Actress and voiceover artist Taylor Love’s passion for performing blossomed at a young age while reenacting scenes from her favorite movies in her bedroom. With the help of her grandmother, Taylor secured her first agent and landed her first role at the age of four. Fast forward a few decades later to 2023, wherein Taylor is now poised to star as Sheila Boyd in the CTV Original comedy Shelved, opposite Lyndie Greenwood, Chris Sandiford, Paul Braunstein, Paloma Nuñez, Robin Duke, Dakota Ray Hebert and Varun Saranga.
From the mind of creator Anthony Q. Farrell, Shelved follows the staff at the Jameson Library in Toronto as they aim to keep the branch afloat while bypassing bureaucracy, underfunding and a lack of resources. Whacky workplace sitcom shenanigans ensue.
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Taylor about her role in Shelved, what audiences can expect, getting to improvise, working alongside comedy masters and more.
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This interview is condensed for length and clarity.
Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s your origin story? How did you get into acting?
Taylor Love: At about three or four years old, I would reenact movies in my bedroom. I was obsessed with Jurassic Park and would reenact scenes from that. My family lived close to each other, and I was very close to my grandma. She would say, “This child has to be on TV.” Then, she got me an agent somehow.
I did a commercial when I was about four. Then, I auditioned for a TV show called Soul Food. I got the role and was on that show for about four years. That was my stepping stone into the industry. I took a bit of a break in high school, even though my high school was a performing arts school. I studied drama and musical theater. Once I finished school, dabbled in other stuff for a minute, got a new agent and I’ve been with them ever since. Now, I’m an adult actor. That’s how I got here. All the credit goes to my grandma, for sure.
MM: Let’s talk about Shelved. Can you tell me what it’s about and how you got involved in the project?
TL: I got the audition from my agent, and it wasn’t even titled yet. So, it just said, “Untitled Anthony Q. Farrell Project.” I know who Anthony Q. Farrell is because he’s not only from Toronto, and I know him as someone who’s done great things, but he worked on all of Season 5 of The Office. I love The Office.
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My character is more grounded and far more mature than I am in any capacity. But I do the scene and submit the audition. I don’t hear anything. And I was like, “Great, onto the next one.” Don’t get too attached.
My Instagram was private then, so I got a follow request from Anthony Q. Farrell. And I got a DM from him on a Saturday saying, “Hey, so we’re going to offer you the role of Sheila. Are you available for the table read?” So, that’s how I got introduced to the project.
Shelved is about the Metro Public Library, specifically the Jameson branch. It’s about the lives of the employees and patrons in a publicly-funded space. Our particular branch is not as funded as other libraries in the city. It’s how we make do with what we have, how our specific community caters to those who visit our branch, and we take care of them. It’s a workplace sitcom. Shenanigans and chaos happen in and out of the library, especially with my character, who’s also doing a lot outside of the library. It’s a great example of why community is important and what we can do when we help each other.
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MM: How does your character, Sheila, fit into the story?
TL: She only works at the library part-time, and she works at the settlement desk. So, for people new to the country and immigrants, it’s a great first step in a publicly funded space to get resources and pamphlets, get pushed in the right direction, get set up and go where they need to go. She’s also a law student, but she’s juggling a handful of things on top of being an employee there. Sheila fits in because, once you watch the show, many of the characters are vibrant, dynamic and chaotic.
Sheila is very funny, but she’s far more grounded because she’s dealing with so much. She’s mature. She’s almost a straight woman without sounding too boring, [even though] she’s not boring at all. I think a lot of people will see themselves in her. Sheila’s a good representation of the everyday woman, especially in a multicultural city like Toronto. Many people of Caribbean descent are in Toronto, which is a huge part of my character and where we see her in the show.
MM: You mentioned that you’re not too similar to Sheila. How are you different from her?
TL: She’s very put together and caring. She’s on top of things. Sheila’s got a lot more going on in her personal life than I have experienced. This kind of comedy is my style, but I never saw myself playing this character. It was a challenge for me to tone it down a bit and not be too like my normal self, which is silly and bubbly.
