Priscilla Takes Manhattan
she can make it here, she can make it anywhere
Miss March is on the phone from Miami. Despite repeated interruptions from call waiting (the efforts of an ex-boyfriend whom she says she's ignoring), she merrily tells her story. "I was in a beauty pageant when I was 15 or 16," says Priscilla Taylor. "When the emcee asked me who I would be if I could be anyone in the world, I said 'Cleopatra.' 'Why?' he asked. And I said, 'I just want to rule!'" The audience, perhaps expecting Mother Teresa in a bikini, was shocked. "I think I blew the personality part of the contest right out of the water," she recalls, laughing. Although Priscilla lost a crown that day, she did go on to win the title of Miss Orange Blossom in her home state of Florida. She's been blowing people out of the water ever since. Confidence. Priscilla has two scoops of it. Whether she's braving TV auditions with her quick wit or just digging into junk food on a shoot while other models nervously nibble crudités, she has the poise of a woman on the move. Recently, the 24-year-old landed a part on Baywatch Nights and, having conquered the world of modeling in south Florida, was leaving Miami Beach to live in New York. It's the latest stop in a lifetime itinerary that includes Aspen, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale. "I've lived everywhere," she says. "I was always the new kid in school, but I had no trouble making friends. In fact, moving a lot made it easy."
New York should be no different, and a few weeks later at the Royalton Hotel -- her favorite midtown hangout -- her best qualities are on display. As she dines, her sense of purpose and style -- a rather slinky style -- attract attention, even among the jaded crowd. You might think our sun-kissed siren chose this hot spot for its beautiful people, the excellent food or the fashion-industry power brokers in the rear booths -- but no. "Actually," she confesses, "I love the way it looks." That is an informed remark. After high school, Priscilla studied interior design, but she left her chosen field after only a few months on the job. "I did well, but I decided it wasn't for me," she says. "I think I'm too creative for most budgets." Now she is content to decorate her own pad -- budgets be damned. She has two Andy Warhol prints and 12 Roy Lichtensteins. Perhaps her favorite possessions are her pet miniature Dobermans, the perfect high-flying accessories for when she goes on casting calls. She wants a full-size Doberman, too, the better to help her conquer New York.
Yes, hurricane Priscilla can be destructive. Witness the broken hearts left in her wake: "Here's what happens," she says. "I meet a strong guy with a great big, um, ego. I like that -- my boyfriends have been real cocky, kind of self-centered or snotty. But after we've been together for a while, they just turn into women. I can't make a move without them saying, 'Wait -- where are you going?' All my friends ask, 'Where's your wife?'" It's easy to imagine and easier still to sympathize -- with the guys. She has an irresistible look in her eyes, one that seductively dares, "Are you man enough for me?" It's the kind of fire that makes a man hit redial, hoping she'll finally take his call. "I'll tell you a secret. All three serious boyfriends of mine have wanted us to be together forever, get married, you know. I have always played along with it. But it's the furthest thing from my mind. In fact, I would like all of them in the same house with me, living happily ever after." Then she turns serious. "But what I really want to do is own a modeling agency." She looks up and gazes at an empty power booth. Suddenly, she could be Queen Cleo eyeing her next throne.
Photography by Richard Fegley