Lights up The Hamptons

Having Dash has filled our lives with so much love and laughter. He inspires me to be more creative and renews that love of life that we have as children – the wonder, the curiosity. He is always ready for an adventure

Taylor Moore and her family accompanied me on safari to Africa five years ago, and while there, I studied facets of her character that were compelling. One scene etched in my memory occurred on a pitch-dark African night. Taylor was sitting upfront in our safari jeep – determined to use her well-honed natural instincts to find three massive African lions that trackers had reported seeing in the vicinity a few hours earlier. As our jeep thundered through acacia thorn tree territory with only a few twinkling stars lighting our way, Taylor signaled for our driver to stop.

“I know the lions are here,” she whispered intensely. “It’s a vibration on the ground.”

We circled the area twice with Taylor assuring us that switching off the jeep engines would yield results. As this young 13-year-old sat in disciplined silence, she channeled all her energy into the about-to-unfold sight. Three magnificently muscled lions emerged from dense foliage, and as their large menacing eyes stared at Taylor within eight feet, she sat solidly and statuesquely still in deference to the lions’ formidable presence. It was my first glimpse into Taylor’s unflinching bravery.

That reliable character trait has resolutely helped her to navigate her teenage years, and most importantly, it has motivated her to move out of her comfort zone and to take calculated risks. As she approaches her 19th year and this special Hamptons cover shoot, Taylor Moore has metamorphosized into a multi-faceted young woman whose lion heart and six-foot-one frame are ready to take on the world. Being raised in an exceptionally loving home has provided her with a formidably sturdy bedrock. It has also taught her that showing empathy and compassion is vitally fulfilling. Moore Creek Farm in Agoura Hills has been Taylor’s family’s sanctuary during her teenage years. It has enriched her with a natural and organic lifestyle that she relishes, and this has made the past six of her eighteen years particularly special. Taylor credits her parents for making sure that she experienced an adventure-filled, wholesome childhood.

“Throughout my childhood, modeling was never my focus in life,” Taylor explains, “and I was never homeschooled like many of my fellow child models. I was far more interested in riding horses, spending time with friends and taking care of my animals. It wasn’t until I got older that I became aware of the amazing job my mom did at balancing my life, making sure I still had a normal childhood. Those days were always full of adventure and laughter. I spent my summers at horse camp and when I got home, I played with my dogs, hamsters, chameleon, and later, chickens. Growing up an animal lover has helped shape me into the loving and nurturing person I am today.”

Taylor expands on her childhood life picture:

“I loved spending time with my family and friends, and being outside in nature is so important to me. I got my first horse, Tyler, at age 10, so every day after school, my mom would drive me and my younger sister, Brooke, to the barn. I would ride Tyler for an hour, then do my homework in the car on the way home. For as long as I can remember, horses have always been an essential part of my life. They’re my way of escaping from the uncertainties and troubles of the world. When I’m riding, my brain is only focused on what I’m doing with the horse and what they’re thinking. Though I’ve grown up with dogs, there’s something special about horses that dogs don’t have. They’re a lot different in the sense that horses are prey and dogs are predators. Keeping this in mind while interacting with horses is an essential element to understanding their behavior and tendencies. For example, the smallest noise or sudden movement in the distance can spook a horse whereas a dog would probably notice but wouldn’t care. Being outside on the trails with my horses encourages me to experience life through a new lens. I’m not just taking a hike on the trails. I’m riding a 1,000-pound animal that can decide at any moment that he doesn’t like the way a lizard darted out in front of him, and he’ll spook. Even though trail rides are relaxing for me, I’m constantly studying my horse’s behavior and body language. Is he comfortable? Is something on the trail bothering him? Is he listening to me? Since living on our farm in Agoura Hills, I have found peace in the farm life. Taking care of our tortoise, chickens, dogs, and horses gives me a purpose. Every morning I wake up and there is always someone on the farm who needs food, water, or special attention.”

“Between me and my sisters Sophia and Brooke, my mother emphasized to us the importance of strength and independence. I am so grateful that my mom has been such a strong role model in showing me this”

Taylor’s parents have been conscientiously dedicated to being there wholeheartedly for their children, and their guidance and influence have reaped dividends. Taylor supplies the details.

“My parents raised me to be loving and nurturing to not only my peers, but to all of God’s creation. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to raise caterpillars and watch them grow up into beautiful butterflies. This taught me the importance of all stages of life and how the changes we experience are necessary for personal growth. Between me and my sisters Sophia and Brooke, my mother emphasized to us the importance of strength and independence. As women, we are often subjected to the false societal idea that we are submissive and weak, but, in fact, we’re just the opposite. I am so grateful that my mom has been such a strong role model in showing me this.”

