The Survival Jobs of A Struggling Actress

I am a performer in New York City. No, as the cliché goes, it doesn’t exactly pay my bills. Thus I work a long list of survival jobs. Some of them strange, some of the fun. None of them boring. Most often I work as a brand ambassador or promotional model, where the job requirements are basically look pretty, act friendly, get people excited about a product/event, pass out free shit. Some of the more interesting (and not super classified) jobs I’ve worked recently:

1 The Test to Willpower Immediately after giving up sugar for a month, I got booked a gig to promote the most famous sandwich cookie in the world. I stood in Times Square for hours, passing out packs of cookies, and didn’t eat a single one. This was perhaps the day I realized I am an adult.

2 The Fashion Faux Pas A motel chain, which certainly has no franchises in Manhattan, decided to use Times Square as the backdrop for their image relaunch. As a brand ambassador, I showed up at Port Authority before dawn. We were outfitted in black bathrobes and pajama pants, then set loose to hand out free cinnamon rolls to the denizens of midtown. Los Angeles is the only city in America where you might find less enthusiasm for free baked goods.

pjpromo
I wore pajamas on the streets of New York. Even though I was paid to do it, this level of fashion faux pas was really hard for me!

3 The Worst Car Specialist in the World I am a product expert for an all-American car. I stand around the cars, answering questions and delivering stats. No one would ever guess I do not have my driver’s license, that I have been behind the wheel a grand total of 3 times. My training to be a “product specialist” came from six printed pages and a perusal of the company website. If someone asked me how to adjust the steering wheel, I’d have no idea.

The Star Stylist I worked for an entire Christmas season as Santa’s hairstylist. It was my job to make sure the big guy’s beard looked just right, that his mustache was perfectly trimmed. I’m not kidding, I was trained in combing techniques to make his beard look perfect and full! I mean, some one has to make sure there are no cookie crumbs in it, and Mrs. Claus is in high demand during the holidays!

nyc&santa
Like any hair stylist, I totally learned some of Santa’s secrets. Not telling!

5 Wrap It Up Another holiday gig I had was gift wrapping presents. Originally I was just supposed to promote the service while a professional wrapped the presents for guests. Guess what happened when the professional gift-wrapper didn’t show up? I became a professional gift-wrapper. I painstakingly wrapped each present, crossing my fingers no one would say, “I could do a better job than this!” No one did, and now I’m actually pretty damn good at wrapping things!

nycpresentswrapped
I wrapped these myself! Not to shabby, but if I was expecting a real pro job, I would’ve been disappointed. Then again, it was a complementary service.

6 The Cheese Pandemonium If you ever work promotions, chances are you’ve worked with this type of manager: The Guy Who’s Just Over It. As a brand ambassador for a well-known cheese brand, I worked with such a man. He wanted to be done with the job as quickly as possible and told us to move the product as fast as we could. We were already passing out full-sized packages of cheese and suddenly we were shoving 5 packages at a time into the greedy arms of people in Washington Square. Every one working the job was given a case of the product to take home. I opened one package, never finished it. There are children starving in Africa and I ended up throwing out a whole case of weird cheese product.

7 The Rudolph Look A promotion for a premium “adult beverage”, let’s say. I’m the promo model and I get to model these.

rudolphmodel
Not the best picture, sorry. I’m slightly worried about product recognition.

Yes, I look like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. No, that was not the point, it wasn’t near Christmas.

8 The Foodie Dream Come True For a while I was promoting a New York news publication. They sponsored all these fantastic eating events. I would get to attend, standing behind a table and talking to anyone who approached. Often times we were the only non-food related vendor there, so people would be very befuddled by our presence. The amazing part was getting to walk around the food booths on a break, these events allowed me to sample some of the best food I’ve ever tasted- some of the best NYC has to offer!

Then there are of course the jobs I’ve devoted entire posts to:
The Time I Got Paid to Walk Around Barefoot
The Time I Got Paid to Wear a Bra in Public
Security Escorting Pro-Wrestlers
Manning a Booth at the International Motorcycle Expo
The Gig That Required Me To Be A Size Two
Almost Being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

12 thoughts on “The Survival Jobs of A Struggling Actress

  1. I was looking for 4 females for an adult diaper photo shoot for Tena 3 years ago and they had to look good in them……… two people answered both in late 50 with enough cellulite to make a slide for kids for 3 miles……I lost that gig big time and the money!!!

  2. Oh my gosh, you always give me something hilarious to read! This was great. You make me want to have multiple jobs, but I don’t think Santa Cruz (California) has a ton of random jobs like New York. *sigh* But maybe I’ll get lucky and find one. I would love to trim Santa’s Beard, pass out cookies (minus those amazing pj pants) and hand out other free stuff! Keep us posted on your upcoming jobs!

  3. I HAVE SHOVED CASES OF FOOD INTO THE ARMS OF THE GREEDY PUBLIC, TOO. Ugh the client thought they could pass out an entire transfer truck full of yogurt to a festival in Santa Barbara. Cases. Cases. Cases.

    Oh my god, you’re like the sister-in-our-not-so-holy-side-hustle I never had.

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  5. lolololol #3. And those antlers? Look at my Facebook…last year I did a kids promo at a Christmas tree lot wearing those things haha. I spent the whole time putting the antlers on puppies.

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