NEW photoshoot and interview of Taylor Schilling for Imagista Magazine
Taylor Schilling first grabbed our attention with her role as “Piper” on the hit Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black. But the actress, who was nominated for a Golden Globe award for the role, is so much more than that. We caught up with the busy actress as she navigates being creative in the time of pandemic.
Imagista: Hello Taylor. How are you keeping at this curious point in history?
Taylor: With lots of practice, I have become quite adept at living by life day by day. The ‘one day at a time’ practice is always very useful to me, but has proven to be even more vital now. Just as much as sleep or water. I’ve also gotten more involved in my own community, and spent time focusing on my interests outside of acting.
Imagista: At what point in your life history did you choose to pursue acting?
Taylor: At around 12 years old, I auditioned for the school musical to occupy my after-school hours, and some element of that experience just felt like home. My idea of acting continues to evolve but that first experience in my middle school cafeteria sparked a light in me.
Imagista: What actors/actresses inspired your work?
Taylor: Oh, so many. Right now, I feel particularly inspired by the people in my real life. And documentaries. I just watched “The Gleaners and I” again and wow those are inspiring characters. But in terms of actresses— early Diane Keaton really struck a chord with me. I was (and am!) blown away by how alive she makes every frame feel. Also Gena Rowlands. She entered my orbit a bit later in life but she is a gold standard.
Imagista: You recently starred in The Prodigy. What was it like working on a horror film?
Taylor: I really enjoyed the technical aspects of creating a successful stunt and scare.
Imagista: Are you a horror geek, like myself? If so, are you more of a Halloween-type horror person, or an Exorcist fan?
Taylor: Definitely partial to the Exorcist world. Lately, I’ve been getting really into true crime podcasts and documentaries—-they are certainly a form of horror.
Imagista: Many of our readers will recognize you from Orange is The New Black. What are your feelings on the show now?
Taylor: I loved doing Orange Is the New Black. It’s still strange talking about it in the past tense. It will always be a monumental part of my life. It was just a staggering, amazing group of people to work with. I feel so lucky to be connected to them.
magista: And recently you worked on another seminal television show: Monsterland. What was that like?
Taylor: It was really just a fun way to get back on a set and try some things out. It was a wonderful experience through and through.
Imagista: Talk to us about The Second Wave, and what drew you to the story.
Taylor: I have always so admired Robert and Michelle King, so the opportunity to work with them couldn’t be topped—and I was itching to be back on the job! After so many months isolated away during the pandemic, I was chomping to get back to work. Even before quarantine, I was taking some time to settle into my new life routine after seven seasons of Orange Is The New Black. The icing on the cake was that the Kings and this show gave me the opportunity to portray character unlike anything I’ve ever played before, and with a dream-come-true cast to collaborate with.
magista: The series is set in New York. Does the city play an integral part of the story?
Taylor: Absolutely. The camraderie of New Yorkers while facing a crisis is unmatched. I think the show captures this unique trait of NYC with reverence and humor.
Imagista: What’s it like working with a luminary of Audra McDonald’s stature?
Taylor: Oh, Audra Mcdonald is a living legend. I don’t even know what I could say that would do her justice. She’s a monolith. She is in her own category of talent and artistry. It’s like talking about Bette Davis or something. I don’t know why I think of Bette Davis – I guess she is another singular legend type in my mind. Audra is like that. I just felt very lucky to get to work with her.
Imagista: What’s something about you fans won’t find on Google?
Taylor: Oh, lord. Most things!! I really like to read. It holds my attention far more than watching anything on TV or the internet. In fact, I wish I was better at watching TV and film! The caveat about my reading is — I don’t think I intentionally retain a lot of what I read. I remember portions of what I read in the strangest moments sometimes.
I’m also learning sign language and I love it! I remember that I wanted to be an ASL interpreter when I was a kid.
People might find it surprising to know that I’m not very social. Although I love people.
Imagista: Finally, are there any other projects you’re working on?
Taylor: So much fun stuff on the horizon I wish I could talk about… Stay tuned!
“Life is so much easier when I allow myself to be myself and go with the flow. Whatever that looks like on a given day. If I can get quiet enough to truly check-in with myself, I usually end up on the right track.” – Taylor Schilling