*Read the extended version of the interview below (3 more questions at the bottom) :
At just 14 years of age, Taya Brooks @tayabrooks has turned her pastime activities into paying jobs coupled with international stardom. She gets in a long chitchat with Teenlionaire @teenlionaire and discusses her intriguing childhood, smooth-running career, and aspirations for the future.
Today on Teenlionaire, we talk with the beautiful, multi-talented 14-year-old Taya Brooks… Residing in the Australian city of Melbourne, one of the world’s most liveable cities… Talented and generous… Dancer, model, and fund-raising celebrity… Involved with Australia’s Flo Active Wear and Sylvia P, and Hong Kong’s Milk Magazine… First of all, tell me who Taya Brooks really is? What process did you go through to become the outstanding girl you are today?
Taya Brooks is your typical Aussie teen girl. I’m really not the famous glamorous model that so many people see, though I am working hard at it. I’m actually quite goofy, anyone watching my lives can attest to this. I’m genuinely a very happy person. I love my life. I enjoy simple things like spending time with friends and family. One thing that I believe sets me apart from other models is that I’m not afraid to show people who I really am. I don’t have to have a face full of makeup on and my hair done before I present myself to the world nor do I need to always be wearing high end fashion or expensive brands.
Hmm… Could you tell me more about your childhood and upbringing? I do know Barooga is a small town with less than 2,000 inhabitants; but, what made your stay in the town interesting?
I have such fond memories of my childhood. I’m the youngest in a big family with 4 older brothers. At times I was mum’s little princess but equally I could be rough and tumble with the boys. I grew up in the country until I was 10 years of age. Community spirit is amazing in small country towns. Everyone knows each other and they look out for each other. Life revolves around your local sporting clubs and community groups. Weekends were spent at football games and we had fun nights in the clubrooms or local pub where the kids all hung out together eating hot chips and drinking pots of raspberry. It’s vastly different to city life. I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to experience both.
So, you ultimately winded up in Melbourne… Hmm… Moving from a small town to a big city must have been something for a young girl like you… What are your favorite or most unforgettable memories from the first year?
There were so many changes to adapt to in my first year in Melbourne. It was an exciting time. It was my first time attending a girls only school. The novelty only lasted a year though before I begged my parents to send me to the co-ed school which my brothers attended. I missed them desperately. My new dance school was hugely challenging. I threw myself into it fully and loved the fast pace of it. I joined the elite competition team and travelled overseas to compete for my first time. This was the highlight of the year for me. We lived in a small apartment at first with no backyard. This was a huge change coming from a large home on 66 acres. We lived so close to school that I got to walk each day which was so enjoyable after having always caught a bus in the country.
Nice. Ok so you have a very impressive portfolio of over 100 photoshoots in just two years… From dancewear to swimwear to activewear brands, you’ve practically created a name for yourself in the industry… Still, what are your plans for the future?… Do you look up to some supermodels and say, “Hey, I’ll be like you someday”?… What about brands and photographers? Which do you look further to work with?… And how are you working towards accomplishing these plans and aspirations?
I actually have some very exciting plans for the near future but unfortunately I can’t reveal them just yet so you will just have to stay tuned. I’ve certainly got role models within the industry that I look up to and aspire to be like. In Australia, I just love Elyse Knowles. She’s a country girl and she’s beautiful inside and out. She’s sporty, kind hearted and charitable which I really admire. Internationally, I love Gigi and Bella Hadid and Yolanda too. They have built such a hugely successful empire and they each have the same wholesome girl next door qualities that I admire. There’s so many photographers on my bucket list to shoot with that I couldn’t possibly name them. Hopefully I’ll be on their radar sometime soon. I’m traveling to LA and New York next month and I have some very exciting opportunities awaiting me when I’m there.
Well… Let’s talk about how you started off getting paid to showcase your beauty… Most models are just in it for the money or fame; but you, what established your interest in modeling and drives your camera affair?
To be honest, I just fell into modeling. My dance school held an open day audition with the agency, Giant Management. I went along and the next thing I was signed up and working. It’s been an ongoing learning journey ever since and I think it always will be. Every shoot is different. I love getting into character for every shoot to meet the client brief. It’s challenging and it’s so satisfying when you get a great end result.
In addition to modeling, you are also a talented dancer… Wow… Tell me, how did you get involved in professional dancing and how’s it going for you?… The last I heard, you were troubling other countries in competitions…
I started dancing when I was 3 years of age. I wasn’t actually old enough to join the dance school for another year but I went along each week with an older brother and I drove the dance teacher insane standing at the back of the room copying her every move so eventually she caved in and let me join early. I fell in love with dance competitions from an early age. Back then I only needed to go out on the floor in a cute costume and shake my butt to get awarded a trophy so I amassed hundreds of trophies. Obviously the competitions have got harder as I’ve grown older but it’s more the opportunities I really enjoy with my dance now. I’ve been around the world competing to places like the USA, China, Korea and South Africa. These trips will stay with me forever.
Haha Cool… You love traveling, right?… Good… Do you think moving from Barooga to Melbourne stimulated this interest? Or, were you born to tour the length and breadth of our dear planet?
I’m not sure where my love of travel has come from but visiting other places has become an obsession for me. There’s so much knowledge to be gained from traveling the world and witnessing the lifestyles and customs of other countries. I’m even contemplating becoming a pilot so I can fly myself all around the world.
Captain Taya Brooks… Awesome… It’s 2018, the Chinese call it the Year of the Dog… For you, what’s going on? What have you done so far?
2018 has been a year of huge growth for me (physically and emotionally). It’s been a year of acquiring the skills I need to move forward into the world of adult modeling. I’m taking up every opportunity offered to me so that I gain more skills and expand my portfolio. That’s what my LA and New York trip are all about.
Last, a beauty tip from Taya Brooks.
There’s a famous quote that beauty is the promise of happiness. So my best beauty tip would be to do that which makes you truly happy and you will always exude natural beauty.
Credits: Photos by Demi Kovac. Headpiece by Bliss Florist and Giftware.