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EXCLUSIVE: Notlim Taylor Talks ‘Marlon,’ Animal Rights & Influencing Teens

Notim Taylor is having a moment.

The California native has had standout roles on ABC’s Black-ish and BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood, and now she’s found a home on NBC’s much-buzzed about forthcoming sitcom, Marlon. Starring opposite entertainment veterans Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins; a recently divorced couple co-parenting their two children— Taylor is ready to take it all in. “When I found out I got the role, I was kind of shocked, because I didn’t believe that I would be able to be in this position so young, ” she told JETmag.com. “It was a long process but I’m here, and I’m working with Marlon. It’s an amazing experience and I’m so glad. I’m blessed to be a part of this amazing cast and crew.”

Taylor’s Marley Wayne is a whip-smart 4.0 student whose chill demeanor counters her father Marlon’s larger-than-life personality. Those are just a few of the similarities between Taylor and her character. “We’re very alike. Our personalities are alike, ” she said thoughtfully. “She loves reading; I love reading. I’m a big bookworm. She’s very mature for her age, and in real life, I have a little brother, as well. For me, it was easy to transition into character, because I was so used to be being in a comedic atmosphere. My dad is just like Marlon. They both crack jokes, they’re not afraid to say what’s on their minds. My mom is like Ashley — Essence’s character. She’s professional. She’s not as outgoing. She’s reserved. She’s mature and responsible.”

We live in a world now where half of all marriages end in divorce. The statistics are out there for all of us to absorb, but the perspective of the kids and the friendships that some divorced couples are able to maintain aren’t often considered. Marlon might just change the narrative. “I hope the show brings a lot of laughter in people’s homes, and I hope the show opens up different doors for other actors on the show, ” Taylor expressed. “For teens nowadays there’s so much going on with social media, We go through a lot of emotional roller coasters, so I hope they [are] able to relate to my character and the issues that she faces as a teenager. I hope they learn different things [from] my character and learn from what she goes through and how she grows as a young Black woman.”

With two acting phenoms who have been delighting audiences for decades playing her parents, the teen who is also a fan of Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series is also learning from Wayans and Atkins. “Marlon and Essence have definitely told me it’s okay to try new things, and they’ve encouraged me to embrace who I am as an actress, as a singer, as a black belt, as a young Black woman,” she explained. “They’ve also encouraged me to improvise. When I’m on set, they provide a wonderful environment for us to improvise and express our opinions about different things.”

Taylor has found major success at such an early age including her first film role in 2015’s An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. The practicing gymnast and dancer is also focused on her plant-based lifestyle and work as an animal rights advocate. “I feel like a lot of people are unaware of what’s happening to animals and the abuse that animals are taking,” Taylor explained. “I just decided that I want to feel better about myself, I want to feel healthier. My dad introduced the idea to me, and I’m like, ‘Okay. Let’s try it. Let’s see what happens.’ I have a Frenchie now, so that’s even more important to me, about protecting animals and the rights of animals. I’m glad I transitioned because I feel much better and I feel like I’m making a difference.”

With her new gig on Marlon, the Instant Mom alum is also excited for the what the future holds. “I want to try to use the position that I’m in to my advantage by speaking out about the things that are important to me and are close to my heart,” she said. “I’m going to try to do everything I can, and I can’t wait and see what happens during this journey. I would like to collaborate and work with kids my age, older and younger, and see what we can do, how we can change our community, and how we can influence others.”

Marlon debuts on NBC Aug. 16 at 9 p.m. ET.