BABE #114: TAYLOR TIPPETT, Flight Attendant @ American Airlines
Taylor is such a freakin' delight. We've been following her on the 'gram for quite some time, and have always been huge fans of the self-expression, raw honesty and undying optimism she chooses to share with her online community. Though based in Chicago, this travelin' lady spends the majority of her life working in the air and crashing in hotel rooms around the world. (You might recognize her from her viral photo series, Words from the Window Seat.) She is hilarious, compassionate, and always seeking to become a better version of herself, and we're honored to have the chance to share a bit of her story today. Thanks for chatting with us, Taylor!
Hometown: Charlotte, NC / Stuart, FL / Greensboro, NC (it's a long story.)
Current city: The windy city. #23. Chicago, IL.
Alma mater: N/A
Very first job: Rita’s Ice & Custard
Hustle: Flight Attendant @ American Airlines
Babe you admire and why?
Cardi B. I mean, have you heard Bodak Yellow? It's my hype song, and it just reached #1 on the top 100 billboard charts. A female rapper hasn’t hit number one in a very long time. She is everything. Her fashion videos on IG are the highlights to my week. She is powerful and successful and honestly incredible in all the ways I will never be. I love her.
How do you spend your free time?
Eating. I feel like all I think about or do involves food. I also really love to write, be in the sun, exercise, and listen to all of the music.
Favorite app, website or blog?
Instagram forever. My favorite account is @hoodclips.
Must-have item in your purse?
Bergamont essential oil. It’s my life saver for anxiety.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Cheerwine and fried okra, my favorite meal for all eternity.
Biggest pet peeve?
When people don't wear shoes to the BATHROOM on an AIRPLANE. HELP.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My man, Chance the Rapper.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Portugal, my favorite place in the world.
What’s one thing you wish you knew more about?
How I can be more involved with all the heartbreak going on in the world. Racial Injustice. Presidential issues. Climate Change. I have a voice and a platform and I want to be more involved and learn how to be more brave with my words. I know my words matter and I have spoken up, but how else can I help? How can I actually contribute to the changes we desperately need?
Tell us about your hustle:
For my day job, I work as a flight attendant for American Airlines, where I serve a lot people pretzels and diet cokes and try to hold every baby and dog that comes on board. I get to love on people who are traveling all over the world for different reasons, and I get be a vessel of joy through our time together. It’s a really cool field for me to practice what I am passionate about. I also get to spend time in incredible places on my off days. It’s a dream. My passion in life, though, is writing. I'm working on a book right now (and praying that early next year I can release it to the world.) Jesus and faith are really important to me, and it’s going to be a book of hope, healing, and brokenness, but a lot of greatness that came from it all. Jesus is good. He took a lot of my sadness and depression and gave me this incredible ability to write about it all. I also run a travel and lifestyle blog, as well as write for Sadie Robertson’s blog. It’s an honor to write each month alongside some of my inspirations.
What does your typical workday look like?
It usually always starts with black coffee and a smoothie. If I'm flying, I pack my luggage and be sure to leave my house clean so I can return home feeling satisfied. I usually have anywhere from 2-3 flights a day, and I always fly 3-day trips, so I spend 2 nights in a hotel room. If it's a long layover, I try to get out and walk, find a healthy spot to eat, or go exploring. I always end my night with a good episode of Shameless or The Office. If It’s an off day, I try to stay in the city, and head to some of my favorite spots to read or work on my computer. I miss a lot of things and events in being gone for 3 days in a row, so I always make sure to spend good time with my buds.
What inspired your decision to become a flight attendant? Has it always been a dream of yours or is it something that happened organically?
In 2013, I lived in Stuart, FL and worked as a nanny at age 20. I lived (barely) paycheck to paycheck, and struggled in feeling like I wasn't living out my calling, nor what I was passionate about. I knew school wasn't for me, and I knew I couldn’t be a nanny forever, so I started researching. My sweet grandmother (Mimi) was a flight attendant for Pan Am back in the day, and always glowed when she told us about her stories, so I decided to call her and ask more about the job. A couple hours later, American Airlines announced that they were going to hire 1,500+ new flight attendants. It had been the biggest hiring since 9/11, and I jumped to apply immediately. It was definitely an organic thing; it all just kind of happened!
What do you think made you stand out in the job selection process?
I honestly don’t know. I feel like all the things that disqualify most people from getting hired (my young age, my tattoos, my lack of college degree) didn’t matter. I really didn’t think I had a chance. Maybe I was their special exception for the year? Their charity case? Kidding. Honestly, I just feel like Jesus had my back. I am forever grateful for American Airlines for giving me a chance when the odds weren't in my favor.
What is your work environment/company culture like?
Honestly, it’s a daily struggle. It can be extremely draining most of the time, but it also can be a complete joy. I deal with really kind people and really mean people. The same goes for the crews I work with. I've learned to hold everything lightly though. I am constantly reminding myself that we're all working and living alongside broken humans - myself included. It’s all about attitude, perspective, forgiveness, and not taking anything personal.
Tell us about Words From The Window Seat. What inspired it, and what has the response been like?
