For twins and senior theatre design majors, Tania and Beatriz “Betty” Borbon, costuming is a double act. They have each designed main stage productions in Montclair State University’s theatre department: Betty with last fall’s “A Chorus Line,” and Tania with the world premiere musical “Brooklyn’s Bridge.”
Now, they’ve moved into the next phase of their career with internships on “Nick Cannon,” a new, live talk show hosted by Nick Cannon.
According to Betty, the opportunity came about mostly by chance: she saw an email from Montclair State’s College of the Arts about job opportunities on “Nick Cannon” and decided to apply as a production assistant. She soon realized she was the only costume designer who had applied and urged her sister to apply as well. In no time at all, they were both hired as wardrobe interns on the show.
Betty says the importance of being open to new opportunities and being confident in your worth helps with applying to internships.
“If you have the mentality that they’re not ever going to hire you, you’re not going to get anything,” Betty said. “They have to hire someone.”
She mentioned how important it is to apply for all kinds of positions, even those that might be adjacent to your field instead of being directly related to it. She and Tania originally applied for more general, production assistant positions, but when the team saw the costume credits on their resumes (including internships on the upcoming Disney production, “Better Nate Than Never”), they placed them in the wardrobe department.
Now, several days a week, the twins help get the show running at the New York City studio. In the wardrobe department, Betty makes sure guests look their best by ironing, steaming and doing small sewing repairs. She even sometimes helps with Nick Cannon’s wardrobe.
“The more time I spend there, the more trust I earn from the stylists,” Betty said. “You need a certain amount of familiarity to handle $1,500 shoes.”
Tania has recently switched from a wardrobe production assistant to an audience production assistant.
“It involves calling audience members, confirming their tickets and now, during the [coronavirus] age, confirming that they’re fully vaccinated before coming to the studio,” Tania said. “It’s interesting to see the tactics they use to bring people in. We’ve entered Facebook mom groups, camped outside [live tapings of] “The View” to [grab] their audience and stood alongside the Columbus Day Parade handing out fliers. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do.”
The twins agree that working together makes everything better. Tania describes her sister as someone who is always in her corner and is also her “built-in lunch buddy.” Betty says that getting to work with her sister makes her job even more fun and rewarding.
The costume department is very proud to see the two make it in the field before they even graduate. Montclair State costume design supervisor, Robin McGee, appreciates the experience this internship can give students.
“Internships like this are an amazing opportunity for our students to take what they learn in class and apply it in real-world scenarios,” McGee said. “We are extremely proud that our students in costume design are representing the university so well.”
Montana Fucci, a senior costume design major, agrees with Mcgee’s pride in her classmates.
“It’s so cool that they’re going out and doing this,” Fucci said.
As for what the future holds, Tania and Betty both hope that their current positions lead to more opportunities. Tania, for instance, has already had the opportunity to network. When she mentioned that she liked working on live television and would be interested in working on “The Wendy Williams Show,” several of her coworkers put her in touch with their contacts there.
“[Networking] is just talking to people,” Tania said. “Being nice, being genuine and just asking people what they do.”
The future is bright for these hardworking students and their experience as interns will serve them throughout the rest of their careers. “Nick Cannon” is available on YouTube and tickets for the live show are available at nickcannonshow.com.