Teyana Taylor was introduced to many years ago during her episode of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, but now she stars in A Thousand and One, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Speaking to Interview, she says she “would’ve never imagined in a million years” that she’d be where she is in her career. Yet, she knew she’s “always been ready.”
“I was always dancing. I was 12, choreographing for all the little hood dance groups,” Teyana says. “So the dream was always there, but I would’ve never thought I would see this day, even up until recently.” She credits her mother for working hard to make “a lot of things happen for me.”
Teyana notes her own experiences as a mother have helped her realize “the struggles that I didn’t understand that my mom had to deal with,” and says she now has “a whole different level of appreciation” for moms. She channels some of those women in her character, Inez, who makes sacrifices to ensure her son Terry has a better life than she did.
Teyana was six weeks postpartum when she started A Thousand and One and went to a few funerals during the course of filming; she says she “put it all into Inez.”
“I knew that I needed to prove myself, and the fact that this … is the moment that has taken me to heights I’ve always dreamed of and appreciation that I’ve yearned for, is amazing,” Teyana explains.
Moving forward, she wants to continue working with people who are passionate. “I don’t care where you are in life. People that share my story, people that are passionate,” she says. “I want to work with every single Black female director there is. There’s no set thing for me.”
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