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Meet Brianna Sattaur: UNT 2020 Homecoming Nominee

*Disclaimer: HerCampus UNT is not endorsing any nominees of the current royalty homecoming court.

Today I am very excited to introduce Brianna Sattaur! Brianna is a junior at The University of North Texas majoring in Applied Behavior Analysis and double minoring in Human Development and Family Sciences and Special Education. She plans to receive her Board Certified Behavior Analysis and help children and families with disabilities after graduation. 

From her own experiences of sexual assault, she is determined to create a safe space for all victims of sexual abuse and to educate others on sexual health.  

Here are the questions featured in our interview discussing her story, homecoming campaign, role models, elephants, and more!

 

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…

I am from Bronx, New York and also lived in North Bergen, New Jersey. Bronx was a big borough in New York, and North Bergen was a pretty big town. 

 

How was moving to Texas?

I went to a private school in New York and learned a lot from nuns who were my teachers. We moved to Texas when I was in middle school. I was depressed because I left a lot of friends behind, dealt with bullying, and it was a huge culture shock- everyone from New York or New Jersey, they know it’s a different experience. For example, everyone from Texas is more friendly versus people in New York, they are more reserved. Up north, homecoming isn’t necessarily a “thing.” But I know ever since I moved down south, homecoming has been a huge celebration and I never saw that often. It was interesting, I got to experience a lot of the mums and garters in highschool. I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to the Texas tradition. I’ve had about 2-3 mums and garters and a mini business making them. The campus is also so unified over sports like football, and that’s a thing I never saw up north.

 

Who are the influential figures in your life that have helped shape who you are? 

My mom. She’s just been through alot from a low class family. My grandma had just moved from Puerto Rico, she had 14 kids, and my mom is the baby. The youngest of 14 children. She was always looking for attention being the baby. She has been through so much, she worked at the World Trade Center in the 2nd building that fell during 9/11. When one of the planes crashed over the Hudson River, she was in her car and the plane literally flew above her and it was extremely traumatizing. She is now fighting breast cancer, but she is still so strong as a mother [and] a great woman figure- I can see myself as that, as her, holding it down as a woman [and] parent at the same time and I inspire to be as strong as her. Also my sister, she owns a business in New York and is an esthetician and that has inspired me to start my own business. My dad as well, he came to America when he was 13 or 14 undocumented from Guyana and just got his citizenship a few weeks ago. 

 

What is your favorite UNT tradition?

Honestly, homecoming. I love how unified campus is, all the student organizations are so embracing and there is so much diversity, people from all backgrounds and religions. There is a strong family feel, and there is COVID this year so we won’t have a big homecoming.

 

Tell us more about your platform and impact project for this year’s homecoming…

Myself Through Colors is expressing yourself through color and what made you who you are. It is an inclusive and diverse program, paying attention to those affected by domestic and sexual assault. This is going to have the basics of group therapy, but more of a creative outlet with painting. Victims will be able to heal through painting & sharing stories. Painting is known for stress relief. I want to normalize speaking up about these occurrences to help spread awareness of how often it is happening in our communities. It’s not just women, there are males and members of the LGBTQ as well and a lot of others that have been through this. Also, including education is going to be a big key. On the signs of something were to happen, the red flags, our sexual health, mental health, and triggers. As they paint their story, I want them to be able to tell their story out loud and paint the color they feel as they speak. I don’t want people to feel like they have to put themselves on blast, I want it to be a safe space where people can feel comfortable and they want to express themselves. We will have virtual painting due to COVID or a socially distanced one. These paintings will be displayed around UNT along with resources. I hope this will help form connections, the entire goal is to not feel alone. These will be labeled anonymously but with demographics they represent, such as their age and their pronouns. 

