah, I grew up as a competitive dancer in North Texas. My childhood? Think Dance Moms plus we did full ballets at every recital. I started dancing at three years old, and started to compete at six. I love dance, it's my first love, and it was my entire world. Growing up, I always said I wanted to be a ballerina, or a tap dancer, or a studio owner, anything dance! It was really the only world I knew. In 6th grade I joined theater and did some school musicals. I remember being on the stage and thinking ‘I can say words up here too!?’ And that was it. I didn't know how or what, but I was captivated with performing and I knew that dance wasn't enough.”
In 8th grade that answer started to form; my mother replied to the classic radio ad about your kid being on TV. I then came to LA the summer between 8th and 9th grade and took classes. That one week at 14 years old, I knew I was going to come to LA and pursue this career. I kept dancing but shifted focus. I stopped competing and started teaching at Dancer Strong in McKinney, TX. I signed with my first agent in Dallas, The Horne Agency, and started auditioning for commercials. Nothing really happened till I was 17 and I booked my first role in a film, and it was the lead. After my first LONG day on set in Texas, I thought ‘I can do this for the rest of my life.’”
2013 Saving Sloane BTS Daphne Stills
Earlier this summer, Taylor, you had another film you starred in, a thriller, which made everyone sit up and notice called “Sister with a Secret,” which can be seen on the Lifetime Network. It was this film which told me your star was well on the rise. Expand on that a little and tell us how you landed that role and how it was filmed.
“It was June and I was sitting in Texas having lunch with Carla Mullendore, my previous dance teacher, mentor, and second mom, when I got the call that I booked the role. It was my first role back from the pandemic, I hadn't worked since December 2019. I was so happy to share that moment with Carla; I was in town for my birthday and I had sent in a tape from my childhood dining room the week prior. This was filmed in July 2021, so COVID precautions were on an all- time high, and the entire casting process was determined off your initial tape. I didn't meet the cast or Ben Meyerson, our director, till the table read. And it wasn't till my third day on set I was told Lifetime was interested. I found myself feeling very fortunate. This script is good, this cast is amazing, Ben was a dream to work with, I loved my character, and it has distribution! For where I am in my career, this was the biggest role for me. I am very thankful to Paul Ruddy, our casting director, for not only seeing something in me for the project but also connecting me to the cast. Grace Narducci, who plays my sister, now forever feels like my sister. I love her and we still hang out.”
What do you consider to be your most favorite role or proudest accomplishment so far, and where do you picture yourself to be, say, five years from now?
“My favorite role and proudest accomplishment are two different things. I'd say my favorite role is Tara in Sister with a Secret. I was able to use a wide emotional range in the project, so I feel connected to it. But my proudest accomplishment is the work I did in 2020. When the world shut down, I lost both this industry and my waitress job. I learned so much about myself and the world that year. Prior to the pandemic, my worth was wrapped up in pursuing this dream. You'd ask me to describe myself, I'd say ‘performer, dancer, actor, artist, redhead.’ All true, but all unimportant. In 2020, I learned to make those words “powerful, vulnerable, strong, loyal, kind.” I put value into the important part of being a human. I'm constantly learning how to expand how I see myself, and five years from now, I hope to find myself not far off from this. I can't control much, but I can control my perspective. Five years from now, I hope I am still doing the important work.”
Taylor, you are probably the sunniest, most effervescent person I’ve ever met…definitely an extrovert! And that’s never a handicap when it comes to a profession like this. I’m sure your personality has helped propel you where you are today to some degree. So, for others, say, those budding actors and artists out there attempting to make it in the business too – what would you say to them about how to approach their career?
“Thanks Chris! My personality has helped leave an impression on people, whether it is good or bad. I have been in a meeting once and a grown man asked me “have you ever thought about talking less?” My response to him was “would you have asked me that if I was a man?” (the answer I'm sure you know) So, the small-town personality that stayed with me can be a thorn in some people's sides too. But I've learned those aren't the people for me. Anyone pursuing this career needs to just remain true to themselves, and know nothing is worth compromising that. This industry is brutal, it wants to eat up and spit out people. Stay true to who you are, and you won't be a part of that.”
What do you do for fun or relaxation when you’re not performing?
