Meet your professor

Amanda Profaizer, Department: Music and Theatre Arts Nickname: pro

Meet your professor

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Story by Rachel Streich, Staff Writer

Rachel Streich: What are your most memorable jobs or experiences as a costume designer?

Amanda Profaizer: I started at the age of 21 with my first professional gig and I worked at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Being so young, I had no idea really of the etiquette or protocol that happens. Working there was semi-professional, so we had professional cutter-drapers and designers, but a lot of the staff are students, so you have this melting pot of ranges of skill level and age level. And I just remember being kind of thrown into this environment and I had no idea what I was doing … From there I have worked in regional theatre where you’ll have professional actors from New York City that I worked with. I was a dresser for a couple of years at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, which was a really great learning experience. Being young and working with people that were professionals in New York City, I got to network and know how to be working in a professional environment. That’s actually how I met my contacts to move to New York City and that’s how I got my job at SNL, was kind of these stepping stones. When I went to SNL I was only 23 years old. What in God’s great earth does a 23-year-old have any business being on a professional television show? I also thought, “What am I doing here? These are famous people.

RS: How did you end up in Eau Claire?

AP: Well, I applied for this job and I had been at Utah State for 10 years. I was a graduate student there and I was also a shop manager. After I graduated I stayed on there for about five more years where I was just the shop manager and I designed here and there. And this posting came up and I knew that I didn’t want to be a shop manager. I wanted to move forward.

RS: What made you want to go into teaching?

AP: This industry’s really hard and being a professional costume designer is really tough.  I really enjoy, as a person, teaching students how to be successful in this business. Fortunately I had really great educators. I think that if I didn’t have true educators in my life, I would have had a different route. And if I wouldn’t have gotten married and had kids, maybe I would have worked more professionally or stayed at SNL or got on another television show or been a freelance costume designer. But this is kind of just where my path took me.

RS: If there is one important piece of advice you could give to a student, what would it be?

AP: I think that college is a time for you to find your voice in the world. Who are you? What is it that you want to add to this planet? Because when you are thrown out in the real world, real world really sucks and it’s hard. Being a grown-up is hard. I think that finding yourself and who you are is the most important lesson that I can give a young person, and you have four or five years to do that.

RS: What is your favorite play or musical?

AP: My favorite musical is Sweeny Todd. I love it. We’re going to talk about it in my 101 class today and it never gets old. This is now the fifth or the fourth time that I’ve shown this musical in class. The characters are great and the story is great. Stephen Sondheim is brilliant.