UCI honors student Bria Biggs
UCI honors student Bria Biggs balances her work as a Laker Girl with aspirations to someday practice medicine. Carlos Puma

At the Laker Girls tryouts three years ago, Bria Biggs — then a 19-year-old UC Irvine sophomore — realized that, compared to other women competing for the dance squad, she was still a kid.

“I didn’t even wear makeup,” she says.

But Biggs outshone about 500 spandex-clad hopefuls with her dance moves — and her intellect — to become the youngest member of the Laker Girls, who entertain fans of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

“She scored high,” says Lisa Estrada, Laker Girls director. “The judges were impressed by her dance ability.”

They also were impressed that Biggs, a dance major in the Campuswide Honors Program, plans to become a doctor. She was as serious about her studies as she was about busting a move.

“I want to practice sports medicine,” Biggs says. “Dancers get hurt. I want to open a rehabilitation clinic for people with sports injuries.”

A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Minority Association for Pre-Health Students, Biggs enrolled in UCI as a biological sciences major before deciding to study dance. She has juggled dancing and academics – even doing her homework in the Laker Girls locker room between performances.

In addition to performing at games and entertaining such courtside celebrities as Jack Nicholson, Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio, Laker Girls practice twice a week and make frequent charity and sponsor appearances. Biggs especially likes reading to schoolchildren through the Read Across America program.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Biggs has studied ballet, jazz, hip-hop and other dance styles since age 7. At 13, she joined the SparKIDS, the dance team for the Los Angeles Sparks women’s basketball team.

She also excelled in the classroom, taking honors chemistry and advanced placement biology classes in high school. At first Biggs hoped to be a pediatrician, but after being sidelined with a hamstring injury, she became interested in sports medicine.

After graduating in June, she plans to work as a hospital intern and try out again for the Laker Girls, which all squad members must do each year.

“When we perform, the crowd is loud and the lights are on you. You feed off their energy,” Biggs says. “Being a Laker Girl has helped me be more confident, more comfortable speaking to large crowds. I’ve grown up as a dancer and as a woman.”