Building Worlds


Alexis Perales, Writer

Michaela Holland is a Nipomo High School alumni who graduated in 2012. She was a member of the school’s dance team and, even though she still continues to dance in New York, she’s also committed herself to a number of other things as well. Holland is working towards being a Disney Imagineer which are the people who create the immersive entertainment experiences, primarily for theme parks and resorts. They are the ones who create and design the Disney theme parks and attractions.


Even though Holland isn’t there yet, she’s well on her way. During her time at UC Irvine, Holland performed and danced in the summer on the Disney cruise ships which resulted in a new determination to “not waste time in school and apply [herself] and make [her] time worth it.” After graduation, Holland found herself in LA, learning about a 360 form of VR that she taught herself to use which helped her land a job at TIME Magazine, where she worked for a year and a half. She did numerous projects using 360 VR for TIME Magazine like covering Trump’s inauguration, Women’s March, and others. She invested herself in helping film “Capturing Everest: 360-Degree VR” which went on to win a Webby and an Emmy for Outstanding Digital Innovation. She then left TIME Magazine and began working on other film projects like the “Face to Face Story” which was in intimate look at human resilience, which followed the story of a mother, who wears a facial prosthetic due to a near fatal gun incident. That’s when Holland found herself working as the creative assistant to the founder of the Museum of Ice Cream.


Holland sees all of her past and current projects as stepping stones which will get her  to where she wants to be. Her advice to anyone who wants to go into the arts is to just dive right in. “You might not be able to create a whole world off the bat, but you can create podcasts or the music to go with your world,” she said in the interview. “No one will help you do what you do until you start doing it. TIME Magazine wouldn’t have hired me if I wasn’t doing 360 VR,” she wants people to know that if the thing you want to do is out-of-reach, then just do what is in reach until you can get to where you want to be. No one becomes a singer or a writer by just waiting until someone offers them a job. They start off by singing gigs at local places or writing for their local newspaper. Work up a resume so that when people do look at you, they want you. Holland has successfully built herself up in the arts world and she’s still adding projects to her impressive resume for Disney to see when they consider her as one of their Imagineers. “Just start doing,” she instructs.