If there’s anything Regina Taylor can’t do, it’s leave her creative life behind.
Taylor, the self-described “multitasker,” is an actress, playwright and director. She says that she works these different jobs because she enjoys the collaboration. To her, all of her jobs are part of the whole scope of her creativity.
“The life as an actor, the life as a writer, the life as a director -– they’re intertwined with my perspective of how I live my life,” she said. “All of it is interconnected.”
Regina Taylor will be visiting the School of Communication on Wednesday, Nov. 18 as the 2009 Hope Abelson Artist-in-Residence. Students will have a chance to listen and talk to the award-winning actress, director and playwright in the Annie May Swift Auditorium at 5:30 p.m.
Inspired by her mother’s passion for the arts, Taylor began as a writer. Her childhood books made out of construction paper and crayons evolved into stories and plays such as Crowns and Magnolia, works she calls her “children.”
Taylor discovered her affinity for understanding characters through the stories and said that she eventually took up acting as well after exploring it in college.
“I could immerse myself in books and be transported to a different time and walk in other people’s shoes, live different lives,” Taylor said. “You can go as far as you imagine.”
Taylor’s imagination and creativity have garnered her recognition and praise. She won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series and garnered two Emmy Award nominations for her role as Lilly Harper in I’ll Fly Away. She also received an NAACP Image Award for portraying Molly Blane on the television series The Unit.
“I felt surprise, excitement, wonder and humbleness,” she said of her moments of recognition. “As I’m working, I’m not thinking about winning an award, I’m thinking about doing the best job I can. I’m digging as deep as I can to illuminate the truth in the work.”
Throughout her career, Taylor has also worked with actors like Denzel Washington and Kevin Spacey in films such as Courage Under Fire and The Negotiator, respectively. However, she said that she loves working with whomever she can and creating a network of artists to work with.
“I think the life in being a part of this industry is that you’re part of this nomadic tribe, and you have these experiences, and then you move on,” she said. “You’re creating relationships that as you move forward, in being tied to the arts, you’ll cross paths again.”
On stage, Taylor is also known for being the first African American actress to portray Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway.
“It was an incredible feeling,” Taylor explained about the experience. “It was one of the most demanding roles that I had ever taken. It was something that totally encompassed and pushed me in terms of being an actress and who I wanted to be as an actress.”
After recently wrapping the final season of The Unit, Taylor says that she wants to focus more on writing a new series of plays. In her writing, she explains that she likes to connect her own life with her work.
“With everything, I use my own experiences,” she said. “If you can be open to life, there are many experiences you acquire through reading, through sitting on a park bench and observing people as well as being touched by life as you’re moving through life.”
For students looking to enter the entertainment industry, Taylor advises them “to be daring, to not be afraid of your own fierceness, to own yourself and to own your own voice.” It worked for her.
“My goal is to live a creative life,” she said. “I love conversations. I love working. I love dancing. I love dancing inside. I love dancing in the street. I like sitting back and observing. I like throwing myself wholeheartedly in a new experience. I want to have a life of no regrets and look at it all as a growing process.”