Gary James’ Interview with Taya Parker
Gary James’ Interview with Taya Parker
She was a Playboy Cover Girl in 2007 – 2008. In 2005 and 2006 she was a nominee for Exotic Dancer Magazine’s Entertainer Of The Year. In 2007, she won Exotic Dancer Magazine’s Entertainer Of The Year. In January 2008, she was featured as Penthouse Magazine’s Pet Of The Month. And in January 2009, she was named as the Penthouse Pet Of The Year.
We are talking of course about Taya Parker.
Gary James – Taya, congratulations! You are the penthouse Pet Of The Year For 2009.
Taya – I know. Thank-you. I’m so happy. (laughs)
Gary James – I take it that once you grace the pages of Penthouse Magazine, you’re looked upon differently by agents, clubs and your fans. This is a big deal, isn’t it?
Taya – Absolutely. If you look at the history of Pet Of The Years and even Penthouse Pets, they’re the most beautiful women in the world. You’re being immortalized and that’s a huge honor for anybody. So, just looking around at the company of girls that I’m in, it’s very overwhelming and very humbling. I’m very, very honored to carry on the tradition because it’s something that a lot of girls aspire to do. I realize that now I’m going to join the ranks of girls that other girls look up to. I want to do the best of putting the best image I can of the brand. That’s my goal. (laughs) I’ve been at it for a long time, so I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I have really great people that have believed in me in the company. I have so many people to thank for achieving this. It’s definitely not a one woman show. I have a lot of support from my ranks, Penthouse and my fans. So, it’s definitely a joint effort when you accomplish something like this. So, I’m just happy that I’m the accumulation of that for many people. I’m the embodiment of so many people’s hard work. That’s a big honor. It’s a big responsibility.
Gary James – What went into the selection process for Pet Of The Year?
Taya – To be honest, I never asked them those questions. We all knew we were going through the Pet Of The Year process. It involved all the girls that were Pets that year. So, I was competing against the other eleven Pets that were 2008 Pets. So, at the end of the year, all the girls know what’s happening, that that decision process is starting to be made. There’s voting online for people who are subscribers. Pretty much anybody can go and vote. There’s a percentage into it. How much impact and emboldment you’ve made as a Pet during the course of the year plays a big part in that. I’ve been with the company sine 2005, right after it changed hands from Bob Guccione to the new owners of the company. So, I’ve been with the company a long time. I think that they’ve seen that I continue to promote the brand in a positive way. I continue to be able to show up, conduct myself like a lady, yet still be sexy. You always know when you’re in the limelight in this sort of way, that eyes are on you. There’s a lot of things you can do to put yourself in a positive light. There’s probably the flip side of that coin too. So, I’m not really sure what determines the final decision, to be honest. Every “Pet” this year was highly qualified. It was an amazing group of girls. A lot of girls with a big fan base. We had amazing, established porn stars that were Pets this year. So, it was tough competition for all of us. I don’t think any one girl was walking around thinking she was the front runner, thinking I’ve got this in the bag. I think that everybody knew that there were strong things about every girl that was a “Pet” this year. I think everybody was anticipating the announcement, because nobody knew who to suspect would be the winner in the end. I think if they would have announced anybody, nobody would have anything to say about that. That makes me proud knowing that. I don’t think you’re gonna get another 2008 “Pet” who’s gonna say “I don’t think Taya Parker was deserving.” Just like I wouldn’t be able to say that about her is she had won. It’s really just a great group of girls. We’re a family. We really are. We do a lot of promotions together. It’s just a wonderful environment to be around. I’ve never met a “Pet” that I wasn’t in love with right away. They’re all amazing girls.
Gary James – One thing that does separate you from the other “Pets” is you’re a dancer. A lot of these other girls do the Triple X porn films. This is surprising to be because I always thought when you’re a “Penthouse Pet” you would get to do film work, but not necessarily porn films.
