Bex Taylor-Klaus, 19, has come a long way since her third-grade after-school drama class. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Taylor-Klaus now travels between Los Angeles and Vancouver to play roles on the hit TV shows Arrow, The Killing, and House of Lies.
Taylor-Klaus has also come a long way from her struggles with childhood learning disabilities and ADHD. She attended many schools, none of which knew how to help her. As a child, Taylor-Klaus preferred to play with the rambunctious boys on her street rather than with dolls. "I've never been anything but different, that's for darn sure," she says.
Taylor-Klaus didn't respond well to ADHD medication as a child. At 10, she experienced a dramatic shift in symptoms when her mom put her on a gluten-free diet and gave her high doses of fish oil. "When we took her off gluten, she went from being emotionally reactive to normal within two weeks [according to neuropsych evaluations]," says ADHD coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus, Bex's mother and founder of Impact ADHD.
Taylor-Klaus always knew she wanted to act. At 18, during her senior year in high school, she did an internship in a Los Angeles casting director's office. "I thought it would be good for me to learn the inner workings [of the industry]," she says. But sitting at a desk pushing a pencil made her miserable. "I quit because I just could not deal with it. I lasted two weeks at the job. Never again!"
Taylor-Klaus needn't have worried. In the summer of 2012, she launched her acting career with her first role, as a series regular on The Killing.
The actor sometimes finds that her hyperactivity gets in the way of her job, especially if there's a lull on the set. Playing games like Minesweeper and sudoku on her phone helps her through these down times, but "as soon as they shout 'Action,' I can put my own brain away and bring out a new one," she says. Her intense focus enables her to get into character easily.
Working on two series at once is a natural fit for someone with ADHD, says Taylor-Klaus. "I have two jobs going at once, flying back and forth from LA to Vancouver. I am constantly working, playing two different characters. I love it."
Taylor-Klaus's advice to ADHDers is: "Embrace it. It may be a nuisance, it may be hard to deal with sometimes, but you can learn to manage it. Don't ever try to get rid of it entirely. Attention deficit makes you special."