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The Untold Truth Of Eliza Taylor

Eliza Taylor is perhaps best known for her role as Clarke on The CW's dystopian young adult sci-fi series, "The 100," where she played a badass bisexual young woman who becomes an unexpected leader of a post-apocalyptic group of survivors who land on Earth. Her character's strength and resourcefulness resonated with fans across the board as Taylor's portrayal of Clarke offered a breath of fresh air in the genre. Clark was strong but emotional, someone just trying to protect the people she loved and a caretaker you didn't ever want to mess with.

Clarke is a bit of a far cry from Taylor's original television roots, as she started out as a child star who then made her way into the world of soap operas. It's this versatility that makes her stand out as she brings charisma and power to all of her roles. You can bet that if you see Taylor on screen, her character will never be what she seems; there's always something deeper below the surface. Whether you've been on Team Clarke since day one of "The 100" or are just discovering this talented actress, read on to find the untold truth of Eliza Taylor.

She's a born and raised Aussie

You might not know it if you watch "The 100," but Eliza Taylor is an Australian through and through. Don't let her amazing American accent fool you: Taylor grew up in Melbourne and made a name for herself in her homeland first before crossing the Pacific to the United States. In fact, Taylor is so good at hiding her accent that she worked as a dialect coach while living in Australia. She told The Age about the ease of speaking in an American accent until she got on set: "Doing a heated scene where you're yelling and screaming, it's amazing how quickly your own accent slips out. And you're like, 'Oh, my students would be so disappointed in me.'" 

While it may seem like Taylor has acting in her blood since she got started at such a young age (more on that below), as she said in an interview with Perfect Blend, her family isn't really in the industry: "My stepdad was a stand-up comedian in Australia but apart from that my mom's an author and graphic designer and my dad used to own cafes around Melbourne." Although she comes from a creative family where everyone expresses themselves in different ways, when it came to the realm of acting, Taylor had to set out on her own.

She started acting as a kid

While Taylor has been acting for most of her life, it's not something that she always wanted to do. She told ESPN that her mother decided to enroll her in acting class when she was 11 because she was a "shy, strange little child" and could get socialized a bit more. In fact, Taylor originally wanted to be a marine biologist because she was "infatuated with sea life and conservation of the reefs and mammals" (via Perfect Blend), but her oceanic dreams soon shifted to acting as she started to go out on auditions.

When she was 14, she got a lead role in the Australian children's series, "Pirate Islands," about a group of kids who get magically trapped inside of a computer game. "Pirate Islands" launched Taylor's career as it got her an agent and more parts. As she noted to ESPN, "I was tutored on set, which was a strange way to grow up, but I loved it. Being on set feels like home." Clearly, Taylor found her path with acting and it would soon lead her to one of Australia's biggest TV series.

She became a soap star

The soap opera "Neighbours" is in some ways the Australian equivalent of the "Mickey Mouse Club," as many actors get their start on the show when they're young. It's almost a rite of passage to be on "Neighbours": just ask Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth, or Kylie Minogue (and the list goes on and on). Eliza Taylor is no different, as she first appeared in a guest role as the sexually active teen bride, Janae Timmons, which quickly turned into a series regular spot.

Taylor spent three years on "Neighbours" and was nominated for various soap opera awards for her turn as Janae. However, she decided to leave the show when producers replaced the actors playing her on-screen family. As she told Perfect Blend, she quit "Neighbours" because "it just didn't feel like the family that I joined when I started three years ago." She added that she wasn't excited to wake up for work anymore, which made her realize it was time to move on. While Taylor wished for a "massive death scene" for her character, she was just given a nice goodbye wave instead.

She got typecast because of Neighbours

While "Neighbours" opened doors for Taylor, she found it was a double-edged sword while auditioning. In an interview with Starburst magazine, Taylor noted that she struggled to make people see her outside of her "Neighbours" role when she went on auditions in Australia: "People couldn't separate me from my character, I was typecast, which is an actor's worst nightmare. I was Janae and they wouldn't cast me in anything else because they didn't want people to see Janae." Ultimately, Taylor decided to leave Australia to pursue opportunities elsewhere, where she might not be so strongly associated with her soap opera character.

In the same interview, Taylor described going to the U.K. and U.S., where her time on "Neighbours" helped rather than hindered. Ironically, she recalled, people in the U.K. were bigger fans of "Neighbours" than those in Australia, so they were excited to see her come in to read. Meanwhile, she found that people in the U.S. were more impressed by the fact that she spent several years on a TV show than the show itself: "They think 'Great, she's got experience,' so it works in your favor in the States certainly. It's not what you've done but the fact you've done it." Thanks to this more positive reception of her resume, Taylor decided to move to Los Angeles to see what opportunities awaited her there.

