Hello Texas Twirl Fans!
We are excited to celebrate this #TwirlerTuesday with our first Collegiate Twirler Spotlight of the season. This year may look a little different, but twirlers all over Texas are making it work, and we are so excited to be able to Feature many of them over the next couple months. As those Collegiate Stadiums all over Texas start to come alive with the sounds of Game Days, we hope to see many face masks and safety precautions being taken so that we can continue to enjoy the sights and sounds of football teams, marching bands, and our favorite, lots of talented baton twirlers. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!
Today’s Collegiate Twirler Spotlight is the Baylor University Golden Girls!
Baylor University, located in Waco, Texas, is the home of the Bears, and some amazing baton twirling talent. The Feature Twirlers at Baylor are referred to as the Golden Girls, and they carry on a legacy that has previously included not one, but two Miss Texas winners, World Team Members, and a former Collegiate Miss Majorette of America. Wow! While many in Texas are familiar with returning Head Twirler Jillian Taylor, originally from California, there are two new faces on the McLane Stadium field this year. Coming all the way from the North (Canada and Wisconsin respectively), Baylor is excited to have Danielle Skinner and Mallory Remm join the Golden Girls lineage.
With such an exciting combination of twirlers, we asked the Golden Girls what they had to do to secure these coveted positions, and they told us that in order to be a Golden Girl you have to audition and compete for your first two years, but after that, the position is yours as long as you are at Baylor. During these auditions, the judges look for the all-around abilities of the twirler. Bodywork, big tricks, competition status, showmanship, and multiple baton skills.
As you probably noticed, all three of the 2020-2021 Golden Girls are from out of state. All of us in #TeamTexas know that Texas is a great place to be but making the decision to go out of state is a difficult one for many soon to be collegians. We wanted to know what brought these talented twirlers to the Lone Star State. Mallory told us her decision was about taking on a new adventure. “I wanted to go out of state because I love traveling and exploring new places. I think college is the perfect opportunity to experience living in a different state.”
Jillian had a similar response and said seeing Texas in person sealed the deal. “Once I visited Baylor for the first time, I was sold. I already had a sibling at Baylor, which helped. I knew I would miss California, but that Texas would be an incredible place to establish myself more. Texas has been amazing so far and I have still never regretted my decision to move out of state!”
Making the decision to go out of state can be stressful, but Baylor seemed to be an obvious choice for all three of them. We asked what advice they would give to other twirlers thinking about twirling out of state, and “go for it” was the overwhelming theme. As Jillian told us, “Going out of state can definitely be scary, but I would encourage every high school twirler considering that decision to go and visit the schools if possible. I liked Baylor’s website, but when I came here, I knew it was my home.” Mallory said to be certain to weigh your choices and feel confident in whatever you choose. “Make sure it is the right decision for you and that you know why you want to go out of state.”
While all three twirlers have loved their decision, as Mallory and Danielle told us, it isn’t easy being away from family. Jillian agreed. “The hardest part of being out of state is being apart from my family in case something goes wrong or I get the flu or something. Sometimes you just need your parents! However, I know that I have grown much more from moving out of state than I ever would have if I had stayed in California. It was hard, but the growth and independence were well worth it!”
Baylor University is always a great choice to attend for any in state or out of state twirler. The school has many rich traditions and tons of school pride. One of the best traditions, as any Baylor student will always tell you, is the Baylor Line. “The Baylor Line is a very special tradition to Baylor. For every home football game, the entire Freshman class lines up in one of the tunnels and runs across the field to create a huge human tunnel to welcome the football team onto the field.” If you have ever been to a game, it is quite a sight to see, and if you have ever been a part of the Baylor Line, you know it is an experience like no other.
