How Taylor LaShae built an empire by being fearlessly herself and never taking no for an answer
In case you don’t already know, Taylor LaShae is a total boss ass bitch. You probably follow her on Instagram, or have seen her modeling for brands like Gucci, Marc Jacobs, or Kim Kardashian’s new “Skims” line, just to name a few. She’s this month’s Rebel with a Cause for the way she single-handedly built her own empire - by simply believing in herself and not taking no for an answer. I have the pleasure of writing about her, as I’ve gotten to witness Taylor’s rise to success firsthand; because she also happens to be one of my best friends.
Taylor and I are both from Houston and first met at a concert in 2007 where she was working the booth for Neal Hamil Modeling Agency. We ran around with some of the same crew and I knew who she was from her impeccably styled modeling with Bleubird Vintage. I always thought she was super cool, and I low-key really wanted to be her friend. It wasn’t until I launched Ladies of Paradise in 2015 that we started talking and working together. I would send her bags and jewelry when she moved to NYC, and she would shoot them and shout me out on her Instagram. At the time, she was working as a casting agent for Ford Models and also dabbling in acting (and by dabbling I mean she had a regular freaking gig on Boardwalk Empire). At Ford, clients were often interested in her but she was turned down jobs due to her height.
She decided to leave NYC for Los Angeles around the same time I was moving from Houston to LA, and I had an extra room in a sick ass house in the Hollywood Hills. I hit up Taylor first, and she was super excited to move in. It was in that Nichols Canyon house, with our CRAZY ass land lord and late night house parties, where our friendship really blossomed.
Taylor was at a point in her life where she wanted to work for herself and be independent. She started booking jobs in LA with honestly whoever she could. From shooting with surf boutiques to trendy sunglasses companies, Taylor was always hustling her ass off. It wasn’t always easy, and I remember we’d talk about her struggling with the idea of wanting to go back to working in the corporate world for an agency. But she was super determined; she wanted to book bigger brands, grow her career, and travel the fucking world. So, around the same time I moved to Oregon, she said “see ya, LA” and booked a one way ticket to Australia.
In Australia she really amped up her modeling game. It was there that she met photographer and friend, Amberly Valentine, who helped her start booking jobs all over Southeast Asia. It was truly wonderful to watch from afar - this life she created for herself and how she did it alone. Her Instagram stories were filled with beautiful sceneries and really curated videos that she would edit herself. She has always had her own vision and really knew how to promote her own aesthetic for brands, something that really set her apart.
After a year in Australia, and a minor deportation case making her leave (long story!), Taylor returned to NYC for a fresh re-start in the good ol’ US of A. Not for long though, because she got the offer of a lifetime - to move to Paris for a job as the Creative Director for The Kooples.
In Paris, she fought hurdles of working in an atmosphere that spoke an entirely different language, but rose to the occasion and slayed at her position. She learned how to design and launch a line, while simultaneously building her modeling portfolio with top designer brands. She was brushing elbows with Gigi and Bella Hadid at fashion week and was regularly getting shot by French paparazzi. it was during her time in Paris where she really elevated and sophisticated her style and signature look. She returned back to nyc after the company sold a year later, with a ton of experience and motivation.
These days, Taylor is repping her sunglasses collab with Lu Goldie; an Aussie-based sunglasses line, and is continuously modeling for the biggest names in the industry. I get regular texts from my friends with screenshots of her, saying “look at your friend!”, like most recently from Kim K’s Instagram story, or an article talking about how Vanessa Hudgens got her haircut inspo from Taylor LaShae.
I am immensely proud of Taylor and love watching her pave her own way in this crazy life. She has the dopest style, always is jamming the coolest music, can rap battle you in any song, and can shoot free throws like a beast. Taylor LaShae is the epitome of cool. I love you T! Keep killing it.
tell us Taylor,
What makes you feel the most authentically you?
when i'm at home listening to my favorite 6 songs on repeat while cleaning my house! haha doesn't seem like much but nothing feels more 'me' then organizing my space with my things and screaming tame impala at the top of my lungs.
What does being authentic mean to you?
authentic to me just means genuinity. what makes you you. what gives you that spark that no one else has.. that glimmer that makes you, and only you tick.
What are you proud to support?
i am proud to support art. beauty. romance. hand written letters. chivalry. postcards.... everything sentimental — i support it. i feel no one remembers what nostalgia feels like anymore
What are you proud to rebel against?
i'm proud to rebel against fast fashion, sleeping on first dates, doing whatever everyone else is doing, having icons...
What is your favorite quirk about yourself?
i'm literally a 12 year old boy. i enjoy video games and sci-fi movies.. i think it makes for interesting conversation.
Why is it important for women to support other women?
i believe it's important for women to support women because well, isn't it obvious?
What does Lady Jays lifestyle mean to you?
it means standing up and being yourself... and becoming a boss within yourself FOR yourself. i think lady jays is the poster woman for that message.