Traci DiGesu is a thorough New Yorker. Having grown up in the city, she attended Stuyvesant High School and earned a B.A. in theater arts at Hunter College. She has also been trained as a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in its accredited program. Before coming to Juilliard, Traci worked several years in events production and cofounded DBK Events, which worked with nonprofit organizations to produce fundraising events from conception to completion. Clients included City Harvest, Alliance for the Arts, and Roundabout Theater.
How long have you worked at Juilliard, and what do you remember about your first day? Or what is one of your favorite memories from your years here?
This will be my sixth season here. Last fall was a very challenging time for me, as I had been recently diagnosed with cancer. While I was trying to figure out how to process and deal with this information, I found that I was fortunate enough to work with a truly caring and thoughtful community of people. I believe it really helped my recovery tremendously. Juilliard is a very special place.
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
I’d love to work for the cafeteria for a day. I am trained as a chef and have always been curious to see what it would be like to plan menus and cook in an institutional setting.
What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve ever had and what made it so?
I produced Wigstock for several years. It’s an experience I really loved. Working on a fund-raiser that attracted an audience of 15,000 was thrilling. Holding an event on the pier off 14th Street was great because I got to work with the community board, city agencies, G.M.H.C., the police, and dozens of amazing drag queens.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
Whenever I have free time, I like to spend it with friends and family.
Many Juilliard staff members are also artists. Do you pursue any artistic endeavors?
I am pretty focused here, but I do design a handful of projects each year. I find it helps me stay on top of what is going on in the rest of the world, and keeps me sympathetic to the concerns of the designers I work with here throughout the year.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
Food and politics.
What was the best vacation you’ve had and what made that trip so special?
Two years ago, I took a four-day vacation between productions in order to elope. My husband and I went to Luray, Va. It was the best trip ever.
What is your favorite thing about New York City?
The Union Square Greenmarket, Prospect Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Coney Island are all places I hold near and dear.
What book are you reading right now?
I am just starting Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin, a silly and smart satire about a fictional British monarchy's attempt to re-colonize America.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I have given this a lot of thought. I’m not really the “ full of surprises” type. I think it’s all pretty much out there.