The former supermodel, who two decades ago appeared on the covers of Elle, Allure, Self and Shape, and showed off her curves in two back-to-back issues of Sports Illustrated, was back in a red one-piece for Swimsuits For All‘s latest summer campaign. She shot it alongside model Ashley Graham and actress Teyana Taylor.
“It was super-empowering,” Taylor tells Yahoo Beauty. “The red swimsuit was cut so high. It went up your butt. I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’ I’m glad I did. I would do it again. I hope they ask me to do another campaign. Thank goodness it was a one piece because I do have a lot of scars from my car accident.”
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She says she was shocked, and mortified, when she saw paparazzi coming out of the bushes. “I sucked it in a little bit more. I was nervous. I’m not going to lie. But you get to that place — it’s like giving birth — and there’s no going back. You just do it. We all have different types of bodies. You embrace that fact and the sooner you do it, the better,” says Taylor.
Certainly, the mother of four has much more to focus on than the exterior. She was critically injured in 2001 car crash after the vehicle her then-boyfriend was driving smashed into a pole. She was in a coma for six weeks. So each year, she promotes the Nexcare Give campaign on World Blood Donor Day to encourage folks to donate blood.
“Back in 2001, I was in Atlanta and I went to Grady Hospital and they supplied the blood to save my life. I needed over 100 units. I was losing it so fast, they gave me whatever blood type they had. A few years back, I got to meet some of those donors. Everything’s marked and labeled. We met up in Atlanta and I got see them and hug them. I always wanted to know whose blood was inside me,” she says.
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In 2007, she got involved with the American Red Cross and calls donating blood, and the bandage that covers the needle mark, “a badge of honor. You save almost three lives today when you do donate blood. It’s important. We have summer shortages.”
Her accident changed how she viewed her own body, and her entire outlook on life. Her twin sons were too young to visit her in the ICU at the time, so Taylor remembers thinking, once she out of her coma, that she had to survive just to see them.
“My attitude towards to life — I’ve always been a carefree person. You just slow down more. You take in every moment. You’re present. That’s who I’ve been since my accident. I’ve learned to not worry about things. I’m grateful for everything, the good, the bad. All of it. Life is a gift. We get one and you have to make the best of it. You have to love on people,” she says.
She’s married to stock car racer Burney Lamar and says he’s largely the reason she’s so kind to herself. He dotes on her, so she’s learned to appreciate herself as well.
“I have a husband that loves my scars and my spider veins. He’s my best friend. He makes me feel beautiful. That has a big part to do with it. I accept my body. I’m like, all right, cool. I jog every day. I like to eat. I exercise and take care of my body,” she says.
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