INTERVIEW: DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Taylor Spreitler

Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Taylor Spreitler made her entre’ into the entertainment business at the age of six when she won a statewide talent and beauty contest. Afterwards, she and her Mom were quickly approached by several agents from New York and the following summer Taylor, her mother and big sister “Sam” hit the bright lights of New York City. Spreitler’s first venture in show business was print worked on ads for Saks 5th Avenue, Macy’s, Lands End, Avon, McCalls Brides, Parents Magazine and Junior Magazine while landing the cover of Child Magazine.

After spending a few summers modeling Spreitler expressed a desire to try acting. A natural, she booked her first audition, a national campaign for Motrin. It didn’t take long before she started being booked for JIF, Hess Oil, Chuck E. Cheese, Pedicare, and a few others. Spreitler’s most notable appearance was a guest-starring role on LAW & ORDER: SVU.

In addition to acting, Spreitler is also known for being an accomplished singer. She sang before a world-wide audience during a pre-game show for the AXA Liberty Bowl on ESPN.

In January of this year, she debuted as pregnant teen Mia on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

The talented young actress recently spoke with We Love Soaps about her busy career, her role as Mia on DAYS and what her dreams are for the future.

We Love Soaps: You've had quite a busy life in the entertainment industry so far. What did the agents say to you after you won that first talent and beauty contest in Mississippi?
Taylor Spreitler: There were scouts there from a modeling agency in New York and they told me I should go to New York and try modeling. I did, and things kind of all started from there.

We Love Soaps: Did you actually move to New York at that point?
Taylor Spreitler: We went back and forth, and we stayed there for an extended amount of time. I guess we kind of lived there for a while. It almost turned more into us visiting Mississippi and living in New York.

We Love Soaps: That was wonderful of your parents to go along with that.
Taylor Spreitler: Definitely. I'm very blessed. A lot of parents probably would not have done that, but my parents were down for it. Thank God.

We Love Soaps: Did your parents grow up in Mississippi?
Taylor Spreitler: Yes.

We Love Soaps: You did a lot of print ads at first and then you did commercial work. What was that like being so young in front of the camera?
Taylor Spreitler: I did a lot of print work for Macy's, Lands End and stuff like that. Before I started all this I thought commercials were filmed live, and I was like, 'Man, that has to be a tough job.' I didn't know any better. And then I figured out how everything worked and said, 'This is a lot different than I thought it was.'

We Love Soaps: When did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?
Taylor Spreitler: It was always a thought in the back of my head. When I was a little girl, I played dress up and my older sister and her friends would play my mom. We used to go around the neighborhood as if I was going to different places and I would play different characters. It turned into me wanted to play dress up every day professionally. So I started the talent competitions and worked hard to do it. As soon as I got the opportunity, I took it and ran, and it was a definite thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

We Love Soaps: Is your sister in the business as well?
Taylor Spreitler: She actually did an audition with me one time. They were like, 'You're supposed to have a sibling and no one is here so why don't you bring your sister in?' She walked out and said, 'That was the most embarrassing thing I've ever done. I can't do that.' It's weird because she's more outgoing than I am and she's hilarious. I figured she would love it but she said, 'That's your thing. It's not for me.' So she does music, and she's an artist.

We Love Soaps: Are your parents creative types as well?
Taylor Spreitler: My dad has ideas everywhere, and always has a pen and paper writing down stuff he wants to do. My sister and I are the same way, always thinking of something to do. So they are, but never took it to the point that my sister and I did.

We Love Soaps: It's nice that they recognized your talent right away.
Taylor Spreitler: They were probably thinking, 'Hmm, how did this happen. We have two girls who want to move to New York and then move to L.A.' instead of just growing up in Mississippi. Obviously there were times I thought this might not happen, but I would keep telling myself it would. I was always pushing myself to go to the next level.

We Love Soaps: You've done a lot of commercials. Do you one that was your favorite or maybe a most memorable moment during one of the commercials?
Taylor Spreitler: I'm sure I did a whole bunch of things that were embarrassing. [Laughs] I don't remember a lot from some of them because I was so young, and still overwhelmed by all of it. But I did do a Chuck E. Cheese commercial which was really fun. I knew the kids because we ran into each other at auditions all the time. We pretty much just played games and ate pizza all day and when we were finished we got to turn in our tickets and get prizes. It was a dream job for a kid.

