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Taylor Tiave Shares How a Media Arts Major Helped Her Make Work That Matters

Convocation for the College of Fine Arts and Communications will take place at 11 a.m. on August 17

Taylor Tiave originally started out as an advertising major, but switched after deciding it wasn’t for her. Instead she chose media arts, where she felt she could make work that connected with people. “I felt like advertising was too commercial for me. I wanted to do more work that I wanted to do. I always loved making videos and editing. I found media arts and it fit pretty well for me,” she said. One project Tiave is specifically grateful to have worked on is a documentary called “DREAMers,” which follows a DACA recipient from Mexico who has been in the the United States for the past 13 years. It documents her experience meshing Mexican and American culture as well as the difficulties and breakthroughs that went along that process. Tiave spent Fall semester and part of Winter semester working as the film’s editor and says she felt the project was something that really mattered. “I thought it was a story that should be told so people could better understand immigrants and DACA recipients. In general, everyone needs better education on those topics,” she said. Tiave said the entire project was very student-led. The director pitched the idea to the faculty and from then on, the students worked to bring it to life. Throughout the experience, Tiave learned to collaborate and work with others to make something bigger than they could have done by themselves. She said that looking back, she wishes she would have gotten involved in more projects like this earlier on in her college experience. “It took me a couple semesters to branch out and do more things,” said Tiave. Her advice to students still at BYU is to “do more. Work on more projects, as many as you can.”

By participating in different experiences on campus Tiave has found her niche. She said she likes to focus on culturally specific topics and finds a lot of inspiration in not only her own Tongan and Maori culture, but in others’ cultures as well. One particular experience that helped her do this was participating in Living Legends. She says it gave her the opportunity to learn about and gain a respect for cultures besides her own. During her time in Living Legends she was able to visit New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. She has also traveled to Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and the Philippines outside of school-sponsored trips. These experiences will hopefully allow Tiave to achieve her dream of combining her love for different cultures with her film expertise. “Even though I don’t know exactly where I’ll fit into the professional world, I feel confident in my ability to create my own films and venture into that side of filmmaking,” said Tiave.

Tiave has found her stride in the Media Arts major, not only as artist, but as a mother. Tiave said out of everything in her college experience, she is most proud of is doing it all while also being a mother. “School is already a pretty big thing to deal with and go through. Somehow I managed to do it with a baby,” said Tiave’, who’s son just turned one. “When I found out I was expecting I thought that was going to be my life and I couldn’t do anything else,” said Tiave. “But the experiences I’ve had working on projects with a baby showed me it is possible. If you want to do it you can make it work. Now I don’t doubt my ability to do both.” Tiave said her professors and peers were supportive. For a whole semester she brought her son to class with her. Thanks to experiences like this at BYU, Tiave says she is confident that she will be able to find the balance between being a mother and an artist.

Question and Answer:

Where are you from? “Fountain Valley, California.” What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome at BYU? “I had a hard time fitting in. It’s a pro and a con that the majority of students are LDS. I think that leads to people having the same view points on a lot of things. It was an adjustment coming from California where everything is so diverse.” Where do you find inspiration? “My own culture. I think everyone can find their personal story in their background and personal culture. For me it’s inspiring how things are perpetuated through generations.” What is your favorite snack to eat? “Mangos.”