Taya – I don’t know what goes into the selection process to be a “Pet” or how they choose what girls are just featured in the magazine as opposed to what girls actually move on to be established as a “Pet”. I was actually printed the first time in Penthouse in 2005 as a Feature, like a model in a magazine. It was actually the issue Melissa Jacobs was a “Pet”. As far as I’m concerned that was a goal of mine – to be a Penthouse Pet. I basically just wouldn’t go away, not in a negative way. I worked for them a lot. I did a lot of promotions for them. I think like every time they tried to turn the page, oh, there’s Taya Parker again. I think it made them keep coming back and looking. In my situation I didn’t necessarily make the cut for Pet the first time around when I came into the company. I just had the drive and kept going for it. The fact that I established myself so quickly on the feature dance circuit as a major contender, made them kind of look at me again too. Like, wait, this girl is rising to the top of the feature dance circuit very quickly. She’s doing a lot of things that maybe have never been done in that way before. There might be more to this girl, maybe we should take a second look at her. They did that and luckily I got my second chance. I’ve had the good luck of being in the main magazines so many times because I’ve kept coming back. So, as far as knowing what distinguishes one girl from being “Pet” material and another girl not being, I can’t say “Oh, it’s because she doesn’t do porn” If you look at all the Pets, there’s so many different things about a lot of us. Some Pets only do girl-girl porn. Some Pets don’t do porn at all. Some girls do hard-core porn. That’s the great thing about this company – that there’s not “This is what you have to be” to be a Penthouse Pet. If you’ve got the personality, if you’ve got the charisma, if you’re the look they’re looking for at the time – it’s possible. It’s completely do-able. Cali Taylor is a great example. The February 2008 Pet. She was a house dancer at one of the Penthouse clubs and they wanted to give the girls at their Penthouse Club the opportunity to achieve...they had a contest. A bunch of their key girls entered the contest. They came down to some finalists. It was all done by voting by customers of theirs at the club, people all of the world that got the magazine – and she won! She was the February 2008 Pet. So, you don’t have to be this super established mega star in order to become a Penthouse Pet. And, she’s an amazing girl. I love her. I do a lot of promotions with her. There’s different girls that come from all over the place. That’s what makes Penthouse so great as opposed to some of the other adult publications out there – “Our girls can’t do this!” or “Our girls have to do this!” Penthouse is way more diverse on who they’ll choose and who they’ll look at. You never know who’s gonna be the Pet when you pick up the magazine. It’s gonna be somebody you suspected, maybe somebody you never suspected. So, that’s what so great about the company.
Gary James – Another noticeable difference is, the photos in Penthouse are taken by a woman – Emma Nixon. Don’t most men’s magazines have men taking the photos of centerfolds? How is it different having a woman taking the pictures?
Taya – Well, the fabulous thing about Emma Nixon and I don’t know why it’s not more of a known fact – she was actually a Penthouse Pet herself.
Gary James – OK
Taya – That’s another thing that’s so amazing. That just speaks volumes about the family unit that we have within the company. After her centerfold days were behind her, she went on to become an amazing make-up artist and so she started going on photo sets doing make-up. Then she decided – “Hey, I want to try this photography thing out” and started doing that. And now she has shot like almost all of 2008 Pets. Now Dean Caper shot most of my layout and she phenomenal as well. That’s the thing, working with a woman as opposed to a man, at least the great thing about where I’m at, is I’ve shot with so many different photographers in so many different situations. I’ve been in the business in one way or another for ten years. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with a lot of amazing photographers. I gotta be honest, Emma is one of my faves. She’s savvy. She’s sassy. She’s not gonna click off a hundred pictures. She wants to make sure every picture she takes is amazing. So, she’s a really big perfectionist, kind of like me. When you’re a model, the last thing you want is twenty out takes to every good picture. The out takes make it out there too. They get on the internet. They get seen. With Emma’s style of shooting, you know that almost every picture she takes is gonna be good ‘cause she won’t take it unless she loves what she sees in the lens. So, she’s a perfectionist. She’s great. She’s easy to work with. I haven’t heard one girl that has shot with her that’s not been like – “She’s my favorite.” She does the most phenomenal make-up. I don’t want anybody else doing my make-up other than Emma. She’s just amazing. I can’t say enough good things about her. She’s just the greatest.
Gary James – This name of your, Taya. Where did that come from?
Taya – It’s actually part of a name that is in my family and that would be Maten. When I first started doing magazines, they were butchering it, saying Tea and Tia. So, I thought I was solving the problem by spelling it Taya, but I still get a lot of Tayes. So, it didn’t really help the situation. It kind of morphed into what it is today, but it started out as a family name. And Parker, I’m actually a big comic fan and a big comic book buff and anybody who knows anything knows Peter Parker is Spiderman, so that’s how I got the last name Parker. I wanted a last name that was different than the other last names that were out there. So, that’s kind of how Parker was decided upon. That’s how Taya Parker was born. (laughs)
Gary James – How did you get this title “Miss Petite Perfect 10 U.S.A.”?