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She’s serious, but she’s witty and funny, and it’s subtle. I had to practice and prepare for that because I’m loud, and I don’t think; I just do. I learned so much from her because of her composure in stressful situations at work. She’s dealing with a million other things on the back end. I’ve learned a lot from her: maintaining composure, keeping it together, being on the go and doing your best all around.
MM: Describe the series using three words.
TL: Communal. Hilarious. Real.
MM: What can audiences expect when watching Shelved?
TL: You will be exposed to an environment you might not know well. I’ve been to public libraries before but didn’t spend much time [in them]. Thanks to our fantastic writers, there’s so much hilarious dialogue from all the characters. They’re going to remind you of people you know in real life.
Expect to see Toronto on full display. Toronto is a great city for film and television to shoot in, but we do double as many cities, like Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Very few shows authentically set themselves in Toronto. This is not only just Toronto, but a specific neighborhood in Toronto called Parkdale. If you’re around Parkdale or know Parkdale, you know what that means. It’s a show based on real people in a real community. I think the universal themes of friendship, community and optimism are prevalent throughout the season. Audiences will love the Jameson branch. We love an underdog.
MM: What was it like working on a comedy of this nature? Was there room for improv in the script?
TL: 100 percent. So many strong comedic actors are a part of this cast. Even in the table reads, we were bouncing off one another. With the great writers we have, the script was so good there wasn’t a need to improv, but we felt safe enough to do it and that it wouldn’t stray from what we were trying to get across. One of my co-stars, Paul Braunstein, who plays Bryce, is one of those human beings you can’t be around without giggling or laughing because everything he says and does is so funny. The hardest thing was not breaking during a take.
Another person I spent a ton of time shooting with is Chris Sandiford, who plays Howard, and he is an improv master. Howard’s character babbles a bit and always goes off on these tangents. With Chris, every take was different. And I’m like, “Where are you getting his material?” I love that I could improvise too, especially with my character, who, as I said, is a little more grounded and not as in-your-face funny, but there’s still room for me to play and flex my comedic muscles, which I enjoyed.
MM: What part of the acting process do you love the most?
TL: It took me a long time to find my process and not get in my head over what works and what doesn’t. If that person’s doing what I’m doing and it works for them, it’s none of my business. With the process I’ve set for myself, there is a moment when it clicks, and it feels good. I remember that feeling when I auditioned for the show and was a little more carefree. I wasn’t taking it too seriously. As much as I appreciated who was making the show, it was another audition. You can’t get too attached.
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I approached it like, “Let me kill this, have fun, have a great audition and be on my way.” That affirmation of knowing I did my best — I’m happy, it felt good and I felt that magic. In this case, that’s how it went. It made my process fun. It’s touching to know my choices work for someone else.
MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?
TL: I have an animated show I’ve been working on since the spring of 2020, and it finally premiered last year. It’s still ongoing, and it’s called Summer Memories. I play a character named Joanna, who is an 11-year-old. She’s feisty and honest; she plays soccer, and she really is me. Whenever I’m in a session, I’m reminded, “Wow, this is the closest we can get to Taylor being in an animated show.”
We recently got picked up in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. I’m hoping that means good news for us for a second season. In Canada, you can watch it on Family Channel. It’s a great animated show about the funnest summer of your life, the memories you don’t want to forget when you’re 11, and life is great.
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MM: Have you watched anything interesting lately?
TL: I’ve been watching The Last of Us. I’m a huge video game buff. It was shot in Calgary, so what’s stopping me from going to Calgary? I’ve played the game, at this point, probably four or five times because you have to if you want to platinum it on PlayStation and get all the trophies, which I’ve done. They’re straying from the game, but it works. I love it and know what will happen, but I’m still crying half the time after an episode finishes.
MM: Name your top five favorite films.
TL: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Outsiders. Jurassic Park. Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The Wizard of Oz.
MM: Taylor, thank you so much for chatting with me today!
TL: Thank you, Melody!
You can follow Taylor on Instagram (@tlovvvve). Shelved premieres on March 6 at 9:30 pm EST on CTV.
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