“I am a people person. I hang with my friends the most. If I am home alone, I find myself Facetiming my friends that live out of state. I love my friends. I have a lot of friends, and I truly try to put value into them. We will go out, see shows, grab food, watch movies, or just stay in and talk (my favorite). Growing up the way I did with dance, I was in the studio so often that, with school, I didn't have a lot of time to hang with friends. Weekdays were school then dance. Saturdays, dance then homework. Sunday was church. I only saw people my age at the places I was going. My twenties are making up for those lost teenage years.”
What else are you passionate about when you’re not in front of the camera?
“There are two things that will make me cry happy tears easily: musicals and dogs. Want me to fall in love with you? Sing musicals and have a dog, it is that easy. I don't pursue musicals at this point, one day I hope to. But for now, musicals are my happy place. Not work. I love going to watch a show. Those performers ignite my passion for this craft more than anything. And I am the person that listens to musical scores for fun.”
“And as for man's best friend? I grew up with A LOT of dogs. At one point we had 13 dogs, but between birth and me moving out, my family had cared for over 20 dogs (and one cat). So for me, dogs were part of my daily life. Growing up with more dogs than humans in the house, I felt like I understood dog behavior as much as I did human behavior. When I moved to LA at 18, I missed having dogs. So, I started to foster dogs. Ha-ha Taylor Foster fosters dogs. But my name isn't a mistake. I love fostering dogs. I've done it more than 10 times, and I feel like I am made to foster. It is always, always, hard to do, but always, always, worth it. Dogs are so special, and I hope to help rescue them my whole career.”
Can you answer a few rapid-fire questions?
Favorite TV Show? “Family guy, Seth McFarland I love you.”
Favorite Movie? “La La Land, judge me! Redhead, musical, about an actress. C'mon!”
Favorite Musical? “Drowsy Chaperon. It hits my heart like a musical should.”
Favorite Dance Routine? “I know all of Thriller by heart and will suggest it at any wedding.”
Favorite Restaurant? “Palms Thai on Hollywood Blvd., best Thai food in town!”
The Final Rose BTS
Sister with a Secret BTS
What do you think are your greatest strength and weakness, the one thing that people adore about you, and is there anything you would change?
“There isn't anything I'd change about myself first and foremost. Even my baggage, I love. I have a tattoo of a suitcase on my arm because my baggage is a part of me, and goes with me everywhere. A weakness is forgetting how little control I have in life, and a strength is remembering I don't have to always be in control. I decided to ask some of my best friends what they adore about me and see what they would say:”
Cole Wells: “Your confidence.”
Nik Whittemore: “ You're always down to talk.”
Maddy Cooper : “You're a very good friend. You're loyal and reliable.”
Lili Reinhart: “You cry when you see beautiful or cute things.”
Kylie Brown: “The uncanny ability to talk to literally anyone and everyone.”
Who do you consider to be your greatest creative inspiration and role model?
“Recently I started to fall in love with Joanne Woodard's life. Her roles, her performance, her life. She is insanely talented. She and Paul Newman were so in love unapologetically and publicly. She also became a mother. If my life turns out in a similar way, I'd feel like a dream come true.”
How would you describe yourself in 5 descriptive words?
“Confident. Strong. Verbose. Loyal. Extrovert.”
Do you have any new projects in the works right now, and are there any on your wish list?
Sister with a Secret
“I have a couple roles in the upcoming TV season. One role on Hulu, one on HBO, and one on Apple TV so far. As I am allowed, I will drop more information on what they are. I'm thankful to have these opportunities where the masses can watch. When you start out most projects you book aren't publicly available. Lately, most of my work I am able to share with friends, family, and fans. The only show that I would melt if I was cast would be Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That show is a dream.”
And finally Taylor, we’ve discussed some remarkable talents you possess. But what’s something else you are really good at that few people know about?
“I had to ask my mom this. I thought about saying tap dancer, or dog trainer, or things people already do know about me. My mother told me to write about my organizational skills! HA! So there is something fun and random about me. I love a good binder. I love my label maker. I love a good container. I am that girl that gets happy to walk into the container store. My brain is chaotic enough, my items can't be.”
You can find more about me on all my socials @taylrfostr or on my website www.taylrfostr.com
The "Artist Spotlight" is a continuing interview series highlighting entertainment professionals, working actors, singers, stage managers, producers, directors, designers and others in the arts and entertainment industry. In this exclusive interview, THE SHOW REPORT visits with versatile actor, dancer and performer Taylor Foster. Come share a moment with her as she opens up on how she continues to achieve a commanding presence in film & TV, what motivates her, and the skills and work that go into her crafts.
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