In the last four years, Taylor G., a small-town girl from Glenpool, Oklahoma moved to Missouri, started college, interned with CBS News in New York and became a Rams cheerleader. Now, at only 22, that same girl is about to graduate with her bachelors in journalism from Lindenwood University, start her third season as a Rams cheerleader and compete in her second Miss Oklahoma USA pageant.
“I originally came to Missouri for journalism, but the Rams sort of found me,” Taylor said. “I started hanging out with some of the girls wanting to be on the team while at Lindenwood, and it was crazy, but I decided I’d hit the ground running, go from zero to sixty and see what happened.”
Taylor spent her freshman year training with now fellow-Rams cheerleader Taylor B. who was studying dance at Lindenwood when they met. “She basically took me under wing and worked with me on dancing all year because I really had no prior dance experience. I mean, I’m sure when I was 10, I probably took a dance class, but I never had years of formal training like the other girls. I cheered in high school and knew one dance from my pageant, but that was it. I was Taylor’s two left feet for a while, but even now she still takes me under her wing.”
With no prior dance experience Taylor G. made the team on her first try. “I kept asking myself why am I here and finally I realized I had to be there for a purpose, or else why would I have made the team.”
And, this year, Taylor G. has taken someone under her wing.
A renowned pageant competitor, Taylor G. has taken to mentoring Rams newcomer Alexis. “At first you don’t know what to expect which is intimidating, and now I get to share my experience with Alexis for her Miss Ohio USA,” she said. Taylor G. won the Miss Oklahoma Teen USA pageant in 2008 and was second-runner up in the 2013 Miss Oklahoma USA pageant. “It’s a balance of physical fitness and being informed about what laws are being passed and other current events. Alexis has been helping me with dancing, and I’ve been helping her with pageant preparation.”
But what Taylor thinks has helped her do well in pageants and with the Rams is her career choice—journalism. She recently finished an internship with CBS News in New York and will be starting an internship as an associate reporter with the Rams this month.
“In New York it felt like I was taking on this incredibly large city by myself and yet learning so much about the industry at an incredibly fast pace,” Taylor said. “My absorption rate and the rate I was being confronted with challenges was so fast…from how the major networks function, to getting a story finished, it was challenging and it fueled my passion for journalism.”
“I sat back and watched and learn from these famous broadcasters. I’d watch them on screen and wonder how they got a great interview instead of a surface interview. I realized it was because they did research, spent time with the source, made the source feel comfortable and gained their trust. That’s the kind of journalist I want to be.”
Now, it’s all about figuring out what to focus on. “I’ve always loved broadcast, but I’m not limiting myself. I had a professor pull me aside and tell me I needed to be doing newspaper, so I still am exploring myself as a creative writer,” Taylor said. “No matter what, I want to do something I love.”