Not many students enjoy all-nighters — fewer still would be comfortable with immediate interrogation and picture-taking afterward. Nikki Taylor is not most students, however, and despite these travails and the grey hump-day rain, she was bright-eyed and smiling for this interview. A consummate dancer, Nikki is as kind as she is accomplished. Here, this week’s That Girl discusses her work with the Syndicate, the Secret Service and being aresident assistant.
p. **Tell me about your involvement with the Syndicate.**
p. I was president of the Syndicate last spring semester and this fall semester. Rex Feng and I started it the spring of ’04, the end of my freshman year, and we got [started] in first semester sophomore year. It was fate, really: I wanted a hip-hop group, I wanted to start one, but I didn’t know how or who would do it with me, and the same day I voiced that to someone, I met Rex by chance in the UC. My friend introduced me, and he said “I want to do it, too. I wrote a constitution — do you want in?” Of course I did.
p. **What is your dance experience?**
p. I was classically trained in ballet at Washington Ballet in D.C., but I lost my scholarship because they found out I had one leg longer than the other — it’s not a big difference, but it was a pretty professional company, and they take things way too seriously. Any kind of imperfection at all just doesn’t fly. They didn’t renew my scholarship, so I dropped out and joined the dance team at my high school, which was very street jazz, hip-hop based movement. I really enjoyed that. I did some Broadway-style musical theater stuff, which was fun. Then I came to William and Mary, and all they had was Orchesis and Pointe Blanke, which have much more of a modern dance focus, and I’m no good at that.
p. Switching from ballet to hip-hop, I basically just had to loosen up a little, but when I switched to modern everything was different. You don’t have to hold your back straight; it doesn’t even have to look pretty half the time. It taught to me to do really different things with my body, but I didn’t stick with it because everything was so different, so unfamiliar. It wasn’t really my style.
p. **What else do you do on campus?**
p. I’m an RA out at Ludwell. I love it. They are very independent, but I still know all my residents, which is nice. Most of the things that my residents come to me for are very different than you’ll find in freshman dorms. They don’t come to me with questions about the dorms or registering for classes or anything because they know it all already. Both years I’ve had residents who’ve come to me for pretty personal things like dating advice, which is funny because I don’t really date. It’s a very friendly relationship that I have with my residents in Ludwell, which is I think what makes it different from being an RA for freshmen because they don’t need the same type of help. They just need people to be there.
p. **Do you know what you’re going to do next year?**
Right now I’m talking to ABC — I would like to do things like media and journalism, but I still need to buckle down on that. I’m trying to use contacts from old internships I’ve had. I’ve been lucky with internships: I have the tendency to meet the right person at the right time. I did an internship with ABC News right before I came here, I did the Secret Service the summer after that and I did the British Parliament the summer after that.
p. **Can you talk about what you did with the Secret Service?**
p. I actually did background investigations, so it’s probably not something that would be too interesting to you. It was cool talking to agents who worked with first families — their opinions on Gore, Clinton, Bush, the daughters and who was troublesome and who wasn’t. Apparently the Bush twins are a handful, but Chelsea is really nice, and they hated Al Gore but loved Laura Bush — you know, kind of different perspectives. It was fun to talk to them.
It is shocking the different types of people who will apply to the Secret Service, though.
p. **What other internships have you had?**
p. At ABC I worked with Ann Compton, the White House correspondent. I got really lucky because I got to go to White House press briefings and she got me in with the Supreme Court, Congress, the State Department.
p. At the Parliament I was a research assistant for two members of the Labour Party. I drafted press releases, I did research for them, I attended some briefings there as well. That was a really unique experience because I lived in London with a good friend of mine. We rented a flat in a nice part of London; it was really nice because I got to see a lot of England. The internship itself was very clerical, but I was exposed to a lot. I was there during the Make Poverty History campaign and got to see Colin Firth. I was there during the bombings too, which was horrible, but it was interesting too at the time to see how that all works.