“My father has taught me the importance of having fun and taking risks. Dad has always had a strong passion for cars. We used to play a game while driving together where I would point out a classic car, and he would tell me exactly what kind of car it was and the year. It came to where I would point out a car, hoping maybe this time he would get it wrong, but without fail, he would say, ‘oh yeah, that’s a Cadillac El Dorado, I love those cars.’ My love and appreciation for cars started because of that first Ferrari ride with my dad. I learned from him that it’s important to have fun and that life should never be boring. Taking risks in life is scary because we fear the unknown, but dad has instilled in me the importance of taking them because without them, we might never know what our life could’ve been.”

I ask Taylor about some of her best experiences.

“I love traveling,” she says enthusiastically “and being fully immersed in different cultures and languages across the world. I think it’s so important to see different lifestyles. What I notice is how respectful of others some other cultures are. We tend to live in our own bubble in the USA so it’s important to witness how the rest of the world lives.”

“Africa,” Taylor expands, “is truly one of my favorite continents to visit. The most magical thing I experienced on safari was waking up to the sound of crackling tree branches and looking right outside my room to see an elephant in the creek below us getting a drink. After a few moments, he noticed me, and then he continued to drink while I sat there and admired his beauty. The proximity to him was so thrilling.”

Closer to home, Taylor has these wonderful memories.

“One of my favorite things to do is take road trips with my family. Every year after Christmas, we take a road trip to Las Vegas. The strip is always decorated with lights and every hotel has at least one Christmas tree in the lobby. Spending long periods of time in the car allows us to tell stories and play silly games. Along with road trips, my favorite activity to do is a family trail ride. Sharing my passion for riding with my parents and sister Brooke, is one of my favorite ways of bonding with them. I am most grateful that my family is in good health. We try to live a very stress free and healthy lifestyle. That includes spending time outside with the horses, swimming in the pool, hiking or doing yoga. We always stay active.”

The all-important topic of Generation Z (anybody born between 1997 and 2012) is something that we delve into deeply. Taylor thinks for a few seconds while her eye movements indicate the width of her thoughts on this vital topic.

“There are some great positives about being a Gen Z and some real negatives” she emphasizes

“My father has taught me the importance of having fun in life and taking risks. It’s scary because we fear the unknown, but dad has instilled in me the importance of taking them because without them, we might never know what our life could’ve been.”

“Our generation likes to challenge societal norms, which I think is healthy. If we all just conform to them, we put ourselves into a box that is not expressing who we truly are. I think it’s important to stand up and speak your mind when you don’t agree with something. Of course, you must back up your disagreement with a logical set of facts. Whether it’s parenting issues or societal issues, our generation believes it’s important to challenge things. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes that have been made in history, and we feel that we should learn from our past mistakes.”

We discuss the impact of technology, particularly in this decade, and Taylor explains:

“Our generation is much more informed on a variety of issues because of technology. Through it, we have instantaneous access to information that previous generations didn’t have. With all that information at our fingertips, why wouldn’t we challenge something that may be factually inaccurate, or a tunnel-vision viewpoint? We are more likely to question if a cause is valid and we are less likely to rally towards something until we have fully checked it out. Our generation sees that as a plus. Beyond that, technology has made our lives so much easier and so efficient. There are virtually no limitations with technology.”

“Another plus about Gen Z,” Taylor continues, “is that we tend to have a lot of confidence. In my case, I had the added benefit of watching my mom be a strong, confident woman, and I really looked up to her, and wanted to make sure that I carried forward that confidence. Being in the modeling industry has really opened my eyes to the way people can be taken advantage of, and because of that, I have developed a lot of self-respect by establishing boundaries.”

Taylor explains the complexities inherent in Gen Z’s.

“Many of us have been given so much by our parents that we don’t feel motivated to work as hard as previous generations. When it comes to raising children, I have witnessed them being given everything – materially – by their parents. They don’t have to wait for anything. In my case, when I was 10 years old, and I got my first horse, I had been working at modeling, and my parents put what I had earned in an account. They insisted that I pay for half the horse, and I did. It taught me that I have to earn what I want in life, and not everything is going to be given to me. One of my closest friends, Colette, is someone whom I admire and respect so much. Not only is she highly ethical but she works so hard at her job. If children have had everything given to them their whole life, and they go off to college, they are pretty much lost because they have no concept of the value of money, and they have to start learning that adulting is about working for money, and bills have to be paid. Interning and getting jobs as teenagers creates a realistic sense of the value of money. My sister Brooke has a responsible job, and so does my boyfriend, Luke. I so respect that. Saving money is a skill that is very valuable from an early age. It’s so important that young people develop a strong work ethic and that they understand that blowing money isn’t wise.”

We discuss mental health among Gen Z teenagers.

