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Women Who Inspire: Pop Icon Taylor Dayne

Remember having big hair? Wearing big makeup and black leather jackets, bustiers, miniskirts, and stockings? And singing along to pop icon Taylor Dayne’s dance anthem “Tell It to My Heart”?

Hard to believe, but that was 1987. More than three decades! Dayne, now 57, has had an enduring career: three Grammy nominations, a leading role in Elton John’s award-winning Broadway production of Aida, a movie with Warren Beatty (Love Affair), and more — all while raising twins as a single mom. But it wasn’t all fame, love, and roses. We recently chatted with the say-it-like-it-is songstress about her book and more.

The subtitle of your memoir, Tell It to My Heart, is “How I Lost My S#*t, Conquered My Fear, and Found My Voice.” Thathonest!

Right?! [laughs]. It’s gritty and real. It’s about love, which is good even when it doesn’t last, and God, who is good even when it seems like He’s being kind of a d*ck. It’s also about friendship, but most of all it’s about the voice that was my salvation. It’s about life, and life is about proving ourselves to ourselves. If you’re in the game of life, it’s about learning and having an openness to learning the purpose of your life and rising to that. I know so many people who ignore their inner voice. But there’s no yellow brick road; there’s no one path in life. And if you go out and bully your way through things, something will bring you to your knees.

What revelations have you had embracing your inner voice?

It’s the tool chest. We all should create a mental tool chest and find our own personal power tool and acknowledge it, and hone it, and use it. My power tool is my voice, which I found as a very young girl. At that time, I went through a live-or-die health issue, which was quite debilitating and took some time, lasting through my 18th birthday. It carved the way for me to fight, fight for my life, to know when to shut down and not bully ahead, and when to choose to take on the other side of life and fight for it. And that’s a beautiful thing that made me strong: mentally, spiritually, and physically strong (I was a gymnast, too). Today I’m a little powerhouse who knows emotionally and physically what I can do. I love who I am and where I’m sitting today. All these things have become my revelations to myself. And I keep reminders of my accomplishments. I keep little things in my wallet, little reminders of what I’ve done, how far I’ve come, and where I want to go.

Taylor Dayne in a red dress

Do you think a lot of women get stuck along the way and don’t know how to get unstuck?

Women always say “how, how, how?” Here’s how, girl! Ready? Take a pad and pen out and write down your passions, your purpose and intentions, and what you need to do to get there. Every day I write notes. I go through a legal pad a week! One of the greatest things you can do for yourself to find that inner voice is to write it down. And it has to come out of your heart as well as your head. You must write it down. Intentions are what inspire you, and capturing them on paper keeps you accountable. But when I meet women stuck in the how, stuck in a pattern — well, hell! It’s just a pattern!

It’s habits that become character traits that become who you are. So you have to take action to break those habits. You have to take action and break it down if you want to pursue your passion and be queen of where you’re going. It’s amazing what people have inside them, the energy when it kicks in. You have to get out of your own way, then you ultimately become part of your own process.

Why do you say that you lost your sh*t?

In my 30s I began to feel trapped, and really couldn’t grasp and understand fame. The losing of my sh*t happened when I knowingly walked away from my record deal and everything I’d worked for after I’d created this big career. I understood the hard work and enjoyed all the pleasures, but I was asking myself constantly: “Why am I in the game? What’s fanning the flame? What’s my purpose and passion?” Losing my sh*t was losing everything I’d created as an artist because I felt I wasn’t being truthful to who I was and what I wanted to do as an artist, and that felt very unsafe.

At that same time you also desperately wanted kids. Why surrogacy?

I had a fear of being trapped with a partner. I was doing tons of fertility treatments throughout my 30s, and I got to 39 and was lying on the doctor’s exam table crying, “I want a kid, I want a kid!” and this Trinidadian nurse said, “So have one. Hire a surrogate.” So I did, without a partner, and God just said, “Here’s two to love. You can deal with twins!”

What’s been your approach to aging well?

I’m an O blood type, and while I’m no doctor, I recommend everyone eat for their blood type and have knowledge on that, and track especially for hormone levels. I get my blood checked every three months for hormones and cortisol levels. My cortisol used to be through the roof. And I go to a doctor who treats athletes, because I’m an athlete, too, as a performer. But I think we should all live our lives as athletes — how they mentally as well as physically treat their bodies.

You also have to tackle bad bacteria in your gut. I take, like, 30 billion-count probiotic pills for gut health and digestion. And every day I make a magic potion of bone broth. I add turmeric and apple cider, collagen peptides, and MCT oil. I don’t do coffee. Soup for breakfast is way more nurturing. I feel great and my skin glows. 

Women our age have to create a daily regimen that works for them. Mine’s probably very different than yours, but it’s been a lifesaver.

Photos: Christopher Ameruoso

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