INTELLIGENT / PRINCIPLED / INDUSTRIOUS
She is not your typical California girl. Raised in the Bay Area, she studied molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently worked in biotech, studying the genetics of age-related metabolic diseases. She then moved to Los Angeles to obtain her MBA, assisted in taking an oil company public afterward, and then retired from the corporate world.
All the while, Amy has modeled. She started in pageants and local runway shows as a teenager, having been scouted at a mall when in high school. Obtaining print work while going to college and then entering fitness and glamour/nude/art modeling while in graduate school and since, she’s always enjoyed being around creative people and making gorgeous images for the public to enjoy.
Amy has been grateful to grace the covers of: Playboy in Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Australia and Africa; Muscle And Fitness Hers South Africa; FHM in USA, India, France, Australia, South Africa and Sweden; Maxim Africa; L’Officiel Baltics and India; and Glamour Bulgaria. Amy’s photos and writing has also been featured inside Playboy Italy, GQ Mexico, Sports Illustrated, Women’s Fitness, Men’s Health Latin America and Consumer Health Digest.
Since she decided to no longer work inside a lab or an office, Amy has enjoyed aviation. What started out as a hobby, evolved into a semi-professional pursuit. Amy has flown a variety of aircraft as an instructor, a charter pilot and a cargo pilot, over the years.
When she’s not in front of the camera or in the skies, you can find Amy at the gym (she absolutely loves keeping fit), traveling the world (she’s been to a few dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go!), or at the dog park with her furry son. Amy continues to love a variety of activities, including marksmanship (she’s a life member of the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation), snow skiing (the only white powder to which she’s ever been addicted is accessible by a Bell at Tyax!), SCUBA diving (drysuit training is on the list this year), tennis, golf, and polo.
Moevir Magazine JUNE Issue 2022 featured edition
Model: Amy Taylor @amytaylorla
Photographer: Dreamstatelive @dreamstatelive
Photographer: Ryan Dwyer @ry_dwy
Wardrobe Stylist: Aubree Lynn @stylishly_positive
Makeup Artist: Bridget Martinez
Makeup Artist: Michelle Vanderhule @beautybymichellev
Tell us something about you. Maybe your life, profession, habit, dream.
I’m inspired by my father. He was born an Eastern European refugee in World War II, and has since become a leader in academic research, a family man, and generally an inspirational survivor. He’s retained empathy for the homeless and poor despite being self-made in America; he devotes much of his time to creative and charitable work, and remains an example of the type of behavioral traits I admire and respect: competence, selflessness, mental fortitude, persistence, ambition, charity and yet restraint.
He’s the type of person I’d like to be; he gave me a solid foundation for adulthood by showing me how to manage time, solve problems, communicate well both verbally and in writing, think outside the box, and think critically about challenges. He’s led a life that inspires many; I can’t imagine having had to meet and triumph over the challenges he had to face because of war, poverty, self-doubt and abuse. And yet, he stays emotionally intelligent and kind; he didn’t let the horrors of geopolitics steal his kindness. I admire his work ethic, resilience, and emotional intelligence…every day, I try to emulate my dear Dad.
What makes you choose this profession?
My grandmother was a successful fashion photographer; my father and aunts modeled a bit. Modeling found me; my parents let me try it as a youth and I found I loved it and was decent at it! I’ve always been interested in the creative side of life; I enjoy being around crew, seeing their process and reveling in the final products of their hard work.
I’m thrilled to be a model, and I intend to stay on this path as long as possible. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy being around gorgeous clothing and exciting people? Entertaining others fits my personal interests—I’m a born ham—and I’m a self-starter, so I’m really enjoying the new landscape of owning one’s own content and monetizing it through new social media avenues. Models have income streams and ways to reach our public that we sure didn’t, years ago!
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?
I want to help expand the honest definition of who is a model, and the power models have to manage their own brands. Beauty has no age, ethnicity, height, race, weight or background…the real is valuable. For too long, modeling was reserved for silent, young, same-shaped, dehumanized teenage white girls.
