U&C Magazine caught up with model and commercial airplane pilot Amy Taylor before her photo shoot for the October issue.
Born in Sacramento, California, Amy is as eclectic a person as the parents who raised her. Amy describes her father, an immigrant to the U.S. who was born without papers in German-occupied Hungary during World War II, as “a living bowl of hot dog water,” whereas her mother is an all-American Navy brat who was raised all over the States. Amy suspects it was her father’s exoticism that at first attracted her mother to him. They met while her mother was a graduate student and he was her professor, but, as Amy says, “it was the sixties,” and nobody got too upset about it.
Amy is impossible to fit into any one box. She’s a liberal who has grown to believe strongly in the importance of gun rights after an incident with a stalker, a model who is a member of Mensa, and a self-described nerd with an obsessive “learning fetish” who also loves the visceral feeling of piloting an airplane.
Amy first became interested in flying as a young girl when her grandfather, an Italian-American man who looked like Dean Martin and had massive muscles Amy could “hang off of,” brought her into the sky in his tiny propeller plane, the kind of plane you’d imagine farmers might use for crop-dusting. Amy was never scared during those flights because of her Grandpa’s steadying presence, and he inspired her to get her private flying license at the age of 16.
Amy’s thirst for knowledge began early in life, and in high-school it manifested as a passion for science, which she then pursued in college by studying molecular biology. However, the realities of working in a lab and testing out vaccines proved too upsetting for Amy, so after a year in that field she pivoted to being both a model and pilot full-time.
Amy earned her commercial flying license and worked for a long time as a cargo pilot, jetting equipment from California to the surrounding areas while maintaining her modeling career. Once, she even flew a disgruntled dolphin from California to a movie set in Arizona. Amy vividly remembers hauling the strange package, recounting how the dolphin was strapped inside a “water-filled hammock” in the cargo bay of the plane, with trainers constantly splashing water on it while the dolphin “…was screaming the entire time.” Amy was even “convinced air traffic control could hear him,” but when she later asked them, air traffic control said they couldn’t.
Amy loves the feeling of soaring through the sky, but she says that modeling gives her a different sort of artistic thrill. While she likes posing for photos and walking down runways, “being around incredibly creative people really is the draw of modeling.” After more than two decades in the industry, Amy’s modeling career has jetted to new heights in recent years, and she can be seen on the May 2017 cover of Maxim Africa and the June 2017 cover of Playboy Africa.
When asked about attaining success as a model in her late 30’s, Amy explained to Up and Coming that she feels lucky, but she also senses that her success may be part of a burgeoning trend in modeling as a whole, called “gray modeling,” which includes modeling jobs for women in their forties, fifties and sixties. While Amy is realistic about the lack of longevity most models experience, she says she doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, and will keep on posing as long as people keep wanting to see her.
In flying, too, circumstances favor the young. At age 65 all commercial pilots are legally forced to retire, an age limit that hasn’t been updated in decades. “I think they should raise it,” Amy says about the age limit. “And I think they will, eventually. As long as you pass your yearly physical, you should be able to fly.”
Luckily for Amy, the age limits on her pilot and modeling careers are still far in the future. For now, Amy is taking life as it comes, trying to live every moment to the fullest. “Life is so short, and that’s really what it’s all about—making the best of the little time we have.”
Amy loves to travel, and though she has traveled to 45 countries, when asked what her favorite place in the world is, she answers “anywhere I haven’t been,” and she suspects that she’ll always feel that way. If you catch a glimpse of something in the night sky, a star, a plane, a twinkle, it might just be Amy jetting by.
Stylist: Kelly Dooley: Instagram: @thenomadfashionista
Makeup/Hair: Bridget Martinez: @bridgetzglam
Earrings: ChanelNecklace: Chanel from @onquestyleJacket: Balenciaga from @onquestyleBodysuit: Fashion NovaSkirt: Jose Sanchez from @onquestyleHeels: Christian Louboutin
Earrings: ChanelVest: Chanel from @onquestyleDress: Roberto Cavalli from @onquestyleShoes: Christian Louboutin from @onquestyleSunglasses: Dior
Jeans: Good American