She was about to leave LA when she got The 100

When Taylor arrived in LA, she was ready to get her hands dirty and put herself out there like all the other actors in Hollywood. However, life in the U.S. proved more difficult than anticipated and nearly drove her back home. She told Starburst, "I'd been living in LA for about a month and my credit card was stolen and all my money was taken ... and I was ready to pack my bags and go back to Australia because I didn't know how I was going to survive in LA any longer." Just as she was about to give up, she got a call from her manager that the producers of a new TV show, "The 100," had seen an audition she'd put on tape months before for a film. They loved what they saw and called Taylor to come in.

Taylor read the script for "The 100" the night before going in to read for the producers. She loved the script and got the role of Clarke without having officially auditioned for the part, soon finding herself en route to Vancouver to shoot the pilot. It sounds like the stars were aligned for Taylor and "The 100" — we can't imagine anyone else taking on the role of Clarke.

Clarke is a historic character

While the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror have a long history of strong female lead roles, the history of LGBTQ female lead characters is shorter. Clarke had the distinction of being the first bisexual lead on a CW TV series, which made this already unique character even more so. Taylor discussed Clarke's bisexuality with Entertainment Weekly, saying, "People want to be loved and need connection to survive in this world, and whether that comes from a man or a woman doesn't really matter." However, "The 100" came under fire when Clarke's female love interest, Lexa, got killed after the two of them connected romantically. 

Fans were upset that "The 100" adhered to the "bury your gays" trope of killing off queer characters instead of pursuing more positive storylines (LGBTQ characters die at a higher rate than straight ones). Jason Rothenberg, creator of "The 100," acknowledged the insensitivity of the decision in an open letter, while Taylor described the experience to ESPN: "It was a crazy time to be on social media," she remarked, adding that she still considered it "an absolute honor" to play the first bisexual lead on a network television program. While Lexa's death was a significant example of a real and damaging trope, Clarke was also a powerful representation for those who don't often see themselves on screen.

She loved playing Clarke (and Josephine too)

To date, Clarke is the character that Taylor has played for the longest amount of time ("The 100" ran for seven seasons) and perhaps her ability to stay with the role that long stemmed from her love of the character. Taylor told Starburst that Clarke was a "very strong female lead" who was both fearless and considerate, as she always thought of other people before herself. After playing the "blonde ditzy girl one too many times," Taylor was "really proud" to play a strong female character, "setting an example and perhaps even being a role model." Clarke was a complicated character who offers Taylor much to work with, and this became particularly clear with the arrival of Josephine.

Josephine's consciousness was implanted into Clarke's body, which offered Taylor the challenge of playing someone who seemed to be like Clarke but wasn't at all. In an interview with TV Guide, Taylor described Josephine as "more sociopathic" than Clarke. She noted that "getting to play someone who is manipulative and deceitful was actually a delight" and in comparison to Clarke, who hardly ever put herself first, "it was really nice to play someone who really doesn't give a crap." Taylor's navigation of two very different characters inhabiting the same body paid off, as Josephine allowed her and viewers to see sides of Clarke that hadn't been shown before.

She secretly married her 100 co-star

Fans of "The 100" are particularly enthusiastic when it comes to love on the show as they've shipped various couples on the series. To "ship" means to passionately desire for two characters to get together, either on screen or in real life. There were "The 100" Clexa (Clarke and Lexa) shippers, who were angry and devastated following Lexa's death. Then there were the Bellarke shippers, who rooted for Clarke and Bellamy's love. Bellarke fans' dreams came true when Taylor took to her Twitter in 2019 to reveal that she'd secretly married her co-star, Bob Morley, who played Bellamy on "The 100."

The two were friends for years while working on "The 100" (and coincidentally, both were also on "Neighbours," although not at the same time) but only started dating in 2019 after each got out of a previous relationship. In an Instagram post, Taylor revealed that Morley unexpectedly asked her out and "it was as if someone had switched on a light, and we were truly seeing each other for the first time." Three months later, they wed in Hawaii to the surprise and delight of "The 100" fans all over.

She and Bob suffered a personal tragedy

Taylor is very open about her love of Morley on her social media, as she often features photos of him as well as kind words about their relationship. In her Instagram post detailing their decision to get married, she noted that he is "kind, loving and sensitive" and that their decade of friendship leading up to their romance "only makes our relationship stronger with each passing day." While they want to start a family together, the two of them sadly revealed at a panel for "The 100" at Unity Days 2020 that they suffered a miscarriage while filming the series.

According to a recap of the convention on Tell Tale TV, Taylor was supposed to direct an episode in Season 7 but had to step down after this tragedy. During the panel, Taylor and Morley discussed wanting to lessen the shame surrounding a situation that many couples face. Based on a fan's account posted on Twitter, Morley said that he was "just so proud of Eliza and everything she's done and for speaking out about this today."

