Friday, April 19, 2024

How Taylor Rooks Perfected the Artwork of Interviewing and Created Her Personal Lane

For a younger Taylor Rooks, that day felt like, effectively, the worst day of her life. The now famend broadcaster is attending Peachtree Ridge Excessive College in Suwanee, Georgia, and is preparing for a highschool monitor meet when, all of the sudden, she’s informed she’s going to compete in a wholly new occasion. Not the 100, or the 200 like she’s used to. However the 400.

Rooks begins off sizzling. However then she forgets to tempo herself. The ultimate outcome? She is available in second to final within the race.

I’m by no means doing this once more, she says to herself as she goes as much as her mother and father, who’re anticipating an emotional Rooks to be very upset after the loss. Failing on the 400 isn’t what essentially led her to pursue a profession in sports activities media, however the classes she did be taught rising up and working monitor, in addition to volleyball, soccer and tennis, did assist information her in that route.

“I knew I used to be not going to be like Serena,” she says on hoop(ish), a brand new present by SLAM and LeagueFits. “I used to be like, I both wish to be the best to ever play or I’m not gonna do that. And I knew I wasn’t going to be the very best.”

At present, Rooks is undoubtedly one of the crucial good interviewers and media personalities. Not solely does she know the sport however she actually is aware of the athletes, too, a lot in order that she’s gotten gamers like DeMar DeRozan to open up like by no means earlier than. Her capacity to resonate together with her topics additionally stems from her upbringing and being raised in a sports activities household: her dad was a working again on the College of Illinois, her late-uncle, Lou Brock, was a Corridor of Famer with the Cardinals and her different uncle, Marv Woodson performed for the Steelers and the Saints. She was additionally raised by “one of the largest sports activities followers you’ll ever meet,” she says of her mom, who obtained her into taking part in fantasy soccer and watching the video games alongside her dad.

It’s their affect, in addition to her personal experiences, which have formed the best way she holds her personal within the trade.

“I feel that figuring out so personally how tough it’s to be an athlete, form of makes me not be just like the form of person who thinks I do know extra about taking part in the game than them,” she tells hosts Ian and Sway, later including: “My fashion is: I do know what I’m speaking about. I watch the sport, I do know the personnel, I do know the gamers. I perceive the issues that make them tick, what they’re concerned with. And that’s how I attempt to method the best way I focus on sports activities.”

And that’s what’s set her aside. In an age the place everybody can have an opinion—and put up about it throughout social media—Rooks’ conversational nature and humanistic method offers her topics the area to open up, and be heard. She’s all the time been fascinated by folks and the best way they work together, and nearly ended up minoring in sociology whereas learning on the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“I’m very a lot so a folks particular person,” she tells us. “I wish to get to know others. I wish to find out about them. I like having conversations. And I don’t know if persons are all the time attempting to genuinely get to know different folks, however I get pleasure from that side of life. I feel that bleeds into the work, too.”

When she was little, Rooks liked to observe the information and was fascinated by how newscasters sounded and the cadence of their voices. She’d sit together with her mom and watch information anchors like Monica Kaufman Pearson in awe, “enamored by the way it was her job to inform all people what occurred.” Then there was pioneers like Oprah, who impressed her by not solely how she captivated audiences, however “had a voice that held weight” amongst tradition and society.

Younger Taylor would arrange her camcorder and interview herself, similar to the ladies she noticed on tv. She’d fake to be somebody totally different each time, whether or not or not it’s a singer, actor, or a tennis participant and shuttle asking “ridiculous questions.” When requested what her youthful self would consider her now, seeing that she’s interviewing not solely the largest names in sports activities, however music legends like Lil Wayne and extra, Rooks retains it actual:

“I say this very genuinely: I feel that little Taylor wouldn’t be stunned. I’ve had an thought of what I need in my life to be for a extremely very long time, and I’ve all the time tried to take the steps for my life to appear like that. There was by no means a time that I assumed I wouldn’t have the ability to accomplish the entire issues that I got down to. So a whole lot of the time once I’m doing issues, I’m saying that is what was imagined to occur as a result of that is what I labored for.”

As her profession continues to achieve new heights, Rooks has additionally emerged into her personal bonafide star in her personal proper. Whereas others keep on with the script, Rooks challenges the normal notion that journalist are imagined to be simply “flies on the wall” by being entrance and middle: she will be able to interview your favourite participant or rapper, seem in commercials and cowl the largest occasions, together with this yr’s extremely anticipated NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis. She’s constructed an viewers that cares simply as a lot about breaking information as they do her on-air suits, hair care routine and what books she’s studying.

In an ever-changing trade, Rooks is exhibiting aspiring creatives and Black ladies in sports activities that they, too, can create their very own lane. All of the whereas, she’s nonetheless solidifying herself as the very best within the sport.

“That’s actually what I wish to be often called,” she says. “I wish to be the person who when you needed to sit down and have an actual dialog concerning the sport, about your self, about your why, about your what [then] you say, okay, I wish to sit down with Taylor. That’s the form of atmosphere that I attempt to foster once I’m doing the interviews, and never simply because I feel that it is vitally true to myself, I additionally suppose it’s extra attention-grabbing.

I all the time say, in fact I care about, like, why you missed the final shot or why you’re not making your free throws, or why you didn’t win the massive sport. However I’m actually concerned with what it was like feeling these emotions alone and at residence and the way you bounce again from these. And like that to me is is extra attention-grabbing as a result of anybody can sit and discuss concerning the X’s and O’s, um, and what the coach did mistaken and the unhealthy protection on the play. However I don’t know if everybody can get the opposite particular person to debate these issues…I feel that could be a very particular specialty that isn’t all the time related or paramount within the area. I really feel prefer it fills a necessity.”

Get to know Taylor within the first episode of hoop(ish). Stream right here.

Images by way of Getty Photos.

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