Teyana Taylor on Modeling For the Pirelli Calendar and Her Kids' Love of Rick Owens
Of all the countless celebrities who've modeled in the Pirelli Calendar in the past, the 2024 cast stand out. Photographed by Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi in London and Ghana, this year's 50th edition features icons like Naomi Campbell, Angela Bassett, Idris Elba, Amanda Gorman, Jeymes Samuel, Margot Lee Shetterly, King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II — as well as multihyphenate Teyana Taylor.
After getting her start as the choreographer for Beyoncé's "Ring the Alarm" music video at the tender age of 15, Taylor has crafted an outstanding résumé as a singer, dancer, actress, creative director, and model, from her award-winning "Fade" video with Kanye West to her remarkable role in "A Thousand and One."
The 32 year-old has even dipped her feet into styling, most recently working with Usher and NBA star Kyle Kuzma. "Since I was younger, I've always loved fashion and sports, even creating a lifestyle blog that Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul supported. I've always wanted to merge fashion and sports because I didn't like how athletes were being dressed," Taylor tells POPSUGAR. "I'm truly living my dream of giving, whether behind the scenes or publicly; I just want to give people what I wasn't able to receive."
As everything she touches turns to gold, it's no surprise that Pirelli commissioned the Harlem-born star for this year's calendar. "It felt so amazing because Pirelli is super iconic and when we grow up seeing things that we love, we would never think in a million years that we'd be a part of it," she says of the project. "When I learned they wanted to shoot in Africa, I felt even better. I normally shoot in a studio or location within arm's reach in my other projects. So, to go to the motherland where they had a garden of roses, a spaceship, and crazy hair and dress, they embodied who I was, Mother Alien."
"They're just intelligent, strong, and beautiful little ladies who know what they want, so I'm really excited to see how much more serious they get into fashion as they get older."
Taylor shares that she wishes she could've brought her daughters to the shoot, as Junie and Rue are emerging style stars in their own right. In fact, both girls have a documented love for Rick Owens, Taylor shares. "Junie's 7, Rue just turned 3, and she even had a custom Rick Owens mermaid costume for Halloween," she says. "[Junie is] also an honorary Rick Owens worker, where she interns when she doesn't have school. And she even went viral when she sat front row at his show. She is literally that girl and knows exactly where she's going."
Ahead, Taylor opens up to POPSUGAR about the Pirelli experience, her faith, her daughters' impressive designer knowledge, and more.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Teyana Taylor on Modeling For the 2024 Pirelli Calendar
POPSUGAR: How did it feel to be chosen for the 50th anniversary of the calendar, and what was your experience like on set?
Teyana Taylor: Oh my god, it felt so amazing because Pirelli is super iconic. When I got the call, I'm like, 'Me? They want me? With who? And who? And who?' I was really grateful. They embodied who I was with the garden, the roses, the spaceship, and the crazy ensemble. It was really giving Mother Alien, and you can tell it wasn't like, oh yeah she's hot right now, so let's get her. Every detail was carefully thought out, and to experience Africa in that way was so amazing. Although I only had 30 hours there, I would wake up early to go to the markets, get clothes, and experience the culture, and it was just really beautiful.
PS: What is special to you about the calendar?
TT: What I respect about the calendar is that it was never a popularity thing. You had to be a true creative and do something meaningful in this world to be included. And to be next to so much Black excellence at that magnitude? That lineup is truly nothing to play with.
This year has been a big year for me, and being on the calendar was just further testament to my quote of always saying, "The wait is not punishment, it was preparation for what was already written." And honestly, this year has been nothing but filled with all of the things that God has already written for me, because what's written is already yours. It's just about when you get it. And I feel like He's just giving it to me tenfold. Why would I just sprinkle it here and there? I'm going to give you everything.
Teyana Taylor on Her Styling Career
PS: In addition to being a singer, dancer, actress, choreographer, and creative director, you're also a stylist, working with Kyle Kuzma recently. What's that experience like?
TT: Working with [Kyle] and Odell Beckham Jr. is always fun because I used to have a lifestyle Instagram blog where I catered to sports, and Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul supported it . . . I was one of the first people to really merge sports and fashion together on Instagram, before it became this big thing.
There was a time where a lot of clothes didn't really cater to athletes' sizes. And I'm naturally a helper, so it's like a full-circle moment to get back into my bag of styling athletes and artists. I'm truly living my dream of giving. So, when people look at me styling as a pivot, like, oh, she wasn't getting what she wanted so she went into this, it's not about getting what I wanted. I want to give people what I wasn't able to receive.
PS: Are there any celebrities that you would want to work with in the future?
TT: It's so crazy because I'm like everybody's either auntie or cousin, so I've really kind of worked with a lot of my dream celebrities. But, I would say probably Naomi Campbell. I love her and she loves me, too.
Teyana Taylor on Her Daughters' Style
PS: Are your daughters into fashion like you? Because your personal style is iconic, and I would love to know what Junie and Rue are thinking.
TT: Girl, wish me luck. Junie's 7, Rue just turned 3, and she even had a custom Rick Owens mermaid costume for Halloween. And even on her birthday for Ruechella, her dress was originally mine that I got tailored to her size because she said, "I want that dress."
And then Junie is the big boss who'll always ask me to go shopping. "Mom, can we go to Chrome Hearts today? Can we go to Gallery Department?" She's also an honorary Rick Owens worker, where she interns when she doesn't have school. And she even went viral when she sat front row at his show. She is literally that girl and knows exactly where she's going.
So, I definitely have a lot on my hands, wish my pockets luck. But yeah, they know [they] want to look exactly like Mommy and they're not settling for anything less. They're just intelligent, strong, and beautiful little ladies who know what they want, so I'm really excited to see how much more serious they get into fashion as they get older.