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Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor talks motherhood and her cameo in Kanye West’s ‘Fade’ video

She’s loving her post-baby body, and we are too

Teyana Taylor is having one heck of a year.

In less than 12 months, the 25-year-old embarked on a successful multicity tour, got engaged to Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert and gave birth to the couple’s first child, Iman “Junie” Tayla Shumpert Jr.

She became the living embodiment of “having it all” — the theory developed and popularized in the early 1980s by former Cosmopolitan magazine Editor-in-Chief Helen Gurley Brown — which proclaimed that the modern woman could balance career, sex, love and money with ease.

Yet, according to Taylor, that’s not always a reality. Admittedly, she’s a work in progress. “I feel like the world makes us women feel like we have to be on a certain pedestal, and that’s not the case at all.”

During the MTV Video Music Awards, which aired on Aug. 28, Taylor delivered a brilliant Flashdance-inspired solo dance routine in Kanye West’s Fade video. To which the Harlem, New York, native noted, “I don’t know why he randomly chose me as the lead or what idea Kanye initially had in his head.

“We were all in the [recording] studio just talking, and he congratulated Iman on his [NBA] championship win, and we started planning from there,” recalled Taylor, who is an artist on West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label.

“He said that he thinks my friendship with Iman and our love for one another is really dope. I think that was part of his overall vision. I went back into my recording room, and just 30 minutes later one of my [managers] called and was like, ‘Hey, Ye wants you to be in his video for Fade.’ Of course, I was all in.”

That bond between Taylor and Shumpert was also projected in the visuals. One scene in particular transformed her into a lioness (feline face and all), posing alongside her fiancé and baby. “The image [from the video] showed a lioness protecting her family. There’s definitely something strong and powerful about that as a whole,” she added.

Her fierce movements, bold choreography and overall badassness sent the social media world into a frenzy. And her svelte body became the main topic of conversation.

Everyone wanted to know how she achieved her chiseled physique, especially having given birth to baby Junie just eight months before. Much to our surprise, Taylor openly admitted that she’s not a fan of going the gym or other traditional forms of working out. She also doesn’t follow a strict diet at all. Instead, she uses one of her passions to keep her in shape.

“Dance is my form of exercise. That’s literally all I do. There’s no running. There’s nothing special. Just dance. I really think that people underestimate [the art form] as a workout. And it’s done my body good,” she explained. “I toured until I was about four months pregnant. Probably almost halfway through my [gestation], I stopped dancing and took a break to have Junie.”

She is also athletic by nature, adding, “I love sports. From streetball to football, we played it all growing up. And almost everyone in Harlem thinks they can play basketball.”

Although Taylor was born with an athletic frame, it took her quite some time to be completely comfortable in her skin. When she arrived on the music scene in 2007 at just 16 years old (she was formerly signed to Pharrell Williams’ Star Trak Entertainment group), she fashioned herself a “tomboy.”

Oversized jeans, loose-fitting shirts and high-top sneakers were her wardrobe staples. She didn’t want her sexuality to define her, but rather her talents.

Fast-forward, nine years later, she’s evolved into a woman who is self-aware and confident in her personal appearance. “It went from just always loving to wear Air Jordans to knowing that I look good in a cut-off shirt,” Taylor said with a giggle. “I became a mom, and as a person, I’ve changed a lot. I feel like I’m becoming a better me.

“I want to inspire other new mothers. However, I don’t want them to feel like, ‘I have to be on this treadmill for a whole hour to get this body,’ based on what they see in the media.”

Read more at espnW.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.