This article originally appeared in the summer 2010 Harker Quarterly.
Alix Natalia Briggs ’08 attended Harker for Gr. 5-9 before transferring to Interlochen Arts Academy, a private boarding school in Michigan, to pursue theater in her final three years of high school. In 2009 she was chosen out of thousands of entrants as one of three winners of a youngARTS award in the play and script writing for film or video category; 141 young artists were named winners in several disciplines. Because of this exposure, she was selected by famed choreographer Bill T. Jones for the HBO documentary-series “Masterclass.” A New York Times article about the show, in which Briggs is mentioned, can be found on the NY Times website. Currently she is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and continues to pursue her dream career as an actress and aspiring playwright.
Editor’s note: Harker has had two previous winners of youngARTS awards. For information about their program, please visit http://nfaa.org/Programs/.
Q: When you were at Harker, did you dream of doing what you do now?
A: Definitely. My interest in theater began at Harker, where I participated in Harmonics and later, the upper school Conservatory. The arts program at Harker is incredibly encouraging and community-centric. I wanted to maintain that sense of community for the rest of my life, which is why I chose to further pursue theater. I think my Spanish teachers would be pretty surprised to find out that I’m double-majoring in Spanish, though!
Q: What do you find most exciting about your career or current project?
A: Through the youngARTS program, which led to my project with HBO, I was able to meet a host of inspiring, uber-talented peers. Being able to collaborate with other artists my age has definitely been most exciting.
Q: What personal traits make you successful at what you’re doing?
A: I’d say my brashness, my outspokenness. Nothing is off limits for me. I think a large part of that is a result of growing up in the Bay Area; the Bay Area is definitely the poster child of ‘freedom of speech.’ I was fortunate enough to grow up in a place where I was exposed to all sorts of different opinions, cultures and issues.
Q: What in your life took you the longest time to learn?
A: In order to be happy, you have to be flexible. If you invest all of your potential for happiness into one goal, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s better to put energy into your everyday pursuits, and then see where it takes you.
Q: What’s on the top of your personal and professional “lists” right now?
A: I want to travel the world and expose myself to as much as possible. I’d love a job that would pay me to travel – my own show on the Travel Channel, maybe? I’m a huge fan of the Ling sisters and their investigative-journalism-fueled-by-new-media approach. I think that’d be a great way to combine my interest in international studies with my background in theater.
Q: What advice do you have for current Harker students?
A: Don’t take your education for granted; most of your peers, when you leave Harker, will not have had the same opportunities as you – be respectful and mindful. Always remember that there is a world outside of Harker; it’s easy to be consumed by the ‘bubble.’ Put your effort into learning the material as opposed to just trying for stellar grades. And apply for youngARTS – it is a tremendous opportunity (for high school seniors and college freshmen under 18)!