She's a philanthropist

While helping people survive on-screen for seven years in "The 100," Taylor has also focused on aiding people in the real world as well. Taylor and her friend, Claire Wyndham, started the Koh Tao International Primary School in Thailand. Taylor had been traveling to Koh Tao for a long time and realized that the education system there could be improved (via Ms. Mojo). Taylor has passionately promoted the school via social media and her fans have heard the call: in 2017, they raised over $100,000 for the school (via Just Jared). Later that year, the creators of the Clexa Comic, which is about Clarke and Lexa's relationship, raised over $45,000 for their comic book and committed to donating portions of the proceeds to the Koh Tao School.

Taylor also spent some time as the board president of Little Hearts Learning, an education-focused organization in the United States. As she noted on the Little Hearts Learning website, "At Little Hearts Learning, we believe providing equal education opportunities to young children contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty." Taylor has highlighted Little Hearts Learning on her social media to get folks engaged and done various events for them with Morley as well. In 2020, Taylor took to Twitter to announce that she would be stepping down from the board to focus on her mental health, but we can imagine that her philanthropic pursuits will continue in various ways in the future.

She promotes body positivity

Like many who stand in the spotlight, Taylor is aware of the power of her image and how it can affect others, so she has always used her platform to speak out about body positivity. In a 2007 interview with Perfect Blend, Taylor noted that her favorite actresses were Katherine Heigl and Scarlett Johansson because she loved "seeing women out there with proper curves, real women. I think it's important to set a good example ... if I do make it in LA, so to speak, I'd certainly want to be setting an example so that's why I'd never be [a stick figure]." Taylor stayed true to this message while in Australia, as her characters reflected her real figure.

Even after finding international success on "The 100," Taylor maintained this position. She told "Access Hollywood" (via ESPN) in 2014: "I've seen so many young girls over the years beat themselves up over their curves, thinking that it's not okay. One thing I'm passionate about is positive body image. I've got boobs and hips and I like those." As seen with her philanthropic work, Taylor is as much about actions as words, so in 2016, she invited fans in New York to join her to "eat crepes 4 positive body image" and to have a discussion on the subject.

Cooking is like therapy for her

If you look at Taylor's social media, you'll find three recurring themes: love (of Morley and their dogs), charity work, and food. Taylor loves cooking for friends and family, telling ESPN that "it's like therapy" and that one of her favorite things to do is to put together an epic dinner party for the ones she loves. Sometimes, she'll even combine all three of these themes as she and Morley have done cooking segments to raise money for Little Hearts Learning (yes, that includes matching aprons and all). She and Morley clearly bond over food and they've narrowed down their favorite things to cook to either Mexican food or their take on carbonara.

She showcases her baking talents in her "Bitch Can Bake" series on Instagram: muffins, banana bread, and sourdough. Clearly, Taylor and Clarke share some qualities of caretaking and sharing with others, so Taylor generously shares both the recipes and cookbooks that she's using so that people who want to eat like Taylor can try their own hand at these dishes.

She makes diverse movie choices

While Taylor's best-known characters have all been on television, she's moved to the big screen as well where she's taken diverse roles. Taylor starred as Kat, a teen with a dark past, in Jordan Ross' 2017 feature, "Thumper." The film centered around a small town riddled with drugs and violence and also starred Lena Headey and Pablo Schreider.

Taylor spoke with ESPN about the excitement of building a character with a director, as well as the appeal of this dark film, saying, "It doesn't glorify the drug world ... We made it really dirty and dark, and kind of gross, which is the way it should be perceived." The film premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and left Taylor feeling "gobsmacked," as it had been a two-year process to get the film there.

2017 was a big year for Taylor's film career as it also saw the release of Netflix's "Christmas Inheritance," where Taylor starred opposite Jake Lacy and Andie MacDowell. Taylor played Ellen, an heiress whose father challenges her to complete one seemingly simple task — delivering a Christmas card — before he'll allow her to take over the family business. Ellen is spoiled and dependent on others, which is a far cry from both Clarke and Kat, but Taylor's ability to play all of these roles just shows that there's no way to typecast this talented actress.

She's a musician

While Taylor has established her talents for both acting and cooking, she's also proven to be a skilled musician as well. Her social media occasionally features clips of her singing and playing guitar and she even has a YouTube channel with a few videos of her singing both covers and songs that she wrote. In an interview with Ms. Mojo, Taylor noted that she doesn't have plans to record an album because she's "lazy" and doesn't practice enough (even though it sounds pretty good to us). 

She writes songs for therapy and prefers music to be her hobby rather than a more professional pursuit. It seems like this has been a long-standing feeling as she told Perfect Blend in 2008, "I play guitar and song write, but don't worry, I'm not releasing an album any time soon! My songs are just for me, it's a very personal thing. But I do adore it." Perhaps she'll change her mind someday but until then, we'll have to settle for the bits and pieces of singing that Taylor releases to her fans.