Home celeb profile TAYLOR ROOKS


by devnym



“… Just
because the
path that you
want isn’t
there, doesn’t
mean you
can’t follow
it… ’

Taylor Rooks is changing the face of sports entertainment.  Rooks has staked her claim in the industry as a sports  interviewer and reporter to the biggest names in sports  media, including Bleacher Report and the Big Ten Network.

credits:photographer: tony galevideo: cris penastylist: alison hernonhair and make up:buffy hernandez daisycurbeon, yoli cotray, anita

In a family of sports fans and a former high-school basketball  player herself, it was only a matter of time before Rooks found  a place for herself in athletics. While she was born in St. Louis  and grew up in the Gwinnett County suburbs of Georgia,  Rooks’ career flourished during her time at the University of  Illinois. At UI, she was a sideline reporter and anchor for the  Big Ten Network covering a diverse range of athletics.

Rooks cemented her name in sports with her own interview  show, “Taylor Rooks X’ with Bleacher Report. On the series,  Rooks has conversations with legends such as Kevin Durant,  Snoop Dogg and more. Her keen interviewing skills and ability  to connect with athletes on an individual basis set her apart. 

Despite her hard work and talent, Rooks did not break  into the industry unscathed.  It’s no mystery that sports  entertainment is a predominantly white space. As a Black  reporter, Rooks endured additional challenges to achieve  the success she now has. Rooks had a few words of advice  for other Black youth with dreams of entering the industry,  “Harness the life that you’ve lived and understand that it is  something that will propel you in this space because it is  something that makes you different. But also, that makes you  really important too”. 

Additionally, Rooks is a woman in an ultra-macho industry  which comes with its own set of obstacles to navigate. Yet, she  prevailed with some tips on how she weathered the pressure. 

“I’m used to being around men. I’ve been around men  my whole life and I’m not gonna let the behaviors of men  change what I have to do or stop me from getting where  I’m going. I enter each room with the expectation of being  respected as a journalist and as a woman. I’ve also been  fortunate to have solid and impactful male friends and allies  in this space that I’m super thankful for”. 

Diversity is what enriches an industry; including diversity  in content produced by the network. Rooks caught on to  the importance of diverse content early in her career and   decided to make a pivot. “I’ve been able to carve out a lane  that is based on long-form conversations. It’s based on  knowing that when somebody sits down with me, they’re  gonna say something that you haven’t heard. My path now  is based on what I can encourage from people and not just  based on the things that I say.” 

In case you have yet to watch a Taylor Rooks interview, she  has a way of making her guests feel comfortable enough  to share their stories. It is a skill you don’t frequently see in  sports reporting. When asked what advice she would give  her younger self, she responded, “Just because the path  that you want isn’t there, doesn’t mean you can’t follow  it. I say that because I’ve always loved strictly interviewing  above all else more than hosting, more than reporting,  more than anchoring. Traditional journalism tells you you  have to exclusively be those things but, I wanted to just be  an interviewer. I think I’ve been able to carve out a lane that  is based on long-form conversations”. With this new angle,  Taylor Rooks stood out during the 2019-2020 NBA Bubble.  During the pandemic, the NBA created a quarantined  working and living bubble of NBA players and staff in Disney Land California to protect from the spread of  COVID-19. Rooks was one of the few people in the  bubble. Despite living and working during such difficult  times, she found a community in her co-workers.  

“I think that we all kind of felt like we were a part of this  like, fraternity of people [since] there’s very few people  you can talk to about the bubble. That place made me  a better journalist, and I am eternally thankful for that  experience”.

Her growth in the bubble did not go unnoticed. In  2019. Rooks was listed on Forbes 30 under 30. She has  created a positive example for the next generation of  women in athletics. Rooks has hopes that the next-gen  will have a brighter future. .

credits:photographer: tony galevideo: cris penastylist: alison hernonhair and make up:buffy hernandez daisycurbeon, yoli cotray, anita

“I hope stories are told about their talent and accomplishments because too often we make stories  about women in sports, about them being women… in sports. We can discuss women as great athletes  as champions, competitors, et cetera. Womanhood  doesn’t need to be the focal point of everything. So my  hope is just that they are seen as, as whole people.”

“… If you have   something to   say, I want to be who you say  it to. That’s my  career ambition…”

In terms of hopes and dreams for her career, Rooks is  enthusiastic to interview more voices. She has dreamed  of interviewing one particular athlete for some time  now, Serena Williams. When asked what her question  for Williams would be, Rooks responded, “I would  wanna ask her about the pressure and the happiness  that has come with being the standard and when you  become the standard at something, what pushes you  to keep on wanting to be greater because she’s already  accomplished is great, you know? Also [I would ask  about], the different sacrifices that that she had to  make in comparison to her male counterparts.” 

While Rooks has achieved greatness, she is  continuously raising the bar. So, we asked, what is her  end goal? “To be the go-to person that interviews any  and everyone. So athletes, politicians, entertainers, and  everyday citizens. If you have something to say, I want

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