Amy Taylor was born in Pennsylvania (her father taught at Penn State); she grew up around research and academia, which was a wonderfully intellectual, curious, open-minded and diverse culture. Amy have an older sister and my parents are still married; in short, she had a fabulous childhood. They traveled quite a bit to family in Europe (Amy studied there for a while in high school as well), and she loved growing up around several languages and lifestyles. They moved to the California Bay Area when she was a child, where she was able to better get to know her grandparents. Amy’s grandfather was a pilot, and flying with him made quite an impression on her as a child…she loved flying ever since. Her Dad was already very athletic, she started running races and doing ballet at a very young age.
Amy loved running distances, and she ended up part of the Sacramento Ballet as a teenager. She was scouted at a mall for modeling, and did runway in stores and at charity events until it was clear that she wasn’t going to get any taller…at that point, she switched to fitness, bikini, and pageant modeling. Sadly, Amy had to quit ballet when went to college at the University of California Berkeley; She still ran cross-country for her university (mostly to keep in shape…).
Studying biology, Amy enjoyed a rigorous few years of research and intellectual pursuit where being around the most brilliant minds in the world was sheer joy. She came to Los Angeles to add an MBA, and started modeling a great deal again (living in LA afforded so many more opportunities to model in print, glamour, fitness and other campaigns). After her MBA, she worked in the energy industry for a few years. During that time the company went public and her fitness life was shelved for a few years. Feeling unhealthy and overworked, she sold her stock, quit the oil biz, and decided to turn her other favorite hobby of aviation into a career. Amy has been a flight instructor, cargo and charter pilot ever since which has afforded her the time and freedom to continue modeling and staying fit and healthy into her now-40s! It’s been a multifaceted, but magical, life so far.
Please tell us a bit more about your multi-faceted lifestyle and how you combine it all?
I do enjoy a lot of things; the key for me is to not waste time. If it doesn’t serve me, I don’t do it. I’ve never felt guilty about saying “no” to something in which I’m not interested…I feel that life is short and beautiful, and I’m here to maximize my ability to enjoy it. Staying fit and healthy isn’t just fun (sure, it’s nice to look hot), but also vital to being able to do everything I want to do. I don’t have time to feel like garbage!
What has been your favorite experience that shaped who you are right now?
Becoming independently financially secure. The incredible amount of work it took to get here, and the fact that I did it all by myself, has shown me that I’m capable of more than I thought I was, that I am braver than I ever dreamed, that I can fail and keep going, and that nothing can keep me down for long. The cliche is true: the tough stuff isn’t as fun, but it makes us better. Certainly has been the case for me.
You are a woman of confidence, what is your best advice you can give someone who wants to boost their self esteem?
I’m not always confident: I make mistakes all the time! That said, confidence comes from making promises to yourself and then delivering on those promises. It’s like getting fit: the fitter you get, the more you can meet future athletic challenges…they don’t seem impossible when you know you’ve surmounted similar challenges in the past. If you want confidence, do difficult things. Gradually, as you succeed (sure, you’ll fail too, but don’t worry about that…just keep trying), your confidence will be bolstered and you’ll realize you’re more capable than you thought. Self-esteem is borne from integrity to yourself.
When you first started out, were there any major obstacles or setbacks you had to overcome?
Sure; I was too short to do runway and not quite beautiful enough to do high fashion, so I realized early on that I was going to have to work harder, be more reliable/punctual/professional/capable on set, to get jobs, than someone who was more naturally gifted than me. I learned to use what I have going for me (brains and integrity), to make up for the things I didn’t have (money, connections, the most perfect looks). It worked! Turns out that people like to hire people who get the job done right, every time. Reliability is a selling point.
What advice would you give someone who wants to transition their life towards a more healthy and fit lifestyle, but don’t know where to start?
Just start. Time passes, whether you start or not. So start…small steps at first (for fitness: hire a trainer, use a video, attend a very calm yoga class or just go move in a swimming pool. For diet: start incorporating healthier food slowly, and don’t punish yourself for transitioning slowly away from junk)…just begin! The better you feel and the more results you see, the more you’ll want to keep going and even do more…before you know it, in a while you’ll be eating really healthy and be quite fit. And once in a while you’ll be a little less fit, or eat some junk again…and that’s perfectly okay. Don’t be obsessive, don’t punish yourself. Make it fun; think of this as a reward for your one precious body which takes care of you so well through this life, not a punishment or denial of things you’d rather be doing or eating. You can learn to love a healthy lifestyle, if you surround yourself with healthy people and information on the subject. Don’t put it off another day!
What’s your training routine? Do you have a specific program you follow?
I do 45 minutes of lifting, 45 minutes of cardio, and 45 minutes of yoga, each about 4 times a week (sometimes I go several days without it, if I’m working or out of town, but I get back at it the moment I get home). I have a trainer who keeps things interesting, safe and fun…that certainly adds a lot of expense (and isn’t mandatory—for many years I did it by myself, with great results also); at this point in life I simply enjoy having the trainer.
We had the opportunity to work together in creating amazing photographs. How would you describe your overall experience with Natalie Minh Photography?
Natalie is pure fun! Her bubbly attitude, wicked sense of humor, and professionalism without stuffiness made the shoot day fly by. I felt like I was just spending time with a crew of friends; Natalie is so capable that she makes her work look easy. Her people arranged everything with razor-sharp organization and perfect communication; I never once felt like I didn’t know what was happening or whether or not I was in good hands. I’ve shot with many well-known photographers, and literally NO ONE operates more professionally than Natalie. And the images…my goodness, they’re so gorgeous! Natalie assisted me in getting poses I wouldn’t have thought of and angles that best flattered me, and the images that we came up with turned out just beautifully.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any projects?
I’m in a few magazines this summer, and I am shooting for several more this fall. I am also training to fly a different type of aircraft, so I’m in the simulator a ton! Personally, I’m remodeling my house, which is a pain but should be nice when done. And I’ll continue to do some travel, both alone and with family. I anticipate a great rest of the year.
Aside from fitness, what else is keeping you busy?
I spend way too much time playing with my dog, and I’m considering going back and finally finishing the Ph.D. that I never did. Probably won’t be this year, but it’s on my list…learning is such a passion, I’m not happy unless I’m undertaking the task of learning something about which I don’t yet know.
Absolutely! Thanks so much for helping make this shoot beautiful:
Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?