As a millennial woman working in the sports industry, Taylor Rooks has experienced her fair share of challenges. An interview she hosted last year went viral, not because of the quality of her content, but because of a discussion about her looks.
During a recent conversation with EBONY, the Take It There with Taylor Rooks host opened up about the struggles she encounters and how they apply to women outside of sports as well.
“I think that that’s something that women have to deal with. Always being seen as a woman first and a journalist second, or whatever the things is that you do,” she said.
“It’s not my responsibility to make you feel comfortable with the way I look. It doesn’t matter what I wear. You’re going to see that I’m a woman and I have breasts. I have a butt. I have hips. That’s just going to be a part of it, but how mature of a person are you going to be to look past that and hear what I say,” she asked.
While Rooks is “so much more concerned” with what she’s saying than how she looks, the Bleacher Report host did acknowledge it can be upsetting. “The only reason that it would sometimes get frustrating is like I have such a good interview, but you’re so focused that you can’t hear it. You’re so focused on what you see that you’re not focusing on the things that I’m saying.”
Conversations about her looks may set social media on fire, but for Rooks, it’s not a reflection of her work’s impact. “Social media isn’t the most indicative measure of what’s happening. … Social media is just so loud that it feels like the only thing.”
Rooks, who has natural hair, joined the ongoing conversation about Black women in entertainment encountering stylists unskilled in styling their hair texture. She shared the preventive steps she takes to ensure that she always looks her best on set.
More than just ensuring women of color look good on camera, Rooks believes unskilled stylists represent a larger problem within the sports, entertainment and fashion industries. “The bigger discussion is people who are not of color, like White people, have to understand that they can go here and be fine. That’s a privilege to know that you can go somewhere and know that at least one person will know how to do your hair and makeup,” she said. “We’re always worried about it and it’s not right that we have to worry about it all the time.”
What's Your Reaction?
Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.