Almost four years after graduating from Texas Wesleyan, Kristi Taylor has been cast in numerous stage productions, TV series and films.
Taylor, 33, who received her undergraduate degree in performance arts in 2013, originally planned to graduate with a degree in forensic pathology.
“Making the connection and building a reputable name for myself in the film and theatre world across the world has to be one of my greatest accomplishments,” Taylor wrote in an email. “Without the lasting impressions that were made when working with various directors, stage and film production crews I would have no name.”
Taylor’s post-Wesleyan career as an actor includes commercials for Red Lobster and Coca-Cola, and small roles in The Leftovers and 11.22.63, the latter based on a Stephen King novel and starring James Franco and Chris Cooper.
Taylor wrote that attending Wesleyan was the best decision she ever made and if she could go back in time she would spend all four years here.
She was in several Theatre Wesleyan productions, including Into the Woods, The Anniversary, and The Laramie Project, according to her imdb resume.
“I wouldn’t say I learned everything at Wesleyan,” Taylor wrote. “I was definitely placed with professors and other scholarly professionals that could always point me in the right direction.”
Taylor wrote that apart from her artistic successes she is widely known for her positive attitude, constant humor, talent, willingness to help others, and ability to live in the moment.
“Pure determination for success and to become an inspiration to others became my goal,” she wrote about her time at Wesleyan. “Wesleyan set me up for success by teaching me the rewards of hard work, determination, and knowledge of many subjects.”
Connie Whitt-Lambert and Kristin Spires, two of Taylor’s Wesleyan mentors, agreed with Taylor that these are her strongest traits.
“These two wonderful ladies gave me courage, and inspired me to pursue my dreams and never give up,” Taylor wrote. “It’s interesting to think back at all the wonderful memories I have from my time at Wesleyan and know just how much I learned and have grown.”
Whitt-Lambert, professor of theatre arts and Taylor’s academic advisor and director at Wesleyan, wrote that she knew Taylor would succeed after graduation.
“After I got to know Kristi, I realized she would succeed,” Whitt-Lambert wrote in an email. “She is one of the kindest people I know. She had the talent and the drive, two things you absolutely need for success.”
Spires, Taylor’s voice teacher at Wesleyan, wrote that she also knew Taylor would be successful because of her drive and passion.
“She had a dream, and believed it would become a reality,” wrote Spires, an adjunct theatre professor. “She always pushed persistently through whatever challenges were put in front of her. I believe her tenacity, her determination, and her belief that acting and performing were what she was supposed to do with her life drove her in the direction of success.”
Spires wrote that Taylor had a positive effect Taylor on the entire theatre department.
“Kristi was a real leader,” Spires wrote. “Not just a leader in the sense of managing or being in charge, but also a leader in the way she supported her peers, always maintained a positive attitude and was dedicated to being the best she could be.”
Taylor’s advice to anyone wanting to become famous in the arts is to know that success does not come overnight, and although it may not seem worth it, the hard work and long hours lead to knowledge and experience that eventually lead to that dream role you’ve worked so hard to get.
“I kept a positive attitude and never gave up,” Taylor wrote. “In saying this, I do not mean that I never failed at anything. Believe me, I did. However, these so-called failures helped me to learn and grow.”