Many of you have expressed your interest in me writing about my time as a child actor, why I took time off, how to get in the business, funny stories, etc. So I decided to start an ongoing series that will be up on my blog called “Diary of a Teenage Drama Queen”. Super excited to share the real ups and downs of this crazy business with you all. Keep checking back for more in the series, and write me to let me know what else you want to hear about. Without further ado;
Diary of a Teenage Drama Queen: How This Craziness Started
When you find your dream, no one tells you just how hard it’s going to be to achieve it. No one warns you how much work it will take. Being only a child when I found my dream, I was especially naïve. To me at the ripe age of 10, all was sunshine and rainbows; it would all be easy because I decided I knew what I wanted to do…right?
Fast forward through so many heartbreaks, getting down to the end on countless parts only to be told that I was too young or too old or looked like someone they hated from high school (yes that happened). In this business, the highs are high and the lows are oh so low. What you don’t know going into it is that unlike other professions, your next job is not guaranteed. But that’s what makes it so much better when you finally get the resounding “yes” you’ve been searching for. That’s what makes it all worth it.
As a young kid I was always was putting on shows and finding ways to channel my creativity. I was that young girl who would walk around aimlessly, talking to herself because I was creating some made up story or universe. I remember playing “house” was my favorite childhood game. It allowed me a chance to become someone else. Not that being me was bad in any means, I had a wonderful childhood, but I’ve always had a passion for getting to know others and living life in their shoes. None of this ever added up to me wanting to be an actress though. I was just a kid living in Arizona with my family, we knew nothing of Hollywood or the entertainment industry. My love for being other people only ever added up to annoying my brother because I roped him in to yet another one of my stories or forcing my mom to play along as well.
It wasn’t until I was 10 years old that my dad heard something on the radio for a modeling search and thought that might be something I would like, after all, I always loved attention. Finding modeling quickly turned to me finding an acting class. Once I found acting, I was hooked. It was like my love and passion collided in this amazing dream. It was a recipe for happiness like I had never experienced in my small time on this earth I thought, “This is what God made me to do” and that was when my love affair with acting began. Soon after taking a class or two in Arizona, I was discovered by an agent who wanted me to come out to California to audition for commercials, movies, and television. There was only one problem, I was super shy, like I’m talking I wouldn’t talk to most people shy. What a bizarre thing for a shy person to fall in love with, considering acting is so reliant on you being outgoing and vulnerable in front of people you’ve literally just met. I remember my first audition was for a Sketchers commercial. So many young girls were there and I was so intimidated, but I pushed myself to go in and be somewhat outgoing. I probably completely bombed that audition, but I loved every second of it. It’s all I could talk about on our six hour drive home from California to Arizona. My mother is a saint that I will never be able to repay. Who drives 6 hours BOTH ways in ONE day for a commercial audition? My mother that’s who. Simply because her daughter said she was in love with something. My mom quickly realized that driving back and fourth from Arizona to California was not a realistic endeavor. As my auditions moved from commercial auditions to actual film and tv auditions, she realized we would probably have to be local to keep up. So my mom, brother, and I came out to Hollywood (less glamorously, the Burbank area). It was hard to be away from my dad, but we managed. My mom has a teaching degree so our elementary school allowed her to teach us the curriculum as long as we did everything our peers did in class, just at home. It was crazy and it all happened so fast, but I was absolutely infatuated with the business and everything to do with acting.
Within the first month of being in Cali, I got called to go in on one of my first major motion picture movie roles. I was the most excited little girl you would ever meet. The role was for a more tomboy type girl in a new kids movie by a prominent director. It could not have been more opposite of my very girly personality. My mom, knowing that I probably wouldn’t have a chance at this film, just told me not to overthink it and just go have fun. I showed up to the audition in my most “tom boy” type shirt I owned (which was hilariously a white and pink Guess kids jersey type shirt, so it was basically still totally girly) and was so surprised to see that a TON of girls were there also. Having only been to a few film auditions before, I didn’t know what to expect. They were running behind, as auditions usually do, and after watching countless girls go in and out of the office, I went into the audition and met with the casting director. I just did what came natural to me, had so much fun, and left it all in the room. As my mom and I walked back to our car, I turned into a motor mouth, talking a million miles a minute. Although I didn’t feel like the audition went that well, I was in love and couldn’t wait until my next audition. I was completely hooked. The next day I got the most surprising phone call, I had gotten a call back for the film and we set up a time for me to come in and read for the director. Me. Taylor Dooley. The girly girl in the odd shirt. Got a call back for a film. I went in on my first call back for The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and as it turns out, the character wasn’t so different from me after all….