Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson
Trevor Williams is a Natchitoches native who will graduate from Northwestern State University in December after studying communications in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts with a concentration in broadcasting and a minor in English. In addition to his expertise in filming, editing, reporting and multimedia production, his interest in fashion and modeling have led him to the Fashion Week runways of New York and Los Angeles. As tj.prodigy on social media, he has almost 73,000 followers on Instagram and more than 44,000 on TikTok.
A 2019 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School, Trevor was already at home at NSU after attending NSU Elementary and Middle Lab Schools, where he showed an early aptitude for creativity. In addition to holding off-campus jobs, Trevor got involved with NSU-TV and NSU’s ESPN crew that broadcasts Demon athletic events. This past summer, Trevor completed an internship at TWILA (This Week in Agriculture) TV in Baton Rouge that produces weekly news stories for farmers and consumers. He was tasked with finding and developing stories, shooting on location, editing and putting packages together with three-day deadlines. Recently, he was red carpet host for the premier of the locally made film “The Dirty South.”
As his graduation date nears, Trevor sat down with NSU to talk about his love of video, his flair for fashion and experiences at NSU that enhanced his professional growth. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
NSU: When did you decide to pursue communications?
Trevor: In high school, I fell in love with video. I started doing social media content and I’m kind of self-taught. When I came to NSU, I was introduced to the communications department, I was like, ‘Ok. this is for me.’ I say this to anybody: the communications department is the best department. All the faculty want to see you win. They take time on weekends and outside of class hours to make sure we’re good beyond the degree. They want to make sure we’re getting the job after school.
NSU: Have you had any special mentors at NSU?
Trevor: I don’t want to name names, but first, Mr. David Antilley, [manager/executive director of NSU-TV]. When I was a freshman, he brought me on as a camera operator for Demon Athletics. I had no experience with real camera work and he brought me on to the camera crew. Mrs. Melody Gilbert [assistant professor]. She is a huge mentor for me, she has opened so many doors for me. Dr. Nick Taylor [assistant professor] introduced me to news, news terminology, news formats. I fell in love with reporting through Dr. Taylor. Miss Emily Zering [assistant professor] has been an amazing mentor inside the classroom and out. Dr. [Jie] Zhang [department head], who is the reason I got my internship.
NSU: You said your internship with TWILA was a great experience. What are some things you learned doing fieldwork?
Trevor: On a broad scale, it taught me to get out of my comfort zone. I had no background in agriculture. I wasn’t looking for that type of internship, but when I got there, they told me I don’t have to know about the topic to tell the story. If I had questions, they were very open. There was some intern work, carrying things from place to place, but most of the time I was out in the field, the soybean field, farms. I did a beekeeping story. I’m terrified of bees, but I went, keeping my mind open, and I learned how vital bees are to our ecosystem.
NSU: Your red carpet reporting and interviews with the creator and cast of “The Dirty South,” is posted on youtube [www.nsu.la/pvy]. Tell me about that experience.
Trevor: That was through Mrs. Melody Gilbert. I’m in her advanced video journalism class. She said, ‘Do you know there was a movie filmed in Natchitoches last year?’ And I had actually applied to be a background extra, but I didn’t get it. She said, ‘The movie’s done and it’s going to be premiered in Natchitoches next week. Would you like to commentate on the red carpet for it?’ I was like ‘Me?’ and she said, ‘Why not you?’ I was nervous but I always wanted this type of experience so thought it was a good foot in the door. After going, I honestly didn’t have any nerves. It felt really natural for me. I studied the cast before and did all my research so I would have background on what I was going to talk about. When I got on the red carpet, it was really authentic and natural. It was a great experience.
NSU: Let’s talk about fashion. How did you get into modeling and what have been some of your experiences with travel, modeling and fashion?
Trevor: I’ve always been photogenic and I’ve always loved fashion, but I never thought ‘Ok, I can model.’ On my Instagram page, I post a lot of fashion content, outfits and it gets a lot of good feedback. People started sending me applications for upcoming designers. I thought ‘This must be a sign. I need to apply.’ Two months later, I got a ‘Congratulations, you’ve been selected to come to New York for Fashion Week.’
It was so crazy. It was the weekend of 9/11 . The first day was rehearsal. We had a walk through, we talked about posture. I was already in contact with my designer, Rich Trend Setters, so when I got there, I was able meet him, do sizing and the next day was the show. It was amazing. I loved walking down the runway, I love posing at the end. It was over fast and afterwards I thought ‘I’ve got to do this again.’ They emailed me and said the L.A. Fashion Week was in March . School was during that time. I wanted to make sure I was going but also that my schoolwork was taken care. I went to L.A. Fashion Week and it was just as phenomenal. I did enjoy it and hopefully I can continue to do it after graduation.
NSU: You mentioned that you’d like to design your own luxury clothing that’s affordable for men and women. Can you talk about that?
Trevor: Yes. A lot of time, clothes that people want are very expensive. I feel like there is a way to make the clothes and make them affordable. I would like to make luxury affordable clothing for men, possibly women, no limits. I love fashion. I love putting unique pieces together to make it look like it goes together; maybe visually it looks like it doesn’t go together, but when it comes together, it’s a masterpiece.
NSU: How did you develop your social media presence?
Trevor: I started creating social media content for Instagram in high school, making funny skit videos, a new video every week, posting a youtube video here and there. I really started to take it seriously when I saw the followers coming in. I then went to Tik Tok, transitioned my old-style videos to Tik Tok-style videos. Now I’m trying to transition my page to the fashion side, which is very hard because once you get something you know that’s what they are looking for.
NSU: What are some upcoming projects you have, either creative or professional?
Trevor: My mind is so set on graduation right now. Nothing is set in stone. I’m always scoping opportunities, trying to figure out what can I do next after school. I am a get-up-and-do-it type of person. Obviously, Fashion Week – I got up and did it.
NSU: What would tell a prospective student interested in studying communications at NSU?
Trevor: I would tell them to do it. It will change your life. This communications department has your best interest at heart. They want to see you win, outside the degree, outside the classroom. They want to see you impacting this world. There are so many different areas in the department, photography, video, graphic design, so many different areas of communications, you can pick and choose and test it out. You’ll definitely find something.
NSU: You want to sign off?
Trevor: Hey, NSU, I’m Trevor Williams for Demons on Fire. You can find me on Instagram at tj.prodigy. And as always, Fork ‘Em Demons.
Pictured: Trevor Williams of Natchitoches is pictured before the green screen in NSU’s Ora G. Williams Media Center (NSU-TV Studio).