 

I was sexually assaulted when I was around 10 years old and it was familial. It got to the point where it started feeling normal because it happened more than once, and I didn’t know what was happening to me because it was my cousin, which is so unfortunate because I was so young. That person was so much older, why was that person doing that to me? Isn’t my family supposed to look out for me for this type of danger? I didn’t know what was going on, I just went back home and a part of me felt like a piece of me was taken away and I felt so alone. One day, my mom looked at me and knew something was wrong. I don’t want to get too into depth with it. I went to a private school, I told my friends about it, and I didn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t have any resources. I think I ended up telling my mom. There was a point in time that I actually spoke up. I had a diary I used to write in. I ended up getting suspended for talking about it at my private school. The second time it happened by a family member again. It was a summer ago. I knew it was happening and I froze. I felt alone, I felt less confident. There were times in life where I wondered if I was exaggerating because I feel happy now. What were those emotions before? This was me trying to move on and grow. I don’t associate myself with that family anymore. It’s hard, I don’t want anyone to feel so alone, and sometimes you don’t know how to explain how you feel because people will say “that never happened.” This is real, this happens, and we have to talk about it. 

 

Why did you decide to run for homecoming court? 

Something just told me to look into it. I originally wanted to apply to the homecoming crew, but I missed the deadline. I was sent a link to register for homecoming court and I thought maybe I’ll try it and I will represent Women Of Gold, I’ve been with this organization since freshman year. I really just followed my gut feeling and I’ve made an impact already through the campaign and by opening up about my stories, others have been talking about their feelings, telling me their stories and letting me know that by speaking up, they were also able to talk about their stories as well. 

 

How did you come up with Myself Through Colors?

I wanted to find a way to manage emotions, thoughts, to cope. When it happened, I had no support system. I was journaling, drawing, and that creative aspect helped a lot. It’s a different form of therapy, the group therapy plus a creative aspect. Being educated and being able to represent themselves and own true selves through colors they think of as they tell their story. 

 

What do you want others to gain from your impact project? 

I want them to be open minded about this topic. People can be so close minded and automatically assume the assault was maybe it was a “mistake” or a “hookup.” But it’s not. From the outsider’s perspective of the paintings is to see how frequent these assaults happen and the fact that it’s anonymous could be people you may know. Check up on your closest friends or your quiet friends, or even the people you least expect. Don’t be  judgemental and exclude people with anxiety or maybe a little quiet, we don’t know what people have been through. These paintings could be from someone you may know and it will help others be more opening to listening to people before judging. Over all, I don’t want people to feel alone. I also want it to open up to people who haven’t been through this so they can learn from other’s stories. There is going to be a confidentiality contract within this group therapy. 

 

Thank you so much for sharing your story and speaking about your campaign. Let’s shift the focus, there are some fun questions I’d love to ask to get to know you! You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

So coincidentally, my favorite animals are elephants because they are good luck. By my grandma, I was always told that elephants bring good luck, especially if you have a statue by your door or something, or having it as a stationary or as decor in your room or office. If your statue of the elephant’s trunk is upwards, that is good luck and positive energy.. But if I had an actual real life elephant, I would utilize it to my ability.. Maybe take me to work. It’s going to be my pet, and bring me good luck and positive vibes. I love elephants. They’re so cute.

 

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

So crayon colors are really dull and boring, and usually you don’t see those neon colored crayons a lot. I don’t even think they make them? But I know they make those crayola neon markers. But if I were to be a crayon, I would be a hot electric pink. I love a hot pink, but if it is an electric pink that looks like a highlighter pink, that is definitely gonna be me because I feel like that I’m outgoing and bubbly. I’m out there, you know? I feel like I’m really unique and I encompass these different kinds of characteristics that make people wonder. I definitely would that color because it’s just different in a box full of dull colors. 

 

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

I think about my future, sometimes I don’t think at all and I wonder why or how I get home so fast. Majority of the time I think about my aesthetic for my new apartment and how I am going to decorate it or I just think about what I’m going to eat for dinner, or how my future family is going to look like. I sometimes think about what I’m going to wear the next day or what to do for my night routine if I feel like even doing a night routine, but I really mainly think about my future because I feel like driving is a good opportunity for me to kind of reflect because I’m on my own. Driving is really a stress reliever for me for some reason.. I really reflect on my future for sure, I kind of try to foreshadow what I would be like, where I would live, what kind of aesthetic I would have because I really hope to be successful one day. 

 

 

Figuring her way through her 20's through inclusive beauty, lifestyle, and fashion. Loves immersing in new cultures and foods. Empowering and empowered by women.
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