The ranks are now changing and the nature of representation is advancing. Conventional approval is no longer required; the market speaks freely. The exclusive nature of modeling has been its nastiest trait; I’m happy to help upend that. I’m here for a broader definition of who and what is worthy, desired, and beautiful.
In your daily routine, what resources do you like to learn new things about art, fashion?
I follow people on social media who help me learn more about the modeling, fashion, beauty, health, fitness, business, makeup and hair knowledge and skills I need to keep current. I subscribe to newsletters and read books and magazines to stay abreast of current trends. I write and speak to the media; the research involved in preparation helps me learn.
I ask for and examine the feedback professionals and the unbiased public give on my work; this gives me (sometimes painful!) perspective and helps me develop and improve professionally. I study and even contact the people who inspire me and who I admire, learning from what they tell me and taking actions that help me try to acquire their qualities.
I’ve hired coaches, mentors, publicists and other skilled people to advance my business; I join chats and spaces to discuss business, and I review my goals and progress each year, rewarding myself when I achieve them. And I visit museums, stores and places with fashionable people, to discern what’s current and coming in the world of beauty and creativity.
Is art, fashion important in your life? Why?
Art and fashion are vital to my life; they aren’t at all frivolous or ephemeral. What I wear tells the story of who I am and who I want to be.
Fashion spreads ideas; materials are collaborations with science and engineering to improve our societies, lives and health. Obviously clothes protect and warm me, but the addition of technology to textiles is a facet of creativity about which I’m fascinated. Clothing is becoming a tool not only that carries emotions, relationships and history, but that bears personality, community and vitality.
I see art and fashion as enterprising, economic and vital. To me, it’s more than beautiful.
If you have a superpower or talent, which one do you wish to have? Why?
I think it’s a tie: I’d choose flying (without an airplane!), time travel, or shape shifting.
If I could fly, I’d be free, able to go anywhere easily and see other lifestyles/perspectives without the difficulty of travel hassles. I absolutely love new places and people, so this would feed my wanderlust and need for stimulation.
If I could travel through time, I’d visit many past eras and learn from historical icons; I’d also go meet my own ancestors. This kind of added input would make me wiser and more informed; I’m sure I’d be a better decision-maker if I could learn from the past firsthand.
If I could shape-shift, I’d try being another person or animal; switching between roles and trying new identities seems like it would be fun! I’d learn, enjoy variety, and probably expand my empathy for other living souls experiencing reality in a different way.
Do you have any problems with your profession? How did you solve it?
There are many problems in modeling: while theoretically progressive, it’s cutthroat, mistreats underage girls, condones sexual harassment, fails to provide financial security for workers, promotes an unhealthy lifestyle (eating disorders and drug use) and suffers from a lack of diversity (ageism, fat phobia, racism).
The industry clings to hateful and regressive habits and is reluctant to be truthful; however, social media is democratizing things. Exclusionary “A-lister” attitudes compromise many who feel afraid to speak out and risk their careers.
I solve this by demanding to be seen as human: I don’t allow travel costs to be taken from my fees, communicate with those who seek free labor, sign releases that deny my rights as a content creator, or work with anyone who is biased. I’m my own brand and I’m the boss. Models aren’t commodified products to be used; we’re human.
Who do people impact most in your profession? What do you learn from them?
We who work in modeling most impact the people who buy what’s being photographed and/or consume our content. My viewership base is about half men, half women, and largely my own age, mid 30s to mid 50s, mostly American. What I learn from these people is that they’re interested in their peer (me), that they enjoy looking at beautiful photos (who isn’t?), and that they are fascinated by a model with a brain and other interests (that the idea of a faceless model with no humanity is less compelling than it perhaps used to be).
I love learning what thrills my audience; when I’m able to be part of a crew that produces content that makes the public happy, I’ve done my job. If it impacts them to make and share their own beautiful selves with the world, in whatever way they choose, then it’s a good thing. Beauty saves.
