Since just the age of 16, Teyana Taylor has been a fixture of our televisions and timelines, adored for her unapologetic attitude and edgy sense of style. Now, nearly 15 years later, many of those childhood dreams she had are just now coming true, including, partnering with beauty brand Olay for their latest body product.
ESSENCE got to chat with Taylor all about the collaboration, as well as about her production company, starring on film, and instilling self-worth in her two daughters.
Olay is such a heritage brand with so much history. How far back does your relationship with the brand go?
TEYANA TAYLOR: Before social media, when we were all glued to our televisions and we were into the commercials and TV shows, I always loved the Olay commercials. I always wanted to be an Olay girl. So to be able to go from that to actually working with them is amazing because not only did I want to always be in the commercials, but I would literally run to the drug store and get Olay product. They actually were able to talk and back it up, like the products were really, really great So this is kind of like a full-circle moment for me.
I know you’ve tried so many, but if you had to pick your favorite Olay product, what would it be?
TAYLOR: So I don’t even know if you tried it yet, but if you haven’t tried the Body Cleansing & Renewing Duo with Retinol, go to Target and get it. It’s newest thing and it’s absolutely amazing. I use it every single day. When I tell you it’s so amazing and honestly feel likes a conditioner for your skin right after you shower. You just lightly pat dry and air-dry for the rest, and it’s crazy how smooth your skin will be. You know what I’m talking about when you wash your hair and do a good condition how fluffy and soft your hair be, this is like a body version of that.
And you spoke on the love you had in particular for the commercials, and now your production company The Aunties is creating a space for Black women to be a part of those television moments. Can you talk about kind of that void that you see in the industry and how you all are bridging that gap?
TAYLOR: It comes so naturally to us. Because like you said, we grew up watching these kinds of things. When a commercial comes on during a show, everybody in house usually ignores it but I was always the kid that was like, “Oh my God, this is amazing!” Like I knew at some point I was going to be a director to because I just looked at things differently, you know? So it was like growing up with that mindset and really looking at those little details, I felt like naturally The Aunties would go in and really make moments like that important again, and make visuals and commercials great again. Really, just advertisements in general. So I’m excited to see how we’ll continue to impact the industry.
And you’re just as much of a talent in front of the camera, recently starring in Coming 2 America, for someone who grew up with that movie, what was it like for you to be a part of the sequel?
TAYLOR: Honestly, it kind of reminds me of the Olay situation. Like, Coming To America was literally one of my favorite movies. Like when that movie came out it was like playback, playback, playback, playback. It was so so legendary and iconic. I would’ve never thought that I would have seen the day that I would have been the part it, you know? I got to stand next to all these icons it just felt so surreal. Like you said, coming up on that kind of stuff, you’re not sitting there thinking that one day you’ll be a part of it, so it’s crazy.
And you know, you’re on set so often shooting things and getting all glammed up. Do you do a lot in the beauty department in real life?
TAYLOR: Uh uh, I’m not like that. My fans know that auntie is lazy, baby. I’m lazy, baby. Listen, if you think I’m about to be made up 24/7 to take a picture, it’s not going to happen. With everything with the pandemic and everybody being able to stay home, that was right up my alley because I was pregnant and I didn’t have to wear makeup. That’s also a reason why I’m so in love with the era of the nineties, because you know back then less was more, you didn’t have to do much like that’s when you would feel fine without makeup. You know what I’m saying? Like, I feel like the standard of beauty has changed so much throughout the years that it’s putting so much pressure on people to look a certain way. But growing up and finding myself, honestly, like I stopped letting that affect me a long time ago. You know what I’m saying? I have these kids, these beautiful daughters, and I’m telling them how beautiful they are. So what am I saying if I’m myself worried about everyone else’s standards of beauty? Like, no, we’re not doing that.
You talk about your daughters and it’s clear that while Rue is still young, it’s so clear that Junie is going to be a glamour girl. So what do you teach her about self-love and beauty?
TAYLOR: Honestly, Junie is really like learning as she goes. Like every time I’m going to makeup, junior’s right next to me like, “This is blush? This goes on the cheek. right? And this is eyeshadow?” And she’ll point to my MAC collection. MAC sent her, her own like little makeup and she’s really been doing her makeup. Then she’s doing her best friend Cammie’s makeup, too. Like Junie is really into that, she loves makeup and all that kind of stuff. So I just let her be her. And I just love seeing her in her element machine learning. Honestly, she’s a Curious George, she asks so many questions. I love that about her. The funny part of it is like she was like, “Mommy, you want makeup? I tried to Google contouring and you didn’t put me on any concealer.” I’m like, Oh my God, what have I created? This ain’t back in the day where you could throw some blush on her and she was fine, she’s asking the big questions now.