Teyana Taylor had to fight to be taken seriously as an actress before her breakthrough performance in A Thousand and One.
Before her critically acclaimed performance in the 2023 drama, the singer felt like she wasn’t given the opportunity to show off her acting range.
“(I was getting approached for roles that) were either funny or I was just the hot chick. And I didn’t want to be the hot chick. I wanted people to take me seriously,” she told W Magazine.
Teyana, who previously appeared in light-hearted films such as Coming 2 America and Madea’s Big Happy Family, added, “Acting was always in the back of my mind. I had done small stuff, but it wasn’t anything that I felt really showed my range. A Thousand and One is my breakout, take-me-serious, I’m-here-and-I’m-here-to-stay type of role.”
In A Thousand and One, Teyana plays Inez de la Paz, who kidnaps her son from the foster care system after being released from Rikers Island prison.
The singer has been critically acclaimed for her role, winning Best Breakthrough Performance at the National Board of Review Awards.
Elsewhere in the interview, Teyana explained that she crafted her music videos to showcase what she could do as an actress.
“Coming into the music industry, they kind of make you have to choose, and I didn’t want to be stuck in one box,” she said. “So I started to put my acting chops into my music videos. I also direct my own music videos, so I would make sure all of them had a narrative.”
Teyana has also directed music videos for the likes of Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Macy Gray and Schoolboy Q.
She is currently filming Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest project alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn and Regina Hall.