What do you think about your work? Is it what you like, or simply saying a dream?
My work has definitely been a dream but, for me, it’s always been about the people. I thoroughly enjoy the souls I’ve met; they make work fun every shoot. They keep me moving forward and evolving; they teach me so much about modeling in different styles and at different ages. I’ve loved the collaborative, problem-solving atmosphere, and I’m excited by the unexpected differences one can’t anticipate, on each shoot.
I’ve been a model for over 30 years now, on and off. I pride myself on being an advocate, and I do my best to bring the same integrity to modeling on set and promotion online, that I’ve tried to bring to the rest of my life. But sure, it’s definitely also been dreamy!
In modern society, lots of people want to be famous, influential. What do you think about it?
I think the desire to be famous and influential is normal and healthy, within reason. Recognition helps us feel less vulnerable and anxious about social exclusion, and more like we can relate and belong to a network. Notability earns us money, allowing us more comfortable lifestyles. Wanting prominence can be a motivator to work harder, and achieving it rewards our egos by making us feel valued. Popularity also allows us to more greatly impact and contribute socially and financially to our families and to society. None of these are necessarily bad things to want; all of them can result in a more positive life.
To become famous, what kind of qualities do you think the person should have?
She should have and excel massively at a unique talent or skill: she should be unrivaled and so excellent that she sparks attention. She must communicate properly and connect with coworkers and the public. She must go above and beyond, specializing and sacrificing with hunger and drive…being average or trying to mimic others will never suffice. She will have to accept repeated failure enroute to fame, learning from it and improving. She’ll have to set and stick to a physical and mental standard, representing herself with excellence. Most importantly, she should gratefully pay it back to those who helped her, and pay it forward to those coming up after her.
What will be the suggestions to new photographers?
Choose the right talent: ensure his/her look works for the shoot concept, theme and story. Explain the shoot concept and give direction: models are actors and photographers are directors; everyone needs background and storyline to work with, to create the right outcome…positive encouragement is best, and if language is a challenge, stop and physically show the model what you want. Take breaks to avoid a grumpy team and a model who looks flat and unenthused; don’t lose track of time.
Keep your energy up: encourage everyone else by staying positive, even when tired, and everyone else will give their best as well. Use lighting correctly: forcing a model to squint into the sun just because you want that concrete wall as a backdrop and only have natural light as a source, will ruin your images. To this end, be aware of the elements: provide sun protection, water, and/or warm clothes as needed, so no one’s on edge. Don’t forget candid shots: sometimes the fit of laughter when the model isn’t acting, is the most striking shot of the day!
What is your favorite camera? Why?
As a model, I must sadly confess I know nothing about camera types.
Before a shoot I practice poses with and without accessories/props and in different clothing, and facial looks in different makeup and hair, until I can execute them all by feel, without a mirror or camera. I eat healthfully, drink water and avoid alcohol, and exercise daily. I do skin care, both at home and at the dermatologist. I laser off body hair, whiten my teeth and manicure/pedicure with only neutral pinks or clear gloss. I have my attorney review the model release before I sign.
The night before the shoot I get plenty of sleep, confirm the call sheet details, avoid spicy, greasy or salty food, ensure my haircut and condition is fresh and color is vibrant, groom eyebrows and exfoliate my face and body.
On the shoot day I avoid tight clothing, moisturize hair and body and remove perfume and jewelry. I pack a phone charger, sunscreen, neutral undergarments, towel, robe, tampons, water and snacks. I exercise in the morning, leave hair loose, eat lightly, and remember to have fun!
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from knowing life is short. From getting out into the world and seeing nature; the way light falls on a city or the quiet beauty of an art museum. When I travel I like to wander outside my comfort zone, feeling the way a new place or situation makes me react. Learning anything new is mental food, for me; I have an insatiable curiosity, and just getting outside and hearing new conversations can be enlightening.
