My name is Taylor Villanueva, and I'm a first-generation American with a passion for serving my community. I hope to use my platform as Ms. Costa Mesa to positively impact our nation.
I am an assistant account executive for a public relations firm specializing in spirits and restaurants. I am also the cofounder and co-creator of the podcast production company Manoosh Productions.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from the University of Southern California. I also have a minor in Political Science with a focus in Comparative Politics. Pursuing higher education has always been a goal of mine, and I am currently attending Western Governors University, where I am pursuing a Master of Science in Management and Leadership.
In the past few years, my eyes have been opened to the importance of mental health. In 2017, I became ill and was unable to perform basic day-to-day tasks. I was forced to quit a job that I loved because I had exhausted all my time off going to doctor appointments. I believed I had a brain tumor because of the sudden change in my behavior and consistent pain in my head. After an entire year of struggling, I was finally diagnosed with an extreme case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I underwent long and intense retraining of my brain to be able to function somewhat normally again. Although I’m not the same as I was prior to 2017, I have a newfound appreciation for all of life’s experiences and all the people in my life who stuck with me through the torment I felt. Because of this, I am even more empathetic to how others feel and want to advocate for mental health in any way I can. I think many people still do not take these types of illnesses seriously. I am working with Real Self Care UCI to share my experiences and, more importantly, listen to others and the struggles they are going through.
As a former journalist and radio producer, starting a media production company was a natural step in my career. The difficult part was choosing which stories to tell. I wanted to create something impactful, something that would give insight into the lives of others. My cousin and I decided to create our debut podcast “A Few Bad Apples”, which tells the stories of police brutality victims. Watching body cam videos and seeing the life leave a victim’s eyes is tragic and terrifying, and I want the world to know these stories and the people who have suffered. “A Few Bad Apples” is not only meant to honor the victims and keep their spirits alive, but also to inspire a call to action. I am hopeful that we can come together to enact positive change.