Every aspiring actress pretty much has two goals whenever they set out to pursue the big screen: be the lead role or work alongside some pretty kick ass, world-renowned actors and actresses. But, not many people can say that they've accomplished those huge pursuits by the age of just 10-years old.
Actress Tayler Hamilton can cross this huge bucket list item off her goals and isn't stopping there. After a whirlwind experience working on her first movie set, Hamilton is taking her initial brush with stardom and is more determined than ever to make it as a feature film actress as an adult.
Hamilton scored her very first feature film role opposite Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd in the film, “De-Lovely," after catching the eye of Emmy winning casting director Nina Gold. In the film, based on the musical career of Cole Porter, Tayler was given a speaking part, performed a duet with Ashley Judd, had her own trailer and even attended the film's premiere in New York City with her mom. While this unforgettable experience seemed to happen in a whirlwind, Tayler's budding movie career was put on hold when her dad's job was relocated to Singapore and he moved his family there right after the film's release. “It was one of the best experiences of my life," Hamilton says, “both Ashley and Kevin are so talented, I was lucky to be able to work with them at such a young age. Ashley and I sang a duet together, called True Love. During filming for the song, Ashley and I would sit together at the Piano in between takes, and she would show me this book of flowers that she was looking through, trying to decide what flowers to grow at her home."
Photo Courtesy of Steven Swancoat
"She was so kind to me, included me in everything we did together on set, and is still one of the most genuine actors I have been lucky to work with. Her voice is also incredibly calming, so as a young child on set, she was someone I looked up too, and strived to be like."
And of course, working with Kevin Kline on a daily basis made a true impact on her young acting career, as well. “Kevin is amazing, he made me feel so special during filming, even though he was this talented, lead actor, he was so humble and kind that you almost forgot who he was, he was like a friend. When my mother and I went to the after party after the NYC premiere, Kevin saw me and came up to me and gave me a big hug and spun me around – I will never forget this moment! Working with both Kevin and Ashley taught me to always treat everyone with equal respect, no matter how important they are, or what their role is."
She continued to perform and keep her love for acting alive through high school. Since her father's relocation, she's lived on three different continents by the age of 15, but always knew that she would find a way to bridge the gap between being a child actor and the big goals she still had for her career as an adult.
The coolest takeaway for me though, it how much she has learned about being a girl boss at a young age and what building her own brand from the start really means. “If you want something to be done, you have to do it yourself. I've realized how much work goes into promoting a brand, especially if you're working on your own, or promoting yourself. My experience has taught me that the film industry has so much to do with self-promotion and networking, that marketing and branding come along with that hand in hand."
And of course, she's already learned to be ready for big things at any given moment. “There is never any down time in this industry, things come up so quickly, that if you miss them, they will pass you by. Its constant hard work, constant marketing and dedication to ensure that you are able to elevate your career to the next level," she shared.
After attending the University of Delaware, earning a degree in business marketing and theatre and has now in her twenties is living New York City to pursue her dream full time - but not without taking what she learned in business school and applying it to her acting career. “My training in branding and marketing helped me develop a plan for exposure, and well as a financial plan in order to be the most successful I could be. I developed the social media skills to drive demand and create an interest in myself and my brand through the various projects I did whether that be in modeling, theatre, TV, or film. During my early start, I did research online to get work for myself, and consistently tried to reach influencers in the industry. I researched from the ground up and since then have been very successful in differentiating myself among the competition in my industry. As I got busier, I continued to develop my brand through building up my social media, exposure, and networking."
Moving to the city and following her heart has turned out to be the best for her, as she has landed a host of modeling gigs, performed in several off-Broadway shows and has been wracking up some impressive film and TV credits including “Oceans 8" and “Orange is the New Black," among many others. She's currently landed a lead role in a thriller and couldn't be more excited about the upcoming experience, “I'm currently working on a new movie that's filming up in Michigan over the next month. The film is a thriller, shot at a secluded cabin in the woods- I am so excited about this, as this is my first time acting as a lead in a thriller, and it will be made into a feature this coming year!"
Her one piece of advice for women looking to make it on the big screen is, “never say no to an opportunity. You never know what that opportunity may bring you, who it could lead you to meet, what it could expose you to, and what it could do for your future."
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.