UT students channelled their inner Beyoncé when ‘Ellen’ came to campus

USA TODAY College  – Feb. 8, 2017

Because who doesn’t love dressing up as Beyoncé and getting to be on the Ellen Show?

On Tuesday afternoon, students at the University of Texas dressed up in their best Queen Bee costumes, in hopes of winning tickets to the Grammys from Ellen DeGeneres’ show.

The Daily Texan reports that Ellen’s producers reached out the university because they were already in Texas for the Super Bowl and thought it would be fun to stop by. Before popping up on UT’s campus, the Ellen Show gave away two tickets to the Super Bowl to students at Georgia Tech  – the show has also made surprise visits on several other campuses in recent years, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Kansas and the University of Oregon.

Tuesday morning Ellen DeGeneres challenged the Longhorns to a Beyoncé costume contest, with a trip to the Grammys as the prize.

UT senior Angeli Ymbong said when she heard about the costume contest she knew she had to participate because she loves doing spontaneous things. She said she chose to be pregnant Beyoncé because she wanted to look ridiculous and it was the easiest costume to throw together on a time crunch.

“I knew I wouldn’t win,” Ymbong said. “UT is filled with creative overachievers and the biggest Beyoncé fans out there. I came with the intention of wanting to be part of UT history and making shameless memories out of the little time I have left here.”

Ymbong said yesterday was one of her favorite moments at UT and made her realize how much she loves being a Longhorn.

“The highlight of my day was definitely when the entire crowd in front of the tower opened up a dance circle and everyone was dancing to Beyoncé. I felt more pride than when I was at a [UT] football game,” Ymbong said.

Some “Beyoncés” went beyond costumes. The possibility of going to the Grammys called for a choreographed number. Sophomore Jarvis Dillard celebrated his 20th birthday in his best Queen Bee gear.

“I am a huge Beyoncé fan,” Dillard said. “When I saw Ellen’s tweet I immediately ran to my closet and started picking out clothes.”

Dillard said he danced like Beyoncé for two hours in front of the tower, heels and all.

“It was truly an amazing birthday,” Dillard said.

And this Beyoncé brought a Jay Z with her to the contest.

“I think it was definitely one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had on this campus so far,” said sophomore Dayjah Harris. “It was very awesome to see everyone get creative and dress as Queen Bey. I loved how spontaneous it was.”

Harris said she pulled together her costume using her roommate’s jacket and a wig she bought.

Student body president Keven Helgren showed his excitement for the Ellen Show by helping a fellow student with the backdrop for her pregnancy costume.

Dominique Mendez, Victoria Akanno and Kayla Houston got some costume inspiration from Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade.

But with every contest there must be a winner…


Sophomore Collin Wang was the winner of the contest, earning two tickets to the 59th Grammy Awards, to be held this Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Wang replicated Beyoncé’s underwater maternity photo, in the Littlefield Fountain in front of the UT Tower.

“The picture took a lot of time and effort to get it just right,” Wang said. “I had to hold my breathe for a long time and have my friends take photos.”

Wang said he is taking his best friend, Madie Flores with him to the Grammys because she helped him with the costume contest and encouraged him throughout the entire time.

“I’m most excited to hopefully meet Ellen and get to thank her as well as to see Beyoncé perform (at the Grammys),” Wang said.

Four of the other finalists in the competition each received a $500 Best Buy gift card.

Pregnant Beyoncé was among the most popular costumes seen during the contest– following her pregnancy reveal of twins one week ago and the release of a pregnancy photo album to her website.

Ellen DeGeneres even channelled her inner Beyoncé in a comically photoshopped tweet last week.

“Thanks to the amazing crowd that showed up at the University of Texas at Austin. You Longhorns should be proud,” Ellen said in a Facebook post.


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