Teyana Taylor said her photo shoot for Maxim’s "Sexiest Woman alive" made her “see another side of myself” by “living in the skin I’m in”

By Vanessa Etienne
June 08, 2021 02:33 PM
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Teyana Taylor
Credit: Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage

Teyana Taylor is making history while topping Maxim's Hot 100 list.

On Monday, the 30-year-old model shared the news on Instagram that she had been named Maxim's 'Sexiest Woman alive,' topping the magazine's 2021 Hot 100 list. With the new honor, the singer and actress - who most recently appeared in Coming 2 America - also made history as the first Black woman to land the top spot on the coveted sexy list.

Sharing a few photos from the publication's July/August cover shoot, the music video director began the caption of her post writing, "Somebody pinch me!!!!"

Continuing, Taylor - who's a mother to Iman Tayla (a.k.a. Junie) and Rue Rose with NBA star husband Iman Shumpert - wrote that stepping back in front of a camera has been a "journey of self-reflection and self-confidence," noting that the entire experience actually made her nervous.

SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE: TEYANA TAYLOR IS MAXIM'S 2021 'HOT 100' COVER STAR
Credit: Gilles Bensimon / MAXIM

"As an entrepreneur, wife, a busy mother of two & working behind the lens in my director bag I tend to hide behind my sweats & vintage tees, My "Spike Tey" glasses, and whatever hairstyle I've mustered up that day," she said. "So as you can see I don't have much time to be and feel sexy. This particular day was dope because it made me see another side of myself."

Taylor went on to describe the day of the photo shoot, saying she dropped her daughter off at school and arrived at the shoot unprepared in sweatpants, an army jacket and a beanie hat, noting that her hair wasn't done. 

However, she revealed that renowned photographer Gilles Bensimon told her "my dear this is pure" before encouraging her to do the photo shoot as she was. "As confused as I was my heart also melted," Taylor explained.

SEXIEST WOMAN ALIVE: TEYANA TAYLOR IS MAXIM'S 2021 'HOT 100' COVER STAR
Credit: Gilles Bensimon / MAXIM

"I say all of this to say in the true words of Audrey Hepburn… 'The beauty of a woman is not in facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.' Embrace and love yourselves for who & what you are because only the purest heart shines through," Taylor ended her post, calling it an "honor" to be on the cover.

In an interview with PEOPLE last year, the fashion entrepreneur said that she's tapping into all of her dreams, adding that through her U.K-based retailer PrettyLittleThing - where she serves as the creative director - she wants to "enhance beauty that's already" inside people, emphasizing self-care and self-acceptance.

"I'm at a place where no one can put me in a box," she said in December. "They can't tell me I can only do one thing. I do whatever I put my mind to and succeed at it."