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Exclusive Interview: Taylor Stevens
Taylor Stevens, a former top BBW fetish model who lost 180 pounds with much support from her devoted fan base, has endured a difficult year battling cancer. Through her struggle she has gained perspective on true strength and beauty – inside and out. “It’s been a tough year, but I always continue to fight and doing what I do best and that’s putting a smile on fans faces which, in turn, puts a smile on mine. My fans are so important to me. They have done so much for me and I only want to give my best in return.”
Taylor is headed to South Beach in Miami to see old friends, make new fans, and party at the Exxxotica Expo while competing in the Miss FreeOnes Contest. She is competing in three categories this year: Miss FreeOnes 2012, Best Cam Girl (which she won in 2011) and Best Adult Model.
Taylor would love for her fans to reach out and vote: “I couldn’t be where I am without all the support of my amazing fans. They have been through the ups and down with me, always there for me when I needed them,” she says. “Now is the time I need their support. Please log in to FreeOnes.com, get a free account, then go to VoteForTay.com every day and vote. It is an honor being nominated and it will be more of an honor showing you over and over why that title deserves to come home with me.”
I wanted to check in with Taylor to really just find out how things are going. Taylor always has a smile on her face and I wanted to know more about her dedication and drive to live her life, be herself and have the courage to push on while fighting cancer. Her story has been an inspiration to so many others and, as you’ll find out, hearing from others in similar situations has been an inspiration to her.
Taylor, thanks for taking time out today! How are things going?
Things are good! There’s a lot on my plate right now but I’m dealing with it the best way that I can – smiling, fighting and doing what I love to do. That’s what I do every day.
You’ve grabbed a lot of people’s attention. Your fans are concerned and interested in what’s going on and I know people look to you for inspiration now.
It’s been crazy. I’ve been very up and down. I’ve been very open with my fans about everything that’s going on with me. First there was my weight loss and then my diagnosis with cancer last Christmas Eve. There’s a lot that I’ve been dealing with and sharing with my fans. I’ve always been open with them from day one and they’ve always supported me. When people tell me I’m an inspiration or that I’ve helped them, that’s really what drives me to continue doing what I do and put smiles on people’s faces. If they’re smiling them I’m smiling. I genuinely mean that and I genuinely love what I do. That’s why I will never stop. Nothing can stop me! I always say “I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me.” I will always keep fighting and pushing and doing what I love. It’s who I am. It’s in my blood.
It only takes seconds to notice your smile and your positive attitude. You have such a great personality and it’s so contagious! It always appears that you’re so happy and bubbly and I would imagine that can be hard sometimes.
I think you’re right. It’s hard some days to put a smile on my face. This last year was some of the worst stuff I’ve been through in my entire life. I’ve never had to undergo chemotherapy before. I did a video for National Lymphoma Awareness where I showed myself going to shave my head. It’s definitely hard to always put a smile on my face but I read somewhere that if you look in the mirror and smile it immediately changes your mood, even if you don’t feel like smiling. I just try and put on a brave face for everybody. I don’t want everybody to feel sorry for me because I don’t feel sorry for me. Let’s strap on my boots and fight this thing! I want everybody that’s going through it to do the same thing. If you give up you lose everything. I don’t want to ever give up. I don’t want anyone else to give up on themselves or their fans or friends or anybody in their lives. I keep on pushing. I a “go hard or go home” kinda girl so if I say I’m going to do something I do it. If someone tells me I can’t do something – I will! I think it’s my Middle Eastern roots. I was born and raised in Canada but my background is Middle Eastern so I have that drive in me. That’s my dad’s drive. I won’t stop. Ever.
Tell me about the day you found out you had cancer.