I started this really cool photo series project a few years ago called #wordsfromthewindowseat that lowkey went viral online, which led to a lot of incredible people following along with my story. At the time, I was in a really, really crappy relationship, and would have done just about anything to find joy in my life. I started writing encouraging quotes and mantras in my journal to hold onto throughout the day, and one day decided to tape it up to the window seat and share where I was at with others on my flight. My first one said “be kind to yourself.” It kind of became what it is from there, and only continued to grow. The response has been unreal. It has been featured on The Huffington Post, Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, major news stations all over the US, in magazines, on podcasts, and a lot of other really incredible things.
How would you say being a woman has affected your professional experience?
I guess you could say I get hit on a lot more than I would in other job settings.
What kind of support system do you have behind you and your work?
I feel like so many people who are in my world know my struggles and really, really help me stay balanced. When I’m gone and feeling lonely, I get so many sweet texts that keep me going. It’s so hard to miss out on life here in my city, yet I somehow always feel connected to my people. For my personal work, my friends are unreal. Honestly, my followers are too. I feel like I am forever feeling encouraged and motivated to keep spreading love and light because I am constantly receiving love from others. It is the most beautiful, life-giving thing.
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
That it's always glamorous. I definitely thought going into it that it was going to be magical and full of travel and adventure. Don't get me wrong, it can be incredible, and I get to go to the most beautiful places and have a ball with my crew a lot of the time. But it's also a lot of vomit, and spills, and dealing with people who think their tray tables are their coffee tables at home. Not everything is sparkly and glittery, and I am so okay with it. It’s just a lot of work. It truly is.
What keeps you anchored to Chicago? After so much travel, do you ever consider relocating?
Honestly, I'm trying to figure this one out myself. When I got hired in 2014 I decided to take my southern roots to a new city. I ended up in Chicago for about 8 months, moved to DC for about a year, then came back because I felt like I didn’t really give Chicago a chance. I’ve been in this babe of a city ever since. I don’t have any family here, but I do have my people. I know I want to own land one day and have a farm, but for now there's something about Chicago that's keeping me here. I don’t 100% know why or what it is, but I love this city to death. It has gotten me through my hardest nights and best days. I'm not sure how long I'll be here, but for now it’s home.
What are some of the everyday struggles with your job that we might not see?
Sometimes (a lot of the time,) I have to be up at 3AM. I have constant coffee breath. I still get jetlag. I feel like my body is forever confused. I try to pack my lunch and bring all the fruits and veggies, but traveling without a refrigerator of my own is a challenge.
What have some of your favorite travel destinations been, and what’s on your bucket list?
I am in love with Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Portugal. I would move to Portugal today if it made sense for me to do so. Bucket list places? Switzerland, Morocco, Bali, and Alaska.
Okay, we have to ask… favorite celebrity sightings?!
I had Randy Jackson on my flight to Nashville a while back. He “dawged” me and we fist bumped. It was everything I could have asked for and more.
How do you balance life in Chicago with being uprooted in constant travel?
I'm working on the whole balance thing, but my therapist puts my booty in check. I'm really trying to be more consistent and learn the art of staying and growing roots. I swear by essential oils, especially when traveling. They help with my sleep, digestion, anxiety and immune system. I also always, always have some sort of chocolate stash on hand; I've learned to be an A+ snack-packer... it’s so important. I try to drink tons of water and even have an app on my phone that helps me keep track of my daily intake. All of that combined really helps me stay in check.
What’s it like spending a lot of your time alone in your job? What has that experience taught you?
It honestly depends on my day and my perspective. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, my job can alter my mental health during times of being alone. I try to have tools to help pull me out of whatever I'm feeling. Sometimes it’s an episode of The Office, a FaceTime call with my best friend, or just crying if that’s what I need to do. It has taught me a lot about how I function and what fuels me. In the end, I really do benefit from alone time to unwind and process my day, as my work also keeps me surrounded by people. I’m getting good at kicking loneliness in the behind.
How has your Hustle changed how you view the world?
Being a flight attendant has helped me realize that we are all fighting hard battles. I’ve been trying to grasp the concept of giving myself grace because it helps with giving others grace, too. It all starts with me. It has really helped me be lighter to others, because I know what I deal with and struggle with. So having that same mentality towards others around me really has helped me realize that I don’t have to understand everything all of the time. It is what it is. I just have to keep growing and reaching towards the light.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? Least favorite?
Favorite: the warm snickerdoodle cookies in first class, and being able to see the sunrise and sunset from the cockpit. Least favorite: being ignored when trying to interact with others. People not wearing shoes to the bathroom. Mechanical delays.
What would you say is your biggest strength in your current role?
Being able to understand people so well because I am such a feeler and people person. I get it. I feel like it allows me to really connect with people on a deeper level without really having to try. It’s just natural to me. I never feel awkward with others on my flights.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
Spending time being still. Talking with Jesus. A good glass of whiskey. Sitting outside and reminding myself to breathe.
What are some notable (funny, embarrassing, intense) experiences you’ve had on the job?
I once did the pre-flight safety demo with my zipper down. A woman grabbed my arm really hard, and I said “MA’AM, what in the world?!" Oops.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
I know life can hurt like absolute crap sometimes. It’s okay to not be okay. Please know that. Sit in it for a minute. Cry if you need to. Hold onto your joy and remember you are strong. Then pick yourself up and move on. Your pain, losses, and failures do not control your life or define you. Instead, let them motivate you. Let all the tiny, fragmented pieces mold you into something new. Give yourself grace. Talk with people. Keep getting up on your shitty days.