Taya – I’m not going to talk about any of my past titles. I’m not going to talk about anything that was involved in any scandal, if you know what I’m talking about. That’s behind me. I mean, I’ve done so many more interesting, big things right now. I’m Pet Of the Year. I’m on the number one rated reality show with Bret Michaels on VH-1. There’s really just a lot of amazing things going on for me. That’s the thing about me, especially as a Feature Dancer; when I went into Feature dancing, I think the biggest thing I saw was, when I was watching a Feature Dancer, the show girl titles really meant something. The showgirl was really an established figure on the Feature Dance circuit. When I got into Feature Dancing, you kind of saw that dropping off a little bit. I don’t know if there were more girls coming onto the scene that maybe didn’t have the accolades, so they felt they needed to find ways of getting things that maybe weren’t as big of a deal, but they were kind of blown out of proportion for promotional purposes. My whole thing was, I don’t ever want to be on the circuit promoting something from 2003, when I’m on the road in 2008. I never want to stop having something to say. When I run out of things to say, when I’m no longer feeling like I’m competitive in what I’m doing, I’ll try to look for something else I can do. Can I turn this into something different? How can I freshen this up a little bit? So, to talk about anything that’s more than five years old to me is honestly, just not fresh in my mind anymore. I’m not going to be able to do it justice. It’s sort of a waste of everybody’s time, ‘cause I have so many more great things going on.
Gary James – When you started dancing, you had to enter these competitions to make a name for yourself, didn’t you, in order to get where you are today?
Taya – No, I didn’t actually. I did once and it was a mistake. I never did it again. I was nominated for “Entertainer Of The Year”, 13 months on the road. That had never been done before to my knowledge. If it has, I’d love someone to tell me. I never got nominated for “Newcomer Of The Year”. I was completely by-passed and immediately nominated for “Entertainer Of The Year”. I was nominated for “Entertainer Of The Year” ever year of my career, until I won it in 2007. I don’t think you need to do contests to get titles to necessarily put yourself out there. There’s a lot of magazines you can shoot for. Without trying to sound too preachy, unless it’s the major pageant with major credibility, I think to be honest, sometimes those things can be retroactive. Sometimes they can do more harm to you than good. My personal experience was not positive with contests, so I wasn’t gonna keep doing it. So, I decided to take a different route.
Gary James – I just have this feeling that there’s more that goes into the selection process of naming a woman “Penthouse Pet Of The Year” than just her looks. It has to be based on an intangible like personality and something else.
Taya – It’s funny you should say that. It’s kind of become my mantra, kind of the thing I’ve said so many times, it should be like a tag line under every picture that I take from now ‘til the end of my career. I always tell people, I’m very much aware of my strengths and weaknesses. If you are that person, you tend to try and focus more on your strengths and either fix your weaknesses or know how to hide them. My mantra has become, I am by far, very rarely if ever the hottest girl ever, anywhere, like at a club, on a photo shoot, on a promotion with other Penthouse Pets. I am very rarely “the hottest “ girl there. I’m not trying to take anything away from what I am. I work hard on my body. I take good care of myself. I’m proud of the way that I look. When you look around, I don’t consider myself to be the best-looking girl when I look at the other girls I’m in the company of. It’s kind of like a whole package deal. When people get to know me, I become more attractive to people. I don’t think that necessarily you’d pick me out of a group and go “Oh, man! She’s the hottest girl here.” But, if you spend fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes talking to me, I will quickly become like your favorite. I’m very aware of other people. I care about people and where they’re coming from. I myself have not had this “Yellow Brick Road” of a career. I’ve taken wrong turns, taken steps back and had to re-evaluate. Then I got to a point where things really seemed to be going well for me as I was coasting along and everything was great. You never know when your time is going to hit. So, I always tell girls, don’t give up. If you’ve tried something, don’t think it’s not going to happen for you. I submitted my pictures to Penthouse long before they ever shot me and now look at me six years later – I’m Pet Of The Year. Anything’s possible in this business. You can never count yourself out unless you are taking yourself out of the game.
Taya Parker’s official website:www.tayaparker.com
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