Welcome to my Interview Series! This series features amazing female entrepreneurs & digital influencers that are breaking ground in their space. This week I am featuring Taylor Nolan, founder of Let's Talk About It!
With everything happening across the world I am very excited to introduce the first interview for Women's Month focused on self-care and mental health thanks to Taylor Nolan!
You may recognize Taylor from her stint on Bachelor 21 and Bachelors in Paradise. She is a former reality star turned mental health therapist and a social advocate with over 235,000 thousand followers on Instagram and her own podcast appropriately titled: Let's Talk About It!
Taylor is a student of psychology, counseling and personal development. She is a big cat lover and shares her views on mental therapy & sexual wellness on Instagram. She is not afraid to take on the more "taboo topics" like pubic hair, vibrators, masturbation and mental heath.
Mental health has a large stigma attached to it and Taylor is trying to help break down the barriers associated with mental therapy. She is sharing tips and advice around mental health, finding a therapist and how she deals with all the overwhelming attention she receives online.
Thank you to Taylor for taking the time to answer all my questions.
What made you apply for the Bachelor and go back for Bachelor Paradise?
My step-dad was the one that recommended I apply originally! He thought I would be perfect for the show. So to appease him, I filled out the online application match, basically just your demographic information and a photo. So I submitted it not expecting anything of it. And then I got a call from them the next day and they were very interested. And I really didn't think it was like a serious possibility until I was at the casting call. They asked me to go in, meet with them at Pacific Place, and the casting director pulled me out of line and that was basically it!
It was good timing for me and its such real crazy opportunity to do something outside of my field and just experience life before getting really deep into my career. The show embodied a lot of challenges and I was trying to challenge myself. The show required vulnerability and letting go of control. It was a real personal growth opportunity! It was also just such a large social experiment with all the dynamics between all the girls, the producers etc. But, I did not think I was going to find my one true love.
What do you wish you had known before going on the Bachelor?
The Bachelor gave me a new identity overnight. But there are levels of trauma associated with my experiences on the Bachelor. There is always a certain level of anxiety that comes with filming because you do not really know what they are going to show vs what is left out of context. They have total control. But, I did not think that I would be portrayed in any kind of negative light because nothing I was saying was mean or harsh. But during filming I really overthought about the things I was saying. It definitely gets in your head. It’s a balance.
How has your life and career changes since doing the Bachelor?
My life has changed in a lot of ways. The Bachelor has definitely changed my career and has given me a job that I would never have pictured myself in - hosting a podcast, working with brands, and being a content creator. I would have never pursued that type of career on my own before the show.
I thought I would be fully licensed therapist by the time I was twenty-five. I am twenty-six now and I'm still working on completing my hours. Working with my clients, also requires different boundaries when it comes to Social Media or Instagram. The show changed how I approach my career and allowed me to launch my podcast!
How have you dealt with all the internet and social media attention that comes along with the Bachelor?
After the show, you have this new identity thrusted upon you. And now you have all these people tuning in and Googling you. I started using my Instagram to talk about mental health, sexual wellness and just things that I was really interested in. I got a lot of mixed reaction and especially when I posted about my personal life on social media.
You often talk about the double standards you deal with (example: when you posted this IG Photo) online compared to other Bachelorette and male therapist. What has been your experiences & how do you deal with that?
People react very intensely when I post images of me in a bikini on my personal Instagram page under the guise that I should not being posting anything that would denote I have a life outside of being a mental health therapist. I have friends from the show that post similar bikini photos or risqué photos and they do not get the type of negative comments that I get when I post. Part of this, is that I am a woman of color, and there is a long history of trying to police and diminish women of color.
When I called that out to my followers - it was very nerve racking. I talked about white privilege and white fragility. Most of my following is white women and the fans of the show are middle America, middle-aged white women. It was scary to speak out against my follower base because that is also what contributes to my income. But somethings are more important than money.
