The singer, actor and dancer celebrated the honor on Instagram on Monday, writing, “Somebody pinch me!!!!”
“WOW…. Stepping back in front of the lens has been a journey of self-reflection and self-confidence,” she wrote in the post’s caption. “Living up to [the] name and title of this shoot wholeheartedly made me nervous.”
Taylor, who shares two daughters with her husband, professional basketball player Iman Shumpert, later noted in the post that her busy lifestyle often robs her of time to “feel sexy.”
She said she arrived at the photo shoot after dropping her 5-year-old daughter, Junie, off at school, and that the sweatpants and beanie she’d been wearing had made appearances in the shoot.
“Embrace and love yourselves for who [and] what you are because only the purest heart shines through,” she later added.
Maxim announced Taylor as its “Hot 100” cover star on Monday, celebrating her as a “graceful choreographer-dancer, actor-director and top ten recording star.” She is the first Black woman to land the No. 1 spot on the list, according to an archive of the publication’s past honorees dating back to 2000.
Recent honorees include Olivia Culpo in 2019, Kate Upton in 2018 and Hailey Baldwin in 2017.
When Lindsay Lohan topped the list in 2007, the magazine told The Associated Press that its rankings, determined by Maxim editors, considered buzz and beauty for women in film, TV, music, sports and fashion.
“There is no other star in the world (who) causes more of a stir in the public eye than Lindsay,” then-Maxim editor-in-chief Jimmy Jellinek said at the time.
In 2018, the magazine said its list celebrated more than physical beauty and also honored women who are “multi-hyphenates, entrepreneurs and risk-takers.”
“Now more than ever, we need to celebrate smart, powerful women who are breaking boundaries (and looking damn good doing it),” its statement read.
People on social media this week wondered why a Black woman hadn’t topped the list before.
Jemele Hill, contributing writer for the Atlantic, called that fact “pathetic” — and other Twitter users shared similar sentiments:
Taylor told Maxim in her cover story that she had long envisioned herself as a cover star for the magazine.
“I’ve followed Maxim for a long time and I’ve always felt like I should be on the cover,” she said. “So to actually get the call saying they want me on the cover really meant a lot. I was like, ‘What? They want me on the cover? Okay!’”
Taylor recently appeared in “Coming 2 America,” the 2021 sequel to the original 1988 classic “Coming to America,” starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones and Shari Headley.
The singer, who released her latest album, titled “The Album,” last year, has a number of projects in the works.
Taylor and Shumpert, who welcomed their second daughter Rue Rose in September, will appear in an upcoming E! reality series about their lives titled “We Got Love Teyana & Iman.”
She also told Maxim that she’s working on developing a series about music legend Dionne Warwick.
“I want to make sure she approves everything and is comfortable with everything before we move forward,” she said of the “Walk on By” singer. “That was the most important thing for me, to really learn one another and know what it is that she wants, and make sure her story is coming from her own mouth, rather than bringing people in to change her narrative.”
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter