Ten Questions columnist Katie Schubauer caught up with senior defenseman Jayann Gabrio to discuss everything from her love of Hawaii and decorating cupcakes to her toenail problems.
1. Jayann, you are a senior on the women’s soccer team. What has soccer meant to you over the course of your college career?
I think I started out wanting to focus on doing well in the Hotel School, but once I got here, I realized that I wasn’t ready to sacrifice anything from my soccer life. You have to put a lot of effort into being an athlete, and I’ve given up a lot to play soccer. But now I know how committed I really am to it, and how it really is a privilege to play a sport in college. It’s kind of corny, but I finally figured out that I really do love soccer.
Who is your favorite teammate?
Hannah Labadie is going to kill me but Maneesha Chitanvis is my favorite, mainly because I was forced be friends with her. I’ve roomed with her since freshmen year and we’re both pretty straightforward with each other. She knows what she can say to me to piss me off and I know what I can say to her to piss her off and it’s nice having that (laughing). She is also the only one who partakes in “Fat Day,” which is when we order as much food as we can eat online after we finish our finals every semester.
2. You are from Hawaii and I have heard you are a big Hawaii fan. Is that true?
Yes, oh my gosh. I love Hawaii. That is the first thing I say to people when I meet them. I say “Yeah, I’m from Hawaii,” and then they ask you a lot of questions. It’s an easy way to meet people. That’s how I met all my friends freshman year. Everybody makes fun of me because of the Hawaiian language. I use words like “pau” which means “finished.” Everyone just kind of looks at me weirdly. But I still like to use it even though no one knows what I’m talking about.
What does one do in the Hawaii Club here at Cornell?
It’s just a bunch of events that everyone can go to. We’ll have a spam musubi-making party. which is just rice rapped in nori (seaweed) with spam on it. It sounds really gross, but everyone likes it (laughing). It’s just a lot of getting together and socializing. And then second semester, all the students put on a Hawaii Club luau, which everyone can go to. You buy tickets and you can watch the hula and the Tahitian dance and there’s really good food. It’s a lot of fun.
What is it like having gone to the same high school as President Obama?
I think it’s really cool that I got to have some of the same teachers that President Obama had and be in the same classrooms he had. There’s actually a little cement block at the cafeteria that Obama supposedly wrote his name in when he was in high school, and it’s just funny to think that some little boy from Hawaii grew up and became president of the United States. Whenever he comes home, he always plays basketball in our high school gym, and one time I got frisked by his secret service because I needed to go into the locker room. That was fun.
3. Is it true that your nickname is “Panda”?
Yeah, that actually started last year during our game against Lafayette. It was lightening so we had to wait in the locker room and everyone was being kind of silly and hyper and everyone was saying what type of animals everyone looked like. And everyone said I looked like a panda, partly because I’m Asian. And I just kind of owned it after that. So now I have panda necklaces, panda stickers, a panda iPhone case. And I went to China a couple years ago, and I got to hold a panda. We decided to recreate that photo, so now I have a picture of myself being the panda sitting on my friend’s lap.
4. Your athletic trainer has generally considered your toenails a health concern. Can you explain that?
Yeah, so I have a lot of problems with my toenails. They’re actually really, really disgusting. Every year, I don’t know how it happens — probably something with my shoes and dragging my feet — they usually turn purple and fall off. So I usually don’t have toenails for a good two thirds of the year. Like right now I don’t have any toenails on my feet.
5. What are your thoughts on hiccups?
I don’t know, I have this weird thing. I don’t know what it is. It’s like this hiccup-burp thing, and everyone thinks it sounds like a velociraptor. It’s really loud and I can’t control it. It’s a really loud, loud hiccup that will just go off when other people or talking or even when I’m talking. It’s really annoying.
6. Some of your friends have commented on your excessive compulsive disorder when it comes to decorating cupcakes. Is that true?
Yeah, I think it started in high school. I got these cupcake books in high school from my mom. I make funfetti cupcakes all the time in our house and I’ll make little butterflies out of fancy molt chocolate, or sunflowers out of Oreos or little owls. It’s just a lot of fun for me.
7. I’ve heard you are a big Fighting Irish fan. Can you comment on that?
(Laughing) yeah, so my boyfriend, Robby Toma, plays football for Notre Dame. I guess I really never followed football at all before college and I really never watch. But now I kind of have to watch. But it’s really embarrassing because I don’t know anything and I never know what’s going on. So I have to ask him all these questions after the fact and have him explain it to me.
If your boyfriend gets drafted to the NFL, are you going to try harder to learn the game of football?
Yeah, I guess should. If Rob gets drafted I think he would probably pay for me to get some lessons from someone so he doesn’t have to explain everything all the time. I got the offense part down, sort of. But there are just so many rules and terms that it’s just too much. Right now I usually just repeat everything Rob tells me to my friends, and they think I know a lot about football. I guess that strategy could work for me in the future, but maybe I should try watching ESPN or something.
8. Can you name some of your favorite TV shows?
Zoey 101, Hannah Montana, Swamp People … a lot.
That’s kind of an eclectic group of shows.
(Laughing) Yeah, well I grew up watching the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. I think I just got stuck on it, but Zoey 101 is so good. I love the theme song.
Are those shows still running on TV?
Yeah! They still run on Teen Nick, which has Degrassi, too.
Where does Swamp People come into that?
Well, my sophomore year, I was watching TV with Maneesha and Swamp People came on and they have this one funny guy who said, “Oh my God, there’s the Loch Ness,” and we’ve loved it from that instant. So we always watch it all the time now.
9. You are a hotelie, right?
Is it true that you cook with a lot of spam?
Where does that come from?
That’s from the Hawaii influence. Spam is really popular in Hawaii. Everyone else on the mainland hates it, but it’s actually really good. We make spam Mac ‘n’ cheese, put spam on top of rice, or spam and cabbage instead of corned beef and cabbage. It’s good. It’s just like sausage. It’s the same thing.
If you had to, could you locate the arts quad on a map?
(Laughing) Yeah. I could not tell you a single one of the buildings, but I think it’s on West Campus … or Central Campus, right?
10. Which other Cornell team do you like to hang out with the most?
Definitely the men’s soccer team. This year, they’re undefeated, so they’re the hot team on campus. But other than that, some of my really good friends are on the team and a couple of them are hotelies so it’s always fun to hang out with them.