Too Hot To Handle
Maxim|July - August 2021
Singer-songwriter, actress, dancer, choreographer, director, and model—Teyana Taylor does it all. No wonder she’s No. 1 on our Hot 100 list
By Jordan Riefe. Photography by Gilles Bensimon

In case you can’t tell by the cover, Teyana Taylor is an easy pick for the face of the Hot 100 issue, and the No. 1 spot on the list. A graceful choreographer-dancer, actor-director, and top ten recording star, she has brains, talent and, well, the photos show the rest.

“I’ve followed Maxim for a long time and I’ve always felt like I should be on the cover,” she tells us from her home in Atlanta, where she lives with her husband, professional basketball player Iman Shumpert. “So to actually get the call saying they want me on the cover really meant a lot. I was like, what? They want me on the cover? Okay!”

Thirty and loving it, Teyana is turning a corner in her career, focusing more on film work, like her show-stopping number “Gett Off” in Coming 2 America. In a barely PG-13-rated dance sequence, she is presented as a prospective bride to Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), long lost son of Prince Akeem, played by Eddie Murphy.

“It was like a dream come true, especially to be a part of something so iconic and so legendary, everything’s so surreal,” Teyana says of the movie, a sequel to 1988’s Coming to America, one of Murphy’s biggest hits, garnering roughly $290 million at the box office. “He’s from New York, so it was a lot of New York energy. So we could talk our shit, and I love that.”

In the days leading up to the shoot, she was so eager to get started she found herself doing things to make time fly faster. “I was just soaking everything in,” she says of her days on set. “Not only enjoying myself, but learning and collecting more wisdom, things I can collect that I know will make me better at what I do.”

She’s hoping to apply that knowledge in what could be a breakthrough project, a series about baby-boomer pop star and recent Queen of Twitter, Dionne Warwick, known in the Sixties for such hits as “Walk On By,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”

Warwick recently set Twitter afire as she wondered if rapper DaBaby’s mother was called DaMama. To Chance the Rapper she tweeted: “If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this.” And in another tweet, she suggested Teyana should play her in her life story. Netflix was listening.

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