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Taylor Bisciotti, today’s FACE of Atlanta

Taylor Bisciotti graduated from the University of Georgia and began her career as an intern with WUSA9 in Washington, D.C. Following football is in her family’s bloodline — her Uncle Steve Bisciotti is the current majority owner of the Baltimore Ravens. Before joining the NFL Network and relocating to Los Angeles, Taylor was a host for Sporting News and a sideline reporter for the SEC Network and ESPN. Today we are thrilled to welcome Taylor as this week’s FACE of Atlanta.

Talk about your football-first family.

I’m the only girl on my dad’s side of the family. I have an older brother, Kyle, and three older male cousins, Jason, Jack and Michael. I was able to relate with them growing up through sports, especially football. Football was the universal language of our family. I associated going to football games with seeing my family, so of course, it became something that I loved. I truly can’t remember a time in my life when Sundays didn’t mean the best day of the week with football.

What are keys to preparing for the anchor role for NFL Network?

Read, read, read! Before I come into work in the morning, I try and read every NFL headline out there. Not only is it imperative to know what is going on, but a lot of times you aren’t able to prepare for breaking news, so when you do get unexpected news regarding a player, coach, owner or team, you have to be able to provide context. What is the significance of this news and why should the viewer care? You truly have to eat, breathe and sleep football. I feel lucky to work in a field covering a sport that I would follow and care about as much even if it wasn’t my job.

When you get back home to Atlanta, what’s your favorite thing to do? Favorite place to eat?

My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and friends. Our go-to Mexican spot is Jalisco’s; we have been going there since I was a baby and we love it. Houston’s will always be a go-to, and of course, I can’t go home without a trip to the Sugar Shack. It’s three minutes away from my house, and I’m addicted to their chocolate Italian cake and cupcakes. As far as must go-to restaurants in Atlanta, I would have to say Henri’s Bakery (it never disappoints!), Taqueria del Sol and Fritti in Inman Park.

What about Athens?

Athens is such a magical place; it brings me a feeling of happiness that’s hard to describe. Of course, if you are there during the fall, you must go to a UGA football game. The Georgia Theatre and rooftop is a great venue to have drinks with friends and listen to great music. As far as restaurants go, you must go to the Last Resort; you will immediately be drawn in by the delicious cakes on display when you walk in. Pauley’s Crepe Bar and, once again, Taqueria del Sol are favorites.

When you’re away from the South, what do you miss the most?

I miss the friendliness. People from the South are very warm and welcoming, and you don’t realize just how warm they are until you move.

You’re writing a letter to yourself at age 12. What would you say?

I’d probably give myself the same advice that I’m trying to give myself today — to not worry as much and just let things happen. I’m definitely a worry worm and am always concerned about my next move. I need to just enjoy every step of the way. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing your path to others’ in the business and wondering why aren’t you “getting that job,” but I try not to do that. I’m the youngest on-air talent that NFL Network has ever hired, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I take it for granted. I know that I need to work hard to earn my keep.

In our initial conversation, you mentioned perceptions that come to bear on your professional life. Would you elaborate?

What’s really important to me is making a name for myself not because of my last name but based on what I do in my career. I know I’ll always be fighting with the fact that people will assume I only got a job because of a connection, and trust me, I get it, and I fully accept the challenge. I’m blessed to have an amazing family, but I don’t want it to define who I am.

My uncle has been amazingly supportive. I’ll never forget how nervous I was when I was covering the SEC women’s soccer tournament for SEC Network. He called me every day and gave me great advice. When you first start off, you are vulnerable, insecure and self-conscious, and to have someone call and say all the right things at the right time is something I’ll never forget.

I also think that being a female in this industry will always, always make things more challenging. I think some people’s first reactions to females talking football are that we don’t know what we are talking about or haven’t played the game so we aren’t credible. I’m always studying to make sure I know exactly what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t want someone talking to me about my team and not knowing it inside and out, so I want to give everyone the same respect.

Tell us about the women in your life who have been role models.

My grandmother, Patricia Bisciotti. She lost her husband to leukemia at age 35, and she raised my dad, uncle and aunt on her own. No matter what, she handles situations with class, strength and dignity. Don’t let her small size fool you; her strength and mind are remarkable. If I ever need advice or someone to vent to, I know that she is always there. My mom is also my rock.

What is your best piece of advice?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Do you have a fashion top three?

I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl. My favorite brands are Rag & Bone and AG Jeans. I won’t leave home without my purse. I think that handbags can make an outfit. I’ve been wearing the same black classic Céline Caviar bag for the last year and a half and absolutely love it.

Last word?

At the end of the day, I’m just thankful to be living out my dream. I mean, I get to cover football for a living — I don’t know if it can get much better than that!

With the exception of faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

I always travel with a small pillow. I have to have chocolate every night. And I couldn’t live without my iPhone. Without it, I don’t think I could do my job properly. When you’re giving news reports, you’re sometimes having to change quickly what you’re talking about — having to look down, read something on your phone and say, “This just in.”

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