As for the nipple photo, it didn’t even dawn on me that, that photo would be an issue. I posted the photo because I liked it. Then the negative comments started rolling in. But ultimately those comments are just a reflection of those people and how they perceive or want to control women’s bodies. They are choosing to oversexualize me. I am not a one-dimensional character (i.e. just a reality star or just a therapist). At the end of the day, people can have their opinions, but I don't have to let their opinions infiltrate my feelings and my life.
What advice do you have for women dealing with online harassment / social media trolls?
Number 1 Rule: “Don’t disservice yourself to serve other people”
Where Are Your Emotional Boundaries: When I am engaging online and discussing more heavy conversation, I take into account my emotional energy, especially when having conversations about whiteness and privilege. So I really have to make sure that if I am entering into those conversations with the right energy & headspace, and reflecting my own emotional boundaries.
Take a Break: Sometimes I just need to take a break from it all. I will call a friend or I go for a walk. I take a break from it until I feel like I actually have the energy to respond. And sometimes I'll just talk about the fact that, I need to preserve my energy right now, because this is actually feeling a bit draining for me.
You Don’t Have To Engage: I don't have to engage with you. But with some of the feedback and criticism I get it is hard not to have a reaction. But at the same time, for me, I am just being authentic about my feelings. It's ok to acknowledge that something you have said has upset me. It's okay for something to make me feel emotional. That is part of the human experience.
What has been the most important business decision you have made for yourself?
The best business decision I made for myself was going back and practicing as a therapist! Emotionally, mentally, productivity wise, education-wise - therapy is very grounding for me because it actually forced me to have a level of stability at home. Otherwise, if I didn't have my practice in Seattle, I would have no reason to be here. I could be traveling constantly. And it was really important to me that I got back in touch with the professional side of myself. I went to school to be a therapist. So overall in the last four years, the best decision was getting back into therapy.
Across social media, my most important business decisions has been transitioning my brand from being highly associated with The Bachelor to focusing more on mental health, to really actually showing up in an authentic way and being very intentional about the brand and partnerships that I enter into.
I wanted a place for more thoughtful conversations and the discussions I was having around mental health and sexual wellness. DMs were not the place. I found myself having a thousand IG Story frames to have a conversation. I like talking things through and Instagram was not necessarily the place for that. So I moved the conversations I was having in my DMs to a more open forum and the podcast was born!
I just wanted to have these uncomfortable conversations and I want to have the freedom to talk about whatever I want to talk about. My goal is breaking down the stigma around mental and sexual health and remind people that they're not alone. The podcast also to teach people new skills and introduces them to different things about health and mental wellness.
What advice do you have for people seeking health and mental therapist?
I always get a lot of questions about going to therapy and did a whole episode on my podcast about going to therapy – Episode 83! I know it's a really scary thing for people to do. And the most important thing to remember is that your therapists is not there to fix your problem, but to help you, help yourself. My therapy practice is like to help you help yourself and digging deeper. The therapeutic relationship really holds-up up a mirror for your relationship in your everyday life. Therapy helps give you the opportunity to hone how you handle these uncomfortable or difficult conversations.
PsychologyToday.com is a great resource to find a therapist in your area! Reach out and schedule a consultation call. Most therapists offer a 30-minute consultation call for free to see if you'll be a good match. There is also online therapy people can do if they're interested in that. I work with Better Health, and they offer 10% off your first month with the code: taymocha. They also offer financial assistance. I know a big barrier for people going to therapy is financing. I definitely recommend if you find a therapist that you match with that you ask them about a lower cost rate, ask for a sliding scale etc. Most therapists are willing to work with you.
What is in store for you and your businesses moving into 2020?
In 2020 I really want to define my name and brand more in the mental health and wellness area. I want to work and shine light on companies that are doing great things. I am also planning on more events, more live podcast in the future. I would also love to write a book!
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Know any amazing female entrepreneurs or boss ladies?
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