The cancer hit me like a ton of bricks. To top it off it hit me on Christmas Eve. I was getting my makeup done for a family get together and the doctor called me and said “It’s not benign, it is malignant. You have cancer.” I was like, “Thanks Doc” and was just in shock. I hung up the phone and told my makeup artist to just continue doing my makeup. Then it hit me as I got home. People were in a Christmas-y mood and singing Christmas carols. I didn’t really tell anybody the first 24 hours. I kept it inside because I didn’t know how to accept it and I didn’t know how to share it with people who were in such a good mood. I didn’t want to ruin Christmas. It was really tough to hear, especially because I’d worked so hard to lose weight and be healthy. That was really hard.
How did you know that something was wrong before you were diagnosed with cancer?
I was on my way to Glamourcon in Long Beach. I was on the plane and I had very severe chest pains. I wasn’t sure why. I thought maybe because we were in the back of the plane and it was cold or maybe just muscle pains. I just brushed it off and then the pain got worse and worse. I put A535 rub on and just assumed it was muscle pain. I dressed up the next day and went to Glamourcon and in the middle of the day I had to go outside. I was freezing and shivering. I had to go to the emergency room. This was in Long Beach. I’m Canadian and wasn’t used to all the procedures. They took me in and did all kinds of tests and came back to tell me I needed a biopsy done because I had a tumor in my chest. What? We did the biopsy and they kept me overnight. Initially they told me there was a tumor but it was benign. They told me it wasn’t cancerous and I needed to go back to Toronto and have surgery to have it removed. I was partly relieved – but where did this tumor come from? Then I get back to Toronto and go to my doctor at the cancer hospital. They did another biopsy and it was cancerous. It was a misdiagnosis at Long Beach. It was very hard to take. It was such a roller coaster ride. I have been healthy throughout my entire life. I worked super, super hard to lose 180 pounds when I was heavy. I did everything I could to be healthy. I don’t smoke. Wow – it’s cancer now. What’s next? I felt like I got the raw end of the deal. C’mon, really? So this is another fight I have to face and another fight I have to win. That’s how I have to look at it. If I look at it any other way it would be so easy to slip. It was a hard decision to share with my audience and my fans but I did not want to keep something like this from them. They deserve to know. They’re my friends as well as my fans and I really wanted their support.
To come off such a huge accomplishment like losing all that weight. We never know…
It’s crazy because there’s no history of cancer in my family. When I was losing weight I learned so much about nutrition and being a healthy person – inside and out. I was doing great. I was healthy, working out. I didn’t feel like anything was wrong. Everything felt right and then, BAM! What? Are you sure? I had to ask because this isn’t how things are supposed to go. Life is going to throw your curve balls and it’s a series of tests and challenges. I keep pushing and I hope that in the end I’ll be able to say the words “cancer free” and can move on from this. I can’t stop doing what I’m doing. I have this desire to keep doing my cam shows and being around my fans because it drives me.
There may be people out there who want to give up and seeing you and hearing your story may be what they need to keep on keepin’ on.
It’s unreal. I’ve received a ton of emails. I’m a huge Twitter-er, too. People have opened up to me and shared their stories. Believe it or not, I’m they type of girl who is very independent and doesn’t need to rely on a bunch of people. Those stories inspired me and helped me. When they tell me I’ve helped them I let them know they’ve helped me just as much – to appreciate life and to appreciate every day. I live every day like it’s my last because you never know. My audience has been through it. They’ve lost people to cancer. People have beat cancer. It’s an unbelievable group of fans that I have and I am so lucky to have them and their support.
So let’s talk about your weight loss now. I’ll admit I’ve gained a few pounds the past couple of years and it’s the hardest thing in the world to buckle down and make myself lose that weight. How did you do it?