“Parents who are checked out on actual hands-on parenting will create a void between themselves and their children. If young people don’t have strong relationships with their parents, they become isolated, and loneliness can create huge mental issues”

“Mental issues can be a reflection of a child’s relationship with his/her parents and peers,” Taylor explains. “Parents who are checked out on actual hands-on parenting will create a void between themselves and their children. If young people don’t have strong relationships with their parents, they become isolated, and loneliness can create huge mental issues. The good news, though, is that we live in a country where help on mental health issues is readily available. There are excellent therapists out there.”

Technology carries the weight of some negative consequences, and Taylor highlights that with strong conviction.

“Social media makes it really difficult,” she says, “because you are constantly being judged and criticized. People will bully more on social media because they can hide behind a screen and not have to see the person in front of them. It gives people license to be crueler. Our generation is also brutally honest and not a lot of people can handle that bluntness. We should all remind ourselves that social media is mostly fake – and therefore, we should never compare ourselves to the fictitious pictures that are posted. On a positive note, I think that our generation is more accepting of diversity, and therefore, being unique and different from other people is something to be celebrated.”

We spent a glorious day in the Hamptons photographing Taylor for this cover story. She expresses her deep gratitude for world-renowned photographer, Fadil Berisha.

“Before working with Fadil,” she explains, “I did my research online to see some of his work. I was very impressed by the composure of his pictures and the famous people with whom he’s worked. You don’t really know how good a photographer is until you’re behind the camera. Once Fadil started shooting, I recognized that he was a master at his craft, and I also knew that it was going to be a fun shoot. Fadil sets the tone on set with his amazing energy. He’s also a great coach and encourager. His mastery is evident in how he studies your face through the lens, and he enhances various angles.”

Taylor graduated as a senior from Oaks Christian School this year. I ask her about the aspects of that education she’s grateful for:

“Oaks has taught me a lot about leadership and how important it is to be a leader. The school’s motto is ‘Minds for Leadership and Hearts for Service’. Leaders courageously stand up for things in every aspect of life. I have also particularly appreciated the extent to which the teachers at Oaks will go out of their way for you – and check in with you – whether it’s school related or not. They genuinely care, and they also understand that we have a life outside of school.”

A lifelong Los Angeleno, Taylor is preparing for a big transition in her life: she’s moving to New York City – having recently signed up with Ford Models NYC.

“I’ve been working in LA since I was little,” she explains, “and believe that working in a different market such as NYC, will open new doors and opportunities. Ultimately, I’d love to work in Europe.”

I ask Taylor what she’s most enjoyed about her 2023 summer.

“Oaks Christian School has taught me a lot about leadership and how important it is to be a leader. The school’s motto is ‘Minds for Leadership and Hearts for Service’. Leaders courageously stand up for things in every aspect of life”

“My boyfriend Luke’s family has a 30-acre farm in Ojai California. They grow avocados, pixie tangerines and blackberries. In the summer, Luke and I drive to the farm to pick blackberries and enjoy time in nature. While trying to figure out what to do with all these blackberries, I remembered that I have an ice cream machine. So, I found a recipe online and made fresh blackberry ice cream which was so delicious and refreshing. I love finding little ways to incorporate fresh produce into my cooking recipes. Living on a farm myself, we always have fresh eggs and produce, so I tend to bake a lot with our farm-fresh eggs.”

I ask Taylor what her absolute favorite food dish is. Without hesitation, she shrieks,

“Pasta! I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Her favorite relaxation activity?

“Drawing. I took several art classes throughout middle school and high school and have learned to appreciate all kinds of art. I love the creative freedom that is expressed through art – whether it’s drawing or painting. Art calms my brain and helps me relax.”

We end our interview with the expansive question of what Taylor most wants out of life. She smiles broadly.

“I want to prioritize living happily and healthily. I’d also really like to be successful in my career. One day, I definitely want to start a family of my own and raise children with my husband in our dream home.”

On the eve of going to press, I visited Moore Creek Farm to enjoy a balmy summer dinner. As Taylor bounced through to greet everyone with her warmth and ebullience, my memory bank took me straight back to the courageous 13-year-old girl who, five years earlier, was unflinching in her determination to find three massive black-maned lions in darkest Africa. Courage is particularly admirable when it is tempered by empathetic sensitivity. Later that night, I saw Taylor disappear into the darkness of the family’s garden, and I wondered if a horse might be in trouble. I was delighted to discover that the late-night activity was to surprise me with the simple thoughtfulness of a freshly harvested bouquet of lavender and rosemary. That spontaneous gesture spoke volumes about the generosity of Taylor’s heart. It also confirmed what I already knew: that this beautiful young woman will continue to light up the world in so many life-affirming ways.

IG handle: _taylorrrmoore