We Love Soaps: At what point did you move to Los Angeles?
Taylor Spreitler: I was in New York and then I came back home for a bit and then I decided to go to L.A. because I wanted to do more TV and film. I moved to L.A. probably about a year and a half ago, and now I pretty much live there permanently because of the show. It's my mom, my sister and my sister's best friend who is pretty much like my brother.

We Love Soaps: How did your role on DAYS OF OUR LIVES come about? Were you auditioning specifically for the role of Mia?
Taylor Spreitler: I was auditioning for that part, but they had me reading for another role because they didn't want to release anything about the character. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into but I wasn't exactly sure. When I read for the other character, she was pregnant, but I didn't think my actual character would be pregnant. I was kind of shocked when I walked into wardrobe when I saw bellies lying there.

We Love Soaps: What was your audition like?
Taylor Spreitler: I have to give major props to the casting director at DAYS, Marnie Saitta. I've worked with a lot of casting directors and she is amazing. She gets into it. It's like working with another actor. She was straight up and honest with me and didn't sugar coat anything and told me what I needed to change. When I got the call back I remembered everything she told me and went in there and did. She walked up to me afterward and said, 'You did a really good job.' A lot of casting directors tell you that but it was the way she said it, and I felt so good about that audition. I thought, 'This might be it.' The only thing I was worried about was that everybody was older than me. They were all like 18, which is a lot easier to work with. I was scared I wouldn't book it because I was too young. But I booked it!

We Love Soaps: Had you watched DAYS or any other soaps before?
Taylor Spreitler: I watched ALL MY CHILDREN when I lived in New York because I had a friend who played Colby on it. I watched it when she was on. My grandparents watched soap operas and I knew some people who watched but I never really paid attention to them. I watched a couple of episodes of DAYS when I found out I got the call back but I guess I wasn't a soap opera person. Which is funny because now that I'm on one, I watch pretty much every soap opera every day to see what else is going on.

We Love Soaps: I feel really old because you were barely born when Marlena was possessed by the devil on DAYS.
Taylor Spreitler: [Laughs] I watched clips from it on YouTube and clips from the 80s and stuff.

We Love Soaps: Your character, Mia, has been through a lot on the show already.
Taylor Spreitler: I always say, 'I never know what's going to happen to me.' I remember when they sent Mia to Japan to be a dancer. I thought, 'Oh great, I guess they're writing me off.' Then they called me back and I realized you never know what soap operas are going to do.

We Love Soaps: What did your parents think about you starring on a soap opera as a pregnant teen?
Taylor Spreitler: My dad said, 'What could make me more proud - my daughter is 16, homeless and pregnant.' They kind of knew from the get-go that I could play a drug addict or something intense like that. Those are the parts I was good at, where I had to go somewhere in myself, and get myself completely out of my head. I was never good at the Disney stuff. I could never be that animated and have that much energy. So they kind of expected it to happen but thought, 'Oh, your grandparents are going to love this.' I think my grandparents had the hardest time with it. But they are all so proud and happy that it finally happened.

We Love Soaps: What has been your favorite thing about working on DAYS?
Taylor Spreitler: I love everything about it. I love working there. I never wanted to be an actress to be famous. I wanted attention for doing a good job and doing my work well. So [I'm happy with] the fact that I'm working on a show that has so many history, with so many great actors that started out on it. It's such an amazing cast and crew. We have Gary Tomlin, who is amazing and on our set all the time and there to support us, and Ken Corday, who is absolutely amazing. I could not have asked for a better opportunity in my career, especially to start out and the first thing I do is DAYS OF OUR LIVES where everybody knows what it is.

We Love Soaps: I hate to break it to you, but I have a sneaking suspicion you just might be very famous someday.
Taylor Spreitler: [Laughs] Well, I wouldn't hate it. That would be cool. But if I was famous, I wouldn't want it to be from one thing that blew up. I want would it to be because I worked and pushed myself and was always doing something. Otherwise, I don't know what I would do with myself.

We Love Soaps: The show has cast a lot of good younger actors this year and put the focus on the next generation. How does it feel to be part of such a major storyline on the show?
Taylor Spreitler: I didn't really know what to expect when I first started, but it was great to be part of the baby storyline, and now I have the whole teenage love story. It was cool to have that transition to start out with something so heavy and an awful situation to being a teenager and having Will, and Chad back, and dealing with Kenzie. I'm having so much fun. Shelby Young [Kinsey] has been my best friend six I was six or seven. We lived together in New York. We have definitely had our Kinsey and Mia moments in real life.

