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Behind the Scenes at the Halftime Show

February 5, 2018

2017 grad Sonya Nayar lands a gig at the big game.

Sonya Nayar, the wunderkind who's powerful art piece received the 2017 Tweed Museum's purchase award and best in show designation, has been tearing up Minnesota. She's added one incredible experience after the next to her resume, and recently, she joined Justin Timberlake's production team at his Feb. 4, 2018 performance.

Sonya got this close to Justin Timberlake at his performance.

Sonya got this close to Justin Timberlake at his performance.

Sonya, a graphic designer and artist, received her B.F.A. from UMD in May 2017 and joined the iHeartMedia team as a brand ambassador right after graduation. She assisted the marketing department with activities to promote their Twin Cities' radio stations. She is now on the web and graphic design team at Three Deep Marketing in St. Paul, Minn. Their clients? Nestle, Gerber, Coffee-matte, Red Wing, and more.

So, halftime! Her team has been rehearsing for weeks, along with 500-plus other staff who made the magic happen. Justin Timberlake's music, light, and special effect show extravaganza was captivating, and Sonya was right there. Unable to say a word to anyone about the intricate stage production beforehand, she now can tell all. "My team had six minutes to put the stage together and six minutes to take it apart after his performance," Sonya says. She was also on the field moving around the multiple stages involved in the show.

During the 13-minute performance Sonya's activities were measured in seconds. "During the song My Love, Justin noticed an awkward gap in the paid audience members so he asked us, the people who were doing lighting and cables, to fill in, dance, jump around, and have fun! I ran to the stage and had the time of my life for 30 seconds." She was on camera for three seconds and then ran back to her lighting cart. "I needed to shine my light on Justin during the Prince tribute and immediately run the cart off the field so it wouldn't be in a camera shot."

Sonya recalls, "The last night of rehearsals Justin thanked us all and said he loved Minnesota but 'Man could someone turn up the heat in this state?' He also arranged for us all to get hot chocolate and s'mores. I wondered how the heck we were going to make s'mores, and then caterers came in with a giant fireplace."

"The show was the best day of my life," she says.

About the UMD School of Fine Arts

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