Another great part of the Baylor experience is being a part of the Golden Wave Marching Band. Working with twirling coordinator, Lynn Dell Harrell, the Golden Girls get the opportunity to perform in McLane Stadium and be featured amongst the GWMB. Sadly, due to COVID-19 concerns this Fall, the GWMB is not performing during the Game Day halftime, but they have been putting together some great shows which they record during the week before the game and show on the Big Screen during the actual Halftime. During the games, the band has been sitting distanced in the stadium while the Golden Girls and the Colorguard perform on the sidelines in the end zone area.
Being in the GWMB provides many fun moments. According to Jillian, rehearsals always bring the band together. “There are so many traditions in the Golden Wave Band that mean a lot to me, but I think that my favorite is at the end of every Friday rehearsal, the entire band circles up and we sing the Alma Mater together.” The band also has their share of jokes, including the Golden Girls meme page (OK Danielle… we need more details on that one!), and Mallory loves when they sing 'That Good Old Baylor Line' together.
Now that we have learned about the Golden Wave Band and why these Golden Girls came all the way to Baylor, let’s learn more about Jillian, Danielle, and Mallory!
Jillian is a Senior from Tustin, California, and is Double Majoring in Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation, and Marketing. At Baylor, in addition to twirling, Jillian is also a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority where she serves as the All University Sing Chair. She has been twirling for 12 years and is coached by Beverley Johnson, Liane Aramaki, and Lynn Dell Harrell. The title she is the proudest of earning is Miss Majorette of California in 2016, “because winning that title was one of my first goals I decided to go for when I began competing.” Her favorite things to do in competition are full hand material and two baton, and her favorite field trick is a high toss double walkover. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by Adaline Bebo. “She inspired me before I came to Baylor and twirled by her side, and we are still best friends to this day. She inspires and encourages me as a twirler and as a friend daily.” After graduation she hopes to get a job in business development and marketing in or around Texas!
Danielle is from Regina Saskatchewan, Canada, and is Majoring in Journalism and Pre-Law, with a Minor in History. In addition to twirling, Danielle is planning to join a sorority and has joined a life group at her church in Waco. She has been twirling for 13 years and is coached by Maureen Johnson and Lynn Dell Harrell. The title she is the proudest of earning was being named the Overall Senior Athlete of the Year in Canada. Her favorite competition trick is a double illusion cartwheel, and her favorite field trick is a double walkover. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by Adaline Bebo. After graduation, Danielle plans to become a legal correspondent, as well as travel the world and teach baton.
Mallory is a Freshman from Sussex, Wisconsin that is Majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Minoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. At Baylor, in addition to twirling, she is a member of the Nation Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She has been twirling for 12 years and is coached by Anna Spiers, Aryn Swan, and Lynn Dell Harrell. Her favorite competition trick is a double illusion, and her favorite field trick is a toss leap walkover illusion. The title she is the proudest of earning was Miss Badger State. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by Jameson Kenerly, Kylene Spanbauer, and Adaline Bebo. After completing her Undergrad degree, Mallory plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.
- Favorite Color – Gold (Jillian), Blue & Purple (Danielle), Yellow (Mallory)
- Favorite Movie – “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (Jillian), “Jurassic Park” (Danielle), “Crazy Rich Asians” (Mallory)
- Favorite Music – “I love country” (Danielle), “Country and pop music, or really anything I can dance to!” (Jillian)
- Jillian – “People don’t remember the things you do, say, or accomplish, but they do remember how you made them feel.”
- Danielle – “Making a living is not the same as making a life.” - Maya Angelou
- Mallory – Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When they are not twirling, they love to…
- Jillian – “Spend time with my friends and family! Doing basically anything. I really enjoy spending quality time with all of my loved ones.”
- Danielle – “Go out with my friends and going to coffee shops. I also love watching movies and going shopping.”
- Mallory – “Be active and go hiking or kayaking.”
Something people might not know about them is…
- Jillian – “I am also an advanced level snow skier and have been skiing at Mammoth Mountain back in California since I was 3 years old.”
- Danielle – “I love watching sports, especially hockey, and in the summer, I like to go wakeboarding and tubing.”
- Mallory – “I played varsity tennis in high school.”
