Taia Phillips decided last March that she wanted to get into acting and modeling. Since then, the 13-year-old Hahnville resident has filmed three movies and one commercial, been featured in a magazine, booked an Amazon Prime Show set to shoot this spring and will be head to New York Fashion Week this month to walk in a show.
Taia will walk in the International Couture Show at Pier59 Studios on Feb. 13 as part of Fashion Week and will also participant in several other shoots and events while there.
“We were very shocked to see that email,” Taia’s mom Ariane Phillips said of the letter inviting her daughter to fashion week. “It’s such a huge thing, especially with having no formal modeling training.”
Ariane was in her room one night last spring when Taia came in and told her she wanted to get into acting.
Because of the nature of the industry, as well as Taia’s normally shy personality, Ariane said she asked her daughter a couple of times if she was sure she wanted to try it.
“Taia is very shy until you say ‘Action,’” Ariane said laughing. “She’s an introvert, but she kept tell me that she thought she wanted to try it.”
Taia said she spent months on YouTube looking at information about the acting industry before approaching her mom.
“I thought she would have a little hesitation about it because I never said anything about acting or showed any interest, but I knew she would be supportive about it,” Taia said. “It feels really good because I know that some people’s parents aren’t supportive of what they do.”
Ariane subscribed Taia to kidcasting.com, a website that posts acting and modeling opportunities for children.
“After that, things took off pretty quickly,” Ariane said. “It really shocked me.”
Acting jobs led to modeling opportunities, and soon Taia was hooked.
“I thought it would take longer than it did to be successful because I had no experience in acting and modeling, but things really escalated
quickly,” Taia said.
Taia, the youngest of four siblings, is currently an 8th grader at R.K. Smith. She is in Beta Club, talented art, the school system’s gifted program and also participates in competitive dancing. Since fourth grade Taia has participated in honor band – where she plays the clarinet – and choir. She’s made district honor band two years in a row.
“I’m very proud,” Ariane said. “You just never know what they’re going to be good at. She’s an overachiever. She’s really determined and really hard working. There aren’t too many things that she isn’t good at.”
Taia said her friends at school – as well as her mom, dad, siblings and entire family – have been very supportive of her new career.
And while modeling and acting have been an unexpectedly successful hobby, Taia said she is still focused on becoming a zoologist when she grows up.
“She definitely is focused and knows what she wants to do,” Ariane said.