We Love Soaps: What's it like working with Dylan Patton (Will) and Casey Deidrick (Chad)?
Taylor Spreitler: Casey was one of my best friends even before he started on the show. I love him to death. The first day I met Dylan we were so scared of each other because we didn't know how the other person was. But as soon as we sat down and talked to each other, we became best friends instantly. The four of us go to eat at Poquito Mas or Taco Bell after work and hang out in Hollywood to buy posters for our dressing rooms. I am having a blast.

We Love Soaps: Are you taking classes during the day while working on the show? How does the whole school thing work?
Taylor Spreitler: I'm homeschooled and I have a teacher on set. It helps me to have someone to push me to do my school work because I would put it off as long as I possibly coule until somebody yells at me for it. [Laughs]

We Love Soaps: What would you like to see happen to Mia in the future?
Taylor Spreitler: Hmmm. I want her to find out about the baby and her and Nicole to have a fight scene. I want them to throw down! I would like her to be okay with Chad. They could be more fun if she wasn't fighting with him all the time. And I want her to end up with will. I want her find out about everything and deal with it all and finally put her past behind her and start over. And then something big and shocking will happen!

We Love Soaps: You had make out scenes with Chad in the back seat of a car. What did your dad thing about that?
Taylor Spreitler: [Laughs] I told my dad and grandfather they had to cover their eyes or they weren't allowed to watch the show that day. It wasn't that bad, but he was okay with it. He did watch it, and then he texted me, 'I don't like Chad.' I told Casey and he said, 'Your dad hates me?' And I told him, 'No, he hates Chad.'

We Love Soaps: In addition to acting, you're also a great singer. Is music something you would like to pursue at some point?
Taylor Spreitler: My mom and I were actually talking about this the other day. I think that would be so much fun, to be able to record a record and perform on stage. But I took a break from singing when I started acting, and I get nervous now when I sing in front of people. But I am taking voice lessons and I'm trying to get my confidence built back up. I would love to do it.

We Love Soaps: Are you getting recognized by fans now?
Taylor Spreitler: The fans are all so nice. People will walk up to me and say, 'You're doing a great job.' I love soap fans. They are the best fans ever.

We Love Soaps: Are there other actresses whose work you admire?
Taylor Spreitler: I love Ellen Page's work. I love how she's dry about everything and is comfortable with what she does.

We Love Soaps: What are your long-term goals in the industry?
Taylor Spreitler: At this point, I wouldn't mind being on DAYS for a while and see where it takes me. I don't care what I do, movies, TV, DAYS or any other soap opera, as long as I'm working. As long as I'm doing a part that I love and I'm comfortable and it's keeping me on my toes, I'll be happy.

We Love Soaps: My final question may be the most important one. We recently posted pictures of you and your dog, Pearl, and I have to find out more about her. She is adorable and quite the snappy dresser. Might she go into show business?
Taylor Spreitler: [Laughs] She's crazy! I'm sure she could be [in the business]. If you say, 'Bang,' she will roll over and play dead. My sister and I got her in Mississippi and wanted a little dog. Pearl is the type of dog that if you had a bad day, you just go to her and she will cheer you up. I remember one day I had a bad day and was crying and she laid on my chest and licked the tears off my face. It was so sweet. I have a German Shepherd in Mississippi who is a house dog. When we first got Pearl, she was really scared because she was so little, and she would curl up in my German Shepherd's tail and go to sleep. She would be the best dog to go into show business but how do you do that?

We Love Soaps: Take her to the set of DAYS and ask them to cast her! She could like Will and bark at Chad.
Taylor Spreitler: She loves Dylan! If he's at my apartment, she'll run over and lay on his lap. He'll start playing with her and she'll lick his face. I'll tell Pearl you said such nice things about her!

We Love Soaps: Thank you so much, Taylor, it was been a real pleasure.
Taylor Spreitler: Thank you so much!

Photo Credits: JPI Studios, Mathew Imaging, Kevin Parry

RELATED:
- You can hear an excerpt of this interview on "We Love Soaps Radio" - Episode #3

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