Kanye West's Video Muse, Teyana Taylor, Admits She's Intimidated by the Gym: 'I Can Barely Do One Pull-Up'
By Desiree Murphy
Teyana Taylor's name may be fairly new to the dance world, but the Harlem, New York, native says she's been dancing since she was "in the womb."
The 26-year-old triple threat, whose career skyrocketed after appearing in Kanye West's "Fade" music video, is featured on Self.com, where she gets candid on what it was like working with the rapper, being a new mom and creating her own dance fitness program.
After flaunting her seemingly flawless figure in a powder blue sports bra and matching thong in West's video, which premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards last August, everyone was wondering who that girl was: Where'd she come from? What's her story? What are the secrets to her hot bod?
But working with West didn't come out of nowhere, as it seemed at the time. The "Famous" rapper actually signed Taylor to his GOOD Music label back in 2012.
"It's something that I worked very hard for, something that I deserved," she explains. "I watched [the video] like 68 times before I actually liked it, to be like 'Yeah, I guess it's good.'"
"I think I'm critical about anything I am passionate about," she continues. "When you've been doing it for so long, and you're underrated and you're not really getting that acknowledgement, you are hard on yourself. I have to put my all into everything, so I overthink everything."
Fans were even more amazed when Taylor revealed at the time that her fitness routine isn't composed of intense workouts -- dance is her main source of cardio, which she mixes with squats and elliptical training.
"It's crazy because everybody says, 'OMG I want your body, how do you stay so small?'" she tells Self. "[But] like the same ways people try to lose weight, there are people trying to gain weight. My whole life, I've always had issues gaining weight."
"A secret of mine, that I've never said to anyone -- it's crazy, because the same thing people feel about dancing being intimidating is the same thing I feel when I see people in the gym doing all these fancy tricks," she continues. "You make it look so easy, and I can barely do one pull-up."
That's one of the reasons why she created her own dance fitness program, Fade 2 Fit. "Dance makes me feel sexy," she explains. "It makes me feel alive. Dance can be very emotional, very passionate, very intense. And that's what I love about it."
"All you need is a little guidance and someone to show you," she adds. "And that's what I'm here for -- to help you do it."
Taylor, who is married to NBA pro Iman Shumpert, gave birth to her first child, daughter Iman Jr. (aka "Junie"), in December 2015. She admits that a year later, she's still working on her post-baby body.
"My favorite part [of my body] used to be my breasts, but now my breasts belong to Junie," she jokes. "She probably sucked out every ounce of milk. I had to pump, because she didn't want to work for the milk, so now I just deal with little mommy insecurities. Whenever I look super busty, ladies, that ain't nothing but a little double-sided tape [and a] push-up bra. We all have flaws, you gotta embrace it."
She also stresses to moms that "there's nothing wrong with a little sag."
"You're gonna have a little sag down there," she says. "I think today, we forget what real beauty is. I appreciate it because this sag is from me birthing and feeding my child, my seed that is a part of me."
"I appreciate every stretch mark, every sag," she continues. "One boob is bigger than the other, but it is what it is. I love my body and I love the place that I'm in. And I think dance and happiness and movement and family and love is what makes me love my body."