I love to eat. My mom’s food is so good. I was a very confident BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) woman. But – at five foot four and 300 pounds I was at risk for diabetes. I wasn’t healthy. Before being diagnosed with cancer that was the hardest thing I had to do. I had a lot of people in my life try to sway me and say “have a little bit of this” and “have a little bit of that” but my will can’t be broken! I’ve been up and down with my weight before. Once you finally make that decision you make it right. For thirteen months I hit it, locked and loaded. Three hours of exercise a day, eat right, get it – get right! I did what I had to do to be healthy and it was really tough. I love ribs and chicken and barbeque sauce. I go to rib fests in Toronto all the time and just eat! It’s a matter of finding that balance now. You can still indulge – you just have to do it right. When I was in weight loss mode I bought an elliptical and used it in front of the TV and did whatever I had to to stay on track. Working through that made me so much stronger. But I will still eat, trust me! I eat like a man! If you put me in a rib eating contest or a chicken wing eating contest I will eat you under the table! I will drink you under the table, too! I’m not going to give up the things I love forever but I had to be healthier. Hey – you have an accent. I know you know about ribs and chicken wings and barbeque!
Don’t even get me started! But Tay, you had so many people who LOVED you before you lost the weight. That’s where you came from. That had to play with your determination.
Exactly. It was a very difficult decision. The BBW community was my community. I started in the industry at a heavier weight. I posed for magazines at a heavy weight. But I had to think about what I wanted. I know that I want to be healthy. I loved that I was a bigger girl. I maintained my level of confidence as a bigger girl. I rocked it then and I rock it now! My fans are so loyal and if they say “I preferred you when you were bigger” – I get it. I love curves on women and I still try to maintain a curvy body. I don’t want to be super skinny. I just want to be healthy. I wouldn’t say I lost any fans. I’d say I’ve gained fans. My fans are so loyal to me – not my figure. It’s all working out and I’m really happy. It’s nice to hear someone say “I liked you when you were bigger” because if I gain a few pounds no one is going to mind!
That further proves that once they come on board, through your website or Twitter or meeting you at a convention, it’s about your personality.
That’s so right. I’m a very bubbly…nerd. I really am the girl next door. I’m very down to earth. I love football. I hang with the boys. It’s easy to talk to me. Some people tell me they’re intimidated but I hopefully make them feel at ease. I’m just a regular girl. I’m normal! I’m not some supermodel girl you can’t talk to. If you’re the guy hiding in the corner of the bar I’ll come up and talk to you. When people get to know me they like me and I’m glad they like me.
So what were you like in high school?
Here’s the thing. I lost my dad when I was six. That hit me pretty hard but it didn’t really hit until I was in my teens. It made me feel like I had to be there for myself. I was very nice to everybody and I wanted to make friends. My faults are trying to please everybody and always giving people the benefit of the doubt and wanting to instantly trust everybody. In high school I was valedictorian. I loved school. I was very active in school and always wanted to be around people. I played volleyball. I played basketball. My brother played basketball at the same high school so I had to live in his shoes a little bit and follow in his footsteps and be a sports girl. I have three older brothers.
With three older brothers what was it like to try and have a boyfriend?
Impossible! Remember, we’re Middle Eastern number one. Number two, there’s three of them! I remember one time when I was finally allowed to have a boy over. We were watching a movie in the living room and my brother came in and sat down right between us and said, “Ok, I think it’s time for him to go.” It was pretty tough dating in high school. I’ve had my boyfriends but I enjoy being single. I’ve dated and had relationships but I prefer to focus on myself right now.
There is a very sexual part of your career. When did you first realize your sexuality?
Early. I would never deny my sexual nature. I’m a very sensual person. When I first got into camming and I got behind the camera it just felt natural. So what if I’m naked? So what if I’m topless? I embraced it. That’s who I am. Anytime you deny a part of who you are you lose a little bit of yourself. I was very comfortable in my own skin – even when I had a lot of that skin! I’m a Virgo and I embraced it for sure.
Taylor, I want to thank you again for taking time out for this! What would you like to say to your fans to wrap everything up?
Thank you for everything. Thank you for all the years of support and for being there…thick and thin! Thanks for helping me get through my cancer and be the woman I am today. I would be nowhere without my fans. They are amazing. I love you guys! I will always be there for you and thank you for being there for me!Got a news tip or correction?
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