It won’t be long until Taylor Spreitler is a household name. This young Days of Our Lives actress recently picked up the gig to play Lennox in the ABC Family hit series Melissa and Joey. Spreitler also debuted in a few small movies including this holiday season’s DVD 3 Day Test.
In the movie, Taylor plays Lu, whose father senses the strain of his family becoming disconnected due to electronics, media and those seemingly innocent comforts that we tend to take for granted. So, he surprises the family with a challenge to live three days without power, heat, running water and contact with the outside world. “I think 3 Day Test is an amazing family movie. I definitely think we all have goofy parents who make their kids try to do crazy things. I think it’s a good movie to realize that our parents are just trying to bring their family closer. Really, it was such an amazing time; we all became kind of our own little family. It’s a fun movie to watch, [one] that your entire family can watch,” says Taylor.
With smartphones, tablets, running water and heat that automatically turns on, it’s easy to take advantage of items that have become commonplace in our society. Upon reflecting on the film, Spreitler mentioned she would have a hard time going without heat in the dead of winter, “We were filming in Ohio, and it got pretty cold there, and I am so not good with cold weather. I grew up in California where it’s always sunny.” But, if she did her own personal “3 day test” in a sunny state then she would miss her shower the most! “Yeah, that would be awkward. I don’t know if I’d want to spend three days in a house with my family none of them being able to shower,” says Spreitler. “I think a lot of people might try to do a three day test. Which is what I hope. I would love to hear stories about people trying to do it on their own better than we did.”
Although she doesn’t see herself as a celebrity, she recognizes that people view individuals staring in TV shows and movies as celebrities. “Growing up in the industry that I’m in, it’s hard, you know,” says Spreitler. Actors and actresses are made to look perfect on TV, which is not realistic. This ideal for perfection puts a strain on the actors portraying these individuals plus it sets up unrealistic expectations for those who engage in the media. “I want to be healthy, but I don’t strive to be too skinny. I’ve learned to just be comfortable with who I am. That’s something I have to thank my mom a lot for, because she’s always told me that not everyone is the same size. That’s how it’s supposed to be. If we all looked the same, how boring would that be? I think that’s something that teen girls especially think too much about. There’s no need to be super skinny. You are who you are. You were born the way you were born and if you have a little extra meat, embrace it!” claims Spreitler.
With a career where Taylor has to act like someone else on a daily basis, she encourages teenagers to continue to explore their identity. “That’s the fun of being a teenager; we don’t have to define ourselves. We’re still growing up,” proclaims Taylor. “I wake up every day and I’ll dress completely different, I never really have one set style that I do, or the music that I listen to. I’m always open to trying new things and expanding my horizons. That’s the fun of it. I don’t think there should be any rush to define myself right now. Cause I could not tell you, if you asked me to define myself right now. Yeah, I’m an actress, that’s what I do for a living, but personally, I would not be able to say to you who I am because it changes every day. I’m still learning so many things about the world.” So, join Taylor in self-discovery by trying new clubs at school, change up your look and the music you listen to, participate in activities offered by your church and explore different subjects at school. “Have fun figuring out who you are,” says Taylor. There are so many options available, so don’t let other people define who you are. Instead, hold onto the things you love and enjoy them, but don’t be afraid to be unique.
Taylor has gained a significant amount of wisdom through her role-playing career. She’s learned that you don’t know anything about anyone until you step into their shoes, which to an extent is what she does every day as she steps into the shoes of her characters. “I’ve definitely brought passions of the characters that I’ve played into my real life. It’s fun to be able to take away something from the people that you get to play and the people that you get to meet,” says Taylor. “[As an actress] you become a very tolerant person, [because] you’re always around so many different people whether it’s crewmembers or the character you’re playing or the situation you’re there in. So, it’s fun for me to be able to step into someone else’s shoes and to spend a day in their life.”
Why not encourage each other to grow up and be an amazing person instead of calling each other names and putting each other down all the time.
This understanding of the depths of individual personalities has really influenced Taylor’s perspective of people she encounters on a daily basis. Taylor’s a victim of bullying and has incredible strength and insight on overcoming the despair of this form of oppression. “You don’t know what’s going on in their lives that make them feel like they have to do that to you. You don’t know if maybe they make fun of the way you dress because they’re insecure or they have family issues. You never know what else is going on in someone else’s life. The kid who’s really shy in class and doesn’t say anything could have a thousand things going on at home or could have mental issues. You never know who someone really is. So, keep that in mind and be aware that not everyone is like you,” proclaims Streitler. Taylor believes that you can actually help your accuser by learning about their life and understanding what they’re going through in life. “You can always, in a way, be an advocate for someone who’s bullying someone and ask them, ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you saying the things you’re saying to me? Do you have a valid reason [for saying or doing these things]?’ If there’s something going on in their life, maybe you can help them. Maybe you can relate to it somehow. Maybe you’ve been through it.” Spreitler confidently explains.
Now, this is a mighty challenge, so if you’re suffering from bullying and don’t believe you have the courage or strength to connect with the person who is bullying you, then Taylor recommends just walking away. She says, “I usually just try to walk away. It’s very hard. I get it; all you want to do is retaliate. Even if you hate someone though, don’t stoop to their level. If you’re [at] school and someone’s doing this to you and you feel threatened physically, tell someone. I definitely felt, at nineteen years old, that I have to come home and tell my mom. Parents are the best at giving advice. They went to high school, you know, they went through it. I think it’s definitely something that you shouldn’t keep to yourself.”
Taylor would love to see teenagers encourage one another instead of put each other down. “Bullying in general is just not necessary, especially among teen girls. I have girls (still to this day) try to bully me. They see me as competition. We’re all out here trying to become actors and models. I don’t understand why girls can’t support each other. It’s hard enough growing up as girls. We don’t need bullies. I think we would all be a lot happier if we all just stood together and stopped being mean to each other. What’s the point? We’re all trying to figure out who we are. I cannot name one teenager who knows exactly what they believe in, knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up. None of us have it all figured out, so why not help each other figure out who we want to be? Why not encourage each other to grow up and be an amazing person instead of calling each other names and putting each other down all the time.” Taylor exclaims that it’s the small things that make a difference. Saying, “I’m proud of you,” “You did a good job,” or “Good luck, wishing you the best” lifts others up. “It’s just being there for people, just encouraging them, you know, just saying nice things. It’s really not that hard. It’s crazy how walking down the street and smiling at someone can completely change their day. Opening the door for somebody can completely change their day. It’s just the little things that we always need to keep in the back of our minds.” Taylor continues by saying, “No one wants to be hurt, no one wants to be talked down to, no one wants to be called names. We’re all beautiful in who we are. It’s the inside that counts and if you’re not pretty on this inside then no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be pretty on the outside. People will see right through that. I think we should all help each other out.”