by MICHELLE WARD
Lavish yacht parties, swanky hotels, jet-setting around the globe—a lifestyle many desire and few achieve. For international model Linda Taylor, that life almost never came.
“I always thought I was going to finish my nuclear-physics studies and work for NASA one day,” says Taylor, who is repped by L.A. Models. The space program is going to have to wait because the leggy stunner is busy gracing the pages of magazines, starring in major fashion campaigns and walking the catwalk in places like Paris and Milan for such top designers as Gianfranco Ferré, Versace and Donna Karan.
After being discovered at the University of Bucharest in her native Romania, Taylor—who is fluent in five languages—quickly made a name for herself, most recently appearing in fashion spreads for Guess and designer Sue Wong. But the road to the top was not an easy one. Growing up in communist Romania, Taylor saw deeply deprived children all around her and hoped one day to be able to help them. “For me, I knew the hard times were temporary and that everything was solvable,” says Taylor. “My grandparents always tried to accommodate me the best they could. I felt lucky and really blessed, but other kids around me weren’t, and to this day many of them still aren’t.” The experience served as the foundation for Taylor’s commitment to humanitarian efforts including Unicef, for which she received a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Even after Taylor appeared on one of the most notorious US landmarks—a Times Square billboard (for a Sue Wong campaign)—the model remains humble. “I like to remain grounded,” she says. “What keeps me going all the time is knowing I can do better.”
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.