Boss Talk with Sports Journalist Taylor Rooks

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Meet Taylor Rooks, inspirational Sports Journalist who is paving the way for other women in the industry with her legendary interview with athletes like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.


Photographer Kevin Jude

HerStyle Media: So Taylor let our readers know what you're about! What's a day in the life of Taylor Rooks?


Taylor Rooks: I don't even know what a day in the life of Taylor Rooks is! Haha it changes everyday, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the unpredictability of my schedule, it is great to always have new adventures and new things to get done. When sports are in season, I have to go to class, then go to football and/or basketball practice.


Then I tape for about 2 hours, then help with the editing of the tape. When I get home, I am usually calling recruits to do interviews and write more stories. Then I have to research the game coming up that week, so that I know everything about both teams that I will be reporting on. I also travel a lot,


I attend every Illinois home and away game, for both sports. I also freelance for other networks, so I am very rarely in Champaign. I am pretty much always working, or thinking about working.


But I also listen to a lot of music, I read a lot of books, and I always make time to watch old episodes of "The Wire."


Oh, and I also have homework.


HerStyle Media: We know how much of a sports fanatic you are, and how passionate you are when it comes to your craft. When did you realize sports were your passion?


Taylor Rooks: Sports has pretty much always been my passion. I grew up in a sports family, so I had no other choice! My dad played football at the University of Illinois, and my uncle is a STL Cardinals Hall of Famer. I, sadly, didn't get the athletic genes. So I dropped the ball, and picked up a microphone. I have always loved the idea of interviewing and storytelling.


I love competition, so sports has just always interested me. The idea of people working diligently to perfect their athletic ability is inspiring, and all sportsmen have a story to be told - I enjoy bringing that to the forefront. I think it is important for viewers to see the game in various ways, and I feel so lucky that I am able to provide that for people. I remember being a little kid watching anchors at the news desk, and they looked so credible, so smart, so beautiful, and so talented. I just remember thinking "I can do that. I will do that."


I love competition, so sports has just always interested me. The idea of people working diligently to perfect their athletic ability is inspiring, and all sportsmen have a story to be told - I enjoy bringing that to the forefront.



HerStyle Media: Who introduced you to the sports industry?


Taylor Rooks: My family definitely introduced me to the sports industry. However, I was introduced to the media and business side of it by Fox Sports. They hired me as a reporting intern when I was 19 years old, and I have been working for them ever since. I have great bosses, and they have really groomed me and helped me improve in all aspects of the job. I have also been fortunate to have great mentors in my life...Fletcher Page, Larry Smith, Stephen Bardo, Robin Roberts, and the list goes on.


HerStyle Media: What would you say your favorite interview is this far, and with whom?


Taylor Rooks: That is a tough question! I have favorite interviews for different reasons. Interviewing Lebron James and Kobe Bryant will always be my favorites, because they were my first really big time interviews. I got to interview my dad, Thomas Rooks, once and that will always be dear to me. I enjoyed interviewing Royce White, because we just spoke about such great content. We talked about his journey to the NBA and the issues he has had to battle with due to his mental health, so that one also means a lot to me. I have had opportunities to interview some really great people, and ask some great questions. It is hard to pick just one!


HerStyle Media: Being around big time athletes like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, and interviewing them one on one, how do you contain your composure? Is it something that comes naturally or have you learned over time?


Taylor Rooks: Being able to maintain your composure is a key part to being a sportscaster. You can never act like a fan. As a sportscaster, you are their equal. You are someone that is working with them, not someone who is beneath them. So it is important to never act starstruck. Kobe Bryant is literally my absolute favorite player of all-time to ever ever ever exist......but he doesn't know that. An interview should just feel like a really great conversation. I never went through a phase of being nervous around athletes or in front of the camera, but it takes getting used to. Being able to keep your composure and maintain that camaraderie comes with time, but all great things come in time.


Interviewing Lebron James and Kobe Bryant will always be my favorites, because they were my first really big time interviews.

HerStyle Media: What's Taylor's key to balancing being a sport broadcaster, a full time student, staying in tune with your social life and much more?


Taylor Rooks: I just think it is important to know what is important. Maintaining balance is about maintaining priorities. It can be really, really challenging at times. Sometimes I miss school......sometimes I miss a lot of school. But I just remember that I am in school in order to do what I am doing now, so I can't let it interfere. Someone once said "don't let going to school get in the way of learning." That is very true.


But I love school, and I love learning, so my education is still a priority. I have a 3.4, but it's been a challenge to maintain. Time management is key. However, learn from my mistakes! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what I do, and that is something I am working on. Love what you do, but don't let it completely consume you. That's why focusing on school and family and friends is so important.


And a social life? What is that? Haha just kidding, but I really don't have a big social life. I am able to go out sometimes, but not too much. I have a very tight and close knit circle, but I barely see them. And all of my friends are also very busy and pursuing their dreams, so it is hard to coordinate. I haven't seen my best friend Kalyn in about a month, and she lives next door! It is hard for me to have romantic relationships, because I just don't have time. Right now I'm just focusing on what I love, and who I love will come in it's own time.


HerStyle Media: As you know we are big on fashion here at HerStyle! Give us a run down of your wardrobe attire when you're on the job?


Taylor Rooks: I love television fashion! I definitely have some trademark dresses and staple outfits in my closet. I love sheath dresses, and A-line dresses. Sheath dresses flatter my body really well, they aren't too loose, so you look very tailored and very polished on camera. I only wear clothes that are fitted at the top, because that's what shows on air. I have brown skin, so I am a winter palette. I wear lots of reds, deep reds like ruby. I also do sapphires, and blues. Those really flatter my skin. I also love thrifting, because vintage clothes are my theme. I love classic silhouettes. You get great finds at such a cheap price.


In basketball season, I am walking on the court, so I have a plethora of heels. I love my Vince Camuto strappy black heels, and my Michall Kors nude heels. I do a lot of walking, so they have to be comfortable, but still stylish. Those work great. However, during football season, I am walking on grass or turf, so I have some cute flats. Steve Madden and Vince Camuto makes great flat shoes.

Always dress for the job you want, not the job you have!


HerStyle Media: What advice can you give others who want to achieve the amount of success you have within your field, but don't quite know what steps to take?

Believe in yourself. Never doubt your abilities. The worst thing you can do is sleep on yourself. Constantly work, and you will achieve anything possible.

Taylor Rooks: My biggest advice would be to know that you have no limits. I truly believe that if you think you can do it, you can do it. Don't ever let your goals be limits. If you think you can only talk about basketball, then you will only talk about basketball. Expand your limits to football, baseball, soccer, hockey, etc....don't ever limit yourself. If you think you have boundaries, then you are your own boundary.


Whenever you have the opportunity to go to an event, go! Build up your video resume reel with stand-ups, interviews, live shots, anything that shows your experience and what you can do. Once you have a video reel together, begin a blog or a youtube channel..always get your stuff out there. The internet is a huge networking tool.


Believe in yourself. Never doubt your abilities. The worst thing you can do is sleep on yourself. Constantly work, and you will achieve anything possible.

Stay Connected with Taylor:

@taylorrooks

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