Bianca Boyd

Editor’s Note: During these unprecedented times dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are UTRGV students who are making history. Without hesitation, these students are stepping up to the front lines of the outbreak to help mitigate the virus from spreading throughout their communities. We are integrating these front lines students into our usual Profiles in Excellence series to recognize the efforts and bravery of these students.

Bianca Boyd

Name: Bianca Boyd
Age: 22
Major: Theatre Design – Bachelor of Fine Art
College of Fine Arts
Hometown: Edinburg, TX
High School: Edinburg North High School, Edinburg, TX 

Originally, I was going to study fashion at Texas Tech, but decided financially it would be best to do my basics here at UTRGV. Not to mention that it’s down the street from my home and lets me stay with my old friends while making new ones. 

What is your role in helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Normally, my job in the costume shop would be sewing and constructing costumes for the actors to wear during our productions, but now I’m sewing cloth masks to aid the UTRGV School of Medicine.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job or duties while assisting in COVID-19?
By far, the most challenging aspect is my anxiety. There are a lot of steps in sewing the masks and any little mistake can slow the process down. Despite sewing for the past 10+ years, I still worry that I’m not fast enough and that I could be making more masks in the same amount of time.

How is being able to assist during these difficult times helpful to your future?
I think it helps, not just my future, but the future of all entertainment employees. So often when I mention that I’m a theatre major, I get scoffed at like it’s not a viable career choice, but now I’ve become somewhat of a “hometown hero.” It shows that I’m adaptable, that my skills aren’t just good for dressing up actors, but doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. It’s solid proof that my hands are capable of doing everything from putting on a musical to helping save lives.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic? What are your greatest strengths and challenges? 
I’m going to be honest and say that it’s tough. It’s incredibly easy to be distracted while working on assignments and I often get called away to do something else by my parents. I’m a fairly social person and being away from my friends and theatre family isn’t easy. Of course, being able to take a break from it all and play some Animal Crossing with friends helps, too! 

What made you decide on your current major?
When I was a kid, I wanted to pursue fashion design and that dream never really died. In middle school I fell in love with theatre and soon enough started sewing more seriously. I never considered the possibility of using my sewing skills for that but after a couple of semesters here pursuing an art degree I wasn’t happy with, I met Jennifer Saxton, an associate professor in the theatre department. She told me costuming stitchers are in demand right now and the next day I changed my major officially to theatre design. 

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
I hope to find myself designing costumes for film, TV or even Broadway in the future. The feeling you get when you see your work on stage is indescribable and so rewarding. I dream of being nominated for an Oscar in best costume design.

What advice or encouraging words do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
One thing I have to remind myself is that it’s not “stuck at home” it’s “safe at home.” It may not be ideal but it’s certainly better than the alternative. Also, don’t be afraid to start a group chat with fellow classmates. You’re probably no the only one struggling and it’s easier to approach a professor about a problem if there’s several of you.