Tayla Schaffner

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Tayla Schaffner 5Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the streets of Los Angeles, homegrown honey, Tayla Schaffner is on the fast track to international stardom.

Growing up with an immense passion for the spotlight, Tayla has been entertaining audiences from a young age. The South African aspiring actress has grown from strength to strength, and evolved from amusing her parents and family  friends in their Johannesburg home to entertaining mass audiences at The Majorie S. Theater in Times Square.

It all started with a childhood dream.

Looking back, Tayla recalls being a huge fan of The Lion King. She would run around her childhood home pretending to be the great Rifiki, using her thumb to stroke the foreheads of obliging bystanders and reciting the words: “Remember who you are.” It was the beginning of a daring imagination and a lifelong fascination with the art of performance.

As with most aspiring actors her age, Tayla would go on to join the school drama club, teaching her the very basics of performance. It was however, her natural talent that shone brightest. She went on to join the Trinity Guild Hall Drama, culminating in a Grade 8 Trinity Certificate and, by age 17, she had attained her full colours in Drama.

Sadly, for many, this is where the journey ends. While Tayla had imagined furthering her studies in drama at the likes of UCT, it turns out fate had another plan. Six months before her high school graduation, her drama teacher suggested she attend an acting audition for a full based talent scholarship to the New York Film Academy and before she knew it, her dream was a reality. Bags packed and ready to go, the 18-year-old aspiring actress, still unscathed to the world, jetted off to New York City for the remarkable chance at an international education.

Over her two-year journey at the school, Tayla was cast in a total of 17 student directed films, including the Off-Broadway Production of Antigone by Sophocles in which she played the lead at The Majorie S. Theater in Times Square. “It was unbelievable,” she says. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself how lucky I am.”

Luck, however, was only a small part of it and much of her success is owed to her hard work and dedication and the wilful support of loved ones. After she received her Two Year Conservatory Diploma at the New York Film Academy, Tayla was adamant to further her studies and obtain her Bachelors of Fine Arts. So with the support of her family, Tayla once again packed her bags and moved across country to Los Angeles – home to many of the world’s biggest Hollywood stars.

Here, Tayla was awarded the role of the first female Scar in Simmie Sangian’s adaptation of The Lion King, Circle Of Life. A musical that had played a major role in her childhood years and her passion for the arts, this was a dream come true and a pinnacle moment in Tayla’s career.

It was also here that the youngster began to dabble in production and wrote the award-winning short film, When It Rains, directed by Kellen Gibbs. Whether this will mean a clean break from the world of acting is still uncertain at this point, as Tayla continues to shape her craft in both her production and performance roles.


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