Most Memorable Tip/Advice from their Coaches…
- Jillian – “Twirl for yourself.”
- Danielle – “Don’t ever let the people around you determine your future, you are the only person who gets to do that.”
- Mallory – “Do not worry about things you cannot control.”
Favorite Moment as a Baton Twirler…
- Jillian – “Last year we had College Gameday host one of our home games, so the stadium was filled to capacity, the energy was unreal, and I ended up having all no drops throughout that game! That felt amazing and for me, it was one of the moments of my career as a Golden Girl, when I realized that I truly accomplished my biggest twirling goal of being a feature twirler for a college that I love.”
- Danielle – “I have so many! I loved my first Worlds experience in Sweden in 2016 and I have loved every international and World experience since then, because I get to see so much talent from around the world. I think my favorite was at Pan Pacific when I won elite artistic twirl.”
- Mallory – “Experiencing my first Baylor Gameday with the Golden Wave Band.”
Funniest Moment as a Baton Twirler…
- Jillian – “We had the coldest game in our stadium’s history last year (about 20 degrees) and it was also Halloween night. We all thought that it would be a hard game to get through, but every section of the band dressed up in costume, including us. We wore all gold head to toe and were “trophies”. We twirled fire baton, we were freezing, and it was an absolute blast! We still laugh about that game to this day.”
- Danielle – “When ants got in my baton bag and ate my cookie!"
- Mallory – “During a recording session with the Golden Wave Band, the clasp holding together my costume broke while I was twirling! We held it together with bobby pins and tied it together with a lanyard. At that moment, it was very stressful, but a funny memory looking back!"
Through their more than a decade each of experience, these Golden Girls have learned a lot from the sport of baton twirling. Danielle tells us the main thing she has gained from being a twirler is knowing that the work is worth it. “Hard work pays off and it’s not always the people with the most talent who succeed, but the people with the hardest work ethic.” Jillian has really used her time as a twirling athlete to learn to be her own person. “As my twirling career is soon coming to an end after graduation, I think that the best non-twirling life skills that I’ve learned from baton twirling would have to be to believe in myself, to create my own goals, and to stand firm in what means the most to me in my life.” Mallory has learned that she needs to not only trust herself, but also trust in a higher power. “The thing I gained from baton is learning to trust the Lord. Letting go of what I cannot control and leaning into the Lord and his strength has been one of the biggest blessings I have learned through baton twirling.”
Having successfully achieved many twirler’s dream of getting to twirl in college, we asked the Golden Girls what advice they would pass on to twirlers wanting to one day follow in their footsteps. Mallory advised current twirlers to look to the future. “It is never too early to start preparing for college auditions. Make sure to record performances and competition routines. Also, be yourself and you will end up where you are meant to be.” Jillian told us that her main suggestion is to really find a school that is your home. “The advice I give every high school twirler looking to twirl in college is to choose the school over the twirling position! I knew that I wanted to go to Baylor whether I was twirling or not. Though I would have been disappointed, I knew that Baylor would be a home for me through the good days and the bad and it was where I could grow the most in my faith, my academics, and as a person. Twirling has been one of the biggest highlights of my time at Baylor, but there are so many things surrounding my time as a Golden Girl that I couldn’t have gotten at any other school!” Finally, Danielle shared with us her key to success… “Follow your dreams! If you love baton and want to continue it, do it! Don’t let anyone hold you back, because life is to short not to make the best of your experiences.”
We want to give a big thank you to Jillian, Danielle, and Mallory for taking us along on their first Game Day of the season with the @twirlingiscatchingtx Instastory Takeover, and for sharing their experiences with us. Such amazing advice and important words of wisdom for those hoping to follow the Collegiate twirling path. We wish these Golden Girls the best of luck, and of course, Sic 'Em Bears!
We hope you have enjoyed this edition of our Collegiate Twirler Spotlight. Have a favorite Twirler that you would like to see interviewed? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name and email address so that we can reach out to them!