More than anything else, I want to maximize my time here on earth; my ultimate inspiration is not wanting to waste my life, not wanting to miss out, not wanting to die feeling like I squandered my stay on the planet. I detest apathy; I abhor the ordinary. I want to push myself to have an extraordinary time here; I want this journey called life to have been wild, scary, beautiful and exhausting, by the time it’s over.
What are the most difficulties during your shoots?
The most difficult things during photo shoots all surround communication: I’m comfortable in front of a camera, but I can’t read the photographer and crew’s minds. I prefer when they voice their intentions, concept, goals, mood, expressions and poses. Instead of treating me like a living statue there only to be posed and take direction, I prefer they give me structure, feedback and context, allowing me to engage and cooperate for a better outcome in which I’m able to project some compelling, varied emotion in the photos and video, as I’m trained to be able to do. Allowing me to feel, move and express will provide the full expression of the external pose.
When the clothing isn’t environmentally suitable, it’s hard to give off the right vibe; I have decent strength and endurance, but temperature and uncomfortable poses can be brutal…breaks can be vital! Music helps the mood, privacy helps for changes, somewhere to sit when away from the camera, shade from sun, a rest from high heels…all of those improve working conditions and therefore mood on set.
How often do you create new works?
I shoot whenever I’m hired to do so; tends to be about 10 days a month, give or take. For my own portfolio refresh though, I keep it up to date every 3-4 months to ensure it’s still an accurate representation of who I am and the type of work for which I’m right. I shoot new content that shows where I want to go with my career, the type of model I am and the type of clients I’d like to attract. I don’t abandon my legacy work (I’m proud of it!), but as I evolve my craft and service abilities, I refine the message I’m sending to the world.
What is the most important thing for creating new work?
In my personal portfolio, the more important thing in creating new work is being realistic about the kind of modeling for which I’m best suited. Since the industry chooses me, clients decide if I’m right for the job; it’s vital my photos are an accurate description of where I fit so that I don’t waste their time and money or get rejected. The photos should show a variety of styles, lighting, wardrobe and mood, to show my range of performance ability and market me properly.
Talented hair and makeup artists and wardrobe stylists are crucial; horrid style can ruin even the best photographer and model’s work. A variety of poses should yield a balance of angles, and the addition of images with no makeup and no retouching helps engender trust. Most photos should be in color. In short, new work should reflect who I am at the time, accurately and positively.
Do you have that feeling? When you have a look at the work you created 1 or 2 years ago, you still think it is in fashion.
When I look at work I created years ago, I sometimes want to die of embarrassment! Then I realize I’m coming along, and I’m proud of how much better my photos get each year or two. I remember the exhilaration of each photo shoot, the creative and lovely crew with whom I got to work and learn from, how excited I was when the photos were published, and how much fun modeling has been as a career path. All the feedback from each shoot has made me better as I’ve aged, and I’ve seen a pattern of dreamy elegance, romance, soft power, and confident depth emerge in my latest images.
The shoots mark chapters of my life, and what I shoot now is an accumulation of many years of play. A bit older now, I have a better understanding of myself. It shows in my images. I’m less afraid of what people think; that shows in my poses. In another 1-2 years, I hope the work still shows how happy I am; I hope it’s work that’s still making my heart sing.
Will you still create new works when you are old?
Of course; older models are here to stay; they’re some of the industry’s favorites. Aged faces are striking, and youth-obsessed ageism is so, yawn, last season. Life isn’t a downhill slide; it’s an uphill climb. Younger models look to me with hopes they, too, will have long careers. Sadly, older models are still expected to be thin and have plastic surgery, to advertise the prevention of the signs of aging, and not allowed to be too sexy, but these things too will change (albeit slowly).
It annoys me that age is always a topic of interest in this industry. I’m not and won’t be allowed to be age-neutral, I guess. I don’t wake up thinking about my age; the number isn’t paired with my vitality at all.