Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt area graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at email@example.com or Bonnie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having moved to Galt just before starting high school, Victoria Boxley is making a career out of a small-town lifestyle, a love of animals, and a little hairspray. Working at Disney World and the backcountry between Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon National Park along the way, she proves there doesn’t have to be a dichotomy between being feminine and being a country girl.
“I came from a town that makes Galt look big,” Boxley said of growing up in Bishop, Calif.
So her involvement in FFA at Liberty Ranch High School was no surprise, and neither was her decision to join cheer, building upon her love of competitive dance.
And these two sides of her personality continued to show through in her life after high school. After graduating from LRHS in 2015, she attended CRC to study dance, eventually opting to take a semester off to work as an entertainer at Disney World in Florida for nine months as a part of their Disney College Program.
“It was the best job I ever had,” Boxley said, adding that confidentiality agreements keep her from sharing which characters she played. Even so, she believes working at Disneyworld has been a huge benefit to her in job interviews. “Pretty much after that, anywhere you apply for a job, if you say you have Walt Disney on your resume … it gives you something people remember you for and something people want to talk about.”
When she returned home, she enrolled in cosmetology school and completed the required 1,600 hours to become a certified cosmetologist in 12½ months.
“It’s insane, the stuff you have to know. I could almost pass a medical test or an electricity [exam],” she said, explaining that cosmetologists must pass strict health and safety standards that require in-depth knowledge of everything from why a curling iron gets hot to how many types of scalp bacteria there are on the human head (34, she pointed out) and what each is and does.
But, soon after finishing, she decided she needed a break from salon styles and sought out a job with a whole different take on beauty: being a guide in the backcountry between Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon National Park with Rock Creek Pack Station.
“I decided to move to the mountains and have a guys’ job, because I would be able to get dirty and not wear makeup, and just enjoy life a little bit,” Boxley said. “It was phenomenal. I saw places that most of the world will never see.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Boxley took on the same rotating job responsibilities as the men she worked with. Some days she would wake up at 3 a.m. as the camp cook, others she would pack the mules, lead day rides, or serve as guide for longer trips that sometimes lasted for several days.
“It’s a strength thing more than anything. More than it being sexist, it’s physically demanding if you can’t throw 85, 95 pounds up on a mule that’s taller than you,” she said, shrugging. While some of her male counterparts were willing to lend a helping hand, some weren’t so accommodating. “Some of them were just like, ‘nope, you can figure it out,’ which sometimes sucks, but other times it’s like, ‘alright, I’m going to figure it out and I’m going to show you that I can load this mule by myself.’”
Thanks to her background in FFA and her experience working with horses growing up, she quickly earned a reputation as the go-to person when a horse was injured. And this proved to be another door opening to new career possibilities.
Boxley returned home after the season ended and was hired as a hairdresser and manicurist at a salon in Ione, where she now works Mondays and Tuesdays doing hair and nails. The rest of the week, she works as a large animal clinician at Hunter Stallion Station Equine Vet in Wilton.
Boxley is now planning to become a veterinary technician through the Los Rios Community College District and hopes to graduate in the next two or three years. In the meantime, she is planning her wedding to high school sweetheart Josh Windham, who graduated from Lodi High School, and enjoying the opportunity her jobs give her to tap into both sides of her personality.