Thought Catalog: How closely does the character “Taylor” reflect you in real life? Is she a caricature of yourself?
TC: Maybe I should back up: the first episode deals with roommates Caroline and Taylor confronting their 6-month graduation anniversary. You are a recent college graduate of Northwestern University, much like your character “Taylor.” How are you finding life after college?
Taylor: Life after college is wild. It’s scary. And daunting. And empowering. I loved the order that college imposed on my schedule and life. I excel in those types of environments. So when I graduated, I had a bit of a freak out. When you step into the “real world,” you literally can do anything you want. No rules. (Within reason). And I was privileged to have a range of choices available to me. I recognize that. But that enormous amount of choice and possibility creates a lot of room for anxiety. “Am I making the right career choice?” “Should I take this job?” “What if I get this job and then I start going down a certain path?” Those questions come out of fear. And the only way to combat fear is dive in and get busy. Choose something.
TC: What jobs have you taken since graduating?
Taylor: I’ve had so many. I’m not particularly good at any of them. Except tutoring.
TC: Any particularly funny stories?
Taylor: I had one job that was…unexpected. After graduation, I worked as a digital strategist for a marketing company in Chicago. (I think all millennials get jobs doing “social media” these days. And I was no exception). So when I came back to LA, where I’m from, I tried to leverage that experience and do digital marketing out here. I responded to a Craigslist ad which asked for a social media strategist who would help generate enthusiasm and leads for this guy’s new company. I was like, “Great! I can do that!” The ad called for a boy. But I thought, hey, that’s silly. I’ll still apply. And finally I read at the end of the post that this was about safe male gay sex parties. He needed a social media strategist to draw men to these safe gay sex parties that he held. That gave me pause. But then I thought, Hey: safe sex. Sex positivity. Supporting the gay Los Angeles community. Okay. Let’s go. I applied and sent in my resume. And he responded something like: “Wow, your resume is really great. Do you realize what the nature of this job is?” And I responded: “Yes. Sex parties are not personally of my interest, but I’m happy to help you grow your business. I support what you do. It’s cool with me.” Then it gets a little catfishy. And super weird. And I actually can’t believe I did this “job” for a while. But I posed as a gay man on gay dating sites and invited them to these parties.
TC: Like with a fake profile and everything?
Taylor: Yes……I assumed the name Ken. One time, I was doing a beat on [the gay male dating site] Adam4adam. Just sending out my pre-written message about the party, that Friday, time, details etc. And this guy writes back, “Taylor!?” And I may have had a five second panic attack.
Taylor: “I’ve been found out.” “How could anyone know that I am ‘Ken’?” (My profile pic was an anonymous male torso selfie.) It was my boss. He was on the same site inviting men to the parties. He was using a fake account too.
TC: That’s the best post-college job story I’ve ever heard.
Taylor: Thank you. I think I quit shortly after that incident. I’ve also tutored high school students for the SATs. So it’s been varied. And I tried taking headshots for money. Walking dogs. Building websites. These days I work at a beautiful vintage boutique in LA. It’s a very enjoyable job. It’s such a nice store. It’s kind of like a museum, you know? It’s actually making me step up my fashion game.
TC: …and it gives you lots of me-time to work on… WEB COMEDY!
Taylor: I lucked into a job which grants me a lot of free time. When people aren’t in the store, I write.
TC: Tiny Nuts is your first web series, correct?
Taylor: Yes. I acted a lot in high school and college. Did improv and sketch comedy at Northwestern. But when I graduated I decided to focus on my own work.
TC: So, what’s the meaning behind the name Tiny Nuts?
Taylor: My dog’s name is Walnut. She is a big nut. A zany creature. And acts as a great comedic foil to Caroline and me. So, partially, she is the inspiration. But then on a larger scale it refers to the fact that we’re all tiny nuts right now. Flailing along, trying to figure stuff out. We also recognize it can be interpreted as a reference to male anatomy. That makes us laugh.
TC: Not until the fourth (most recent) episode do we find out that you are a lesbian. What was the thought process behind that? Others would probably just make it the whole point of the show.
Taylor: In terms of the politics, nowhere in the episode (or the series) is my “queerness” mentioned (although there is a joke about a Subaru in episode 3). That was a deliberate choice to destigmatize lesbianism. Much the way the author of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” Julie Maroh, calls for “banalisation of homosexuality,” I too wanted to offer a story that illustrates how being gay is just another, basic facet of the self. I didn’t want to write a story that yet again depicted the struggle for self acceptance. I love being gay. My queerness is seamlessly integrated into my personhood (and my web series!).
TC: You pull it off beautifully.
Taylor: I also want to mention that I’m very interested and entertained by blurring the lines between fiction and non fiction. Episode 2 features my real life mom, and our real life housekeeper Maria.
TC: What was it like to act with them?
Taylor: My mom is a very good actress. She takes direction well. And it was just cute to work beside her and see her do her thing.
TC: She’s a pro, correct?
Taylor: Yah, weirdly enough, she was the mom on ALF. She was Kate Tanner.
TC: What else can we look forward to in the next 5 episodes of Tiny Nuts?
Taylor: Five episodes of shenanigans. One of our favorite themes is the transition from childhood to adulthood. I grew up a little sheltered so I had to play catch up when I graduated. I had to learn to take care of myself. The episodes examine us tackling new challenges like earning money, staying fit, feeling emotionally grounded in the face of the confusion and questions that plague any recent college graduate.The finale is a big episode. Lots of characters, the return of many. We borrow Shakespeare’s method of ending with a giant celebration. Is that saying too much?