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Life and Work with Charmee Taylor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charmee Taylor.

Charmee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Right after I graduated from Penn State, I knew that I needed a change. I’m from a very small town in Pennsylvania and grew up very religious and I needed a change. I always had my heart set on moving to LA so after I graduated I took an au pair job in San Francisco with a British family. I love San Francisco so very much. I just gelled with the people. But it just didn’t work out since I am an artist and even though I loved the city I felt this thirst for creativity that wasn’t quite quenched, with the job that I had. So, one day, I just decided to head to LA. Ok, actually the family sat me down and said, “if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?” In my head, I knew I couldn’t go home and LA is where I had my heart set. I said LA and I moved there with $200 no job, and the plan to sleep on my cousin’s couch, I’ve been here ever since. I had someone tell me in San Francisco that I should save five thousand dollars and I just kinda jumped. I haven’t looked back since. LA was an anointed calling that I could genuinely feel deep within me and I wasn’t going to let money interfere with my what my heart wanted. I wanted it that bad.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nope. Moving to a new city is terrifying but being an actor and dealing with rejection that feels personal is a hit to the ego. I mean there are a lot of people that don’t have your best interest at heart in this city and powering through that and truly knowing who you are is key. I found that my adulthood has been established in LA, I now walk into auditions, rooms, events with this new found confidence. I know my worth and what I bring to the table. To quote the most relevant philosopher’s of our time “I just took a DNA test turns out that I’m 100% that B!” You really find very quickly that even when you’re in spaces with people that are more talented, attractive, fill in the blanks, that no one is you. And I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. There are challenges along the way but you are meant for the moments and divine opportunities that you are meant for, simple as that.

Please tell us about what you do.
I am an actor, but I’m also an activist, producer, writer. I work very hard at sharpening all of those skills with the realization that not every Network, TV show, the production company is open to queer women of color and our stories. Those are the stories that I like to tell. I think that they are important and relevant and beautiful. Hollywood pretends to be a lot of things and open to brown stories is one of them. Hollywood will tell a brown story with the caveat that it has to be through a white lens. I think of myself as a disruptor and want to shake that up. A film that I worked on, called Lucky, is going to be in Outfest in July and playing at the TCL Chinese Theatre as apart of the biggest LGBTQ+ Film Festival and its surreal. I’m so excited that I get an opportunity to tell a story that I’ve never seen done on camera before.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
The mentors that I have had have come very organically. I am very in tune with myself and with years of living in this city people will project. So, being in tune with yourself is key first. When it comes to networking, forcing anything is just so obvious so when you love yourself positive things will just attract you. I’ve found that when I take time to really have positive self talk random things will just happen with project that just naturally creates a network of people but also the more time in a city the stronger the network.

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Image Credit:
Kelsey Amelia Snelling, Jesus Valerio, Olivia Koterska

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