How to Get NYC's Coolest Jobs, According to the People Who Have Them
Chances are, whatever job you’re working by day or night (or both) just to pay rent in New York isn’t making all of your friends insanely jealous. In fact, they’re probably also frantically perusing their own LinkedIn contacts for leads at this very moment. We all know that blind-applying to jobs is pointless these days, since it’s all about who you know; but what if you don’t know anyone? Fortunately, we do. We tracked down 13 people with some of the coolest jobs in the city, from engineers who create 3-D holograms to sex jewelry makers, to find out how they got where they are, and how you can get there, too.
Nomi Ellenson, boudoir photographerProspect Heights
Nomi photographs women (and sometimes men) in their underwear at her home studio.
How she got the job: “I got into boudoir photography when I discovered there was a genre of photography that combined fashion, lingerie, and celebrating the body. I had my big break in photography as a social media photographer for IMG, the producers of Fashion Week. I photographed behind the scenes and the shows. From there I worked freelance with Getty Images in the entertainment division, photographing celebrities and the red carpet. Post-Getty I was the social media photographer at Cosmopolitan.com. From there I was able to open my own loft studio in Brooklyn where the specialty is boudoir photography.”
Why you’ll want the job: “Knowing about lingerie, and viewing it as a way of supporting ourselves, runs in my family (we’ve been in the lingerie business since 1888). Boudoir photography allows me to utilize my knowledge of how lingerie should fit, and how its No. 1 priority is about making us feel good. It's about having a cool, pampered experience that's different, and I get to do it every shoot. I also get hired to photograph cool parties or shoot ad campaigns. Boudoir was the perfect photo genre, because as uncomfortable as it may be, it actually helps people feel empowered. Most women walk into the space unsure of whether they can actually do it, so I create a fun space in my loft in Brooklyn. People are spending a lot of money to make themselves look good, and a boudoir shoot is an extension of that trend.”
How you can get the job: “Be open to taking all kinds of photo jobs. The key is willingness to photograph outside your comfort zone. If you like people, still be willing to photograph stills. I worked at the Macy's furniture photo studio for a summer; furniture is not what I love to shoot, but I learned a lot about set design and photographing huge objects. Each photo gig was a stepping stone and made me more sure about wanting to show beauty of all kinds through boudoir. Also, to be a good photographer you need a fundamental understanding of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. For studio work, you need to understand continuous and strobe lighting. You also need to love the business aspect of running your own studio almost as much as the art. You learn how to do all of that by shooting as much as you can and working with different kinds of clients.”
Corey William Schneider, professional underground adventure seeker at New York Adventure ClubCitywide
Corey scours the city for hidden adventures for New Yorkers, then takes people along for the ride by organizing events around them.
How he got the job: “New York Adventure Club started out as a Facebook group that only boasted a weekly newsletter showcasing interesting NYC events -- I figured if I put together a list of interesting things to do, my friends could be more easily convinced to join me. When that didn't work, I decided to book a private tour once a week for a month at an interesting location. Since I wrote periodic articles at the time for a large NYC culture blog (Untapped Cities), I decided to write the history of one of those tour locations, and at the end, tout that the New York Adventure Club was going. When the article went live, over 100 people joined the group asking for a ticket -- mind you, I wasn't selling tickets as I expected my friends to just pay me cash. That showed there were other people out there interested in urban exploration, and it gave me an opportunity to create a physical community around the idea.
Since I had a corporate job like most New Yorkers, I had to work on New York Adventure Club in my little free time. I knew that to make this concept really work, I would need to create a large and diverse network of New York Adventure Club-only experiences. I wanted Adventure Club to represent everyone's version of adventure, not just my own. I started with organizing one event a week, and then built up the frequency from there in order to put the pressure on myself to continually add new content, and to give my community new experiences. When I started working on NYAC full time, I was able to scale up to at least five events a week.”
Why you’ll want the job: “I have an excuse to walk into any building and see if something interesting is hiding behind its front doors -- that is, of course, if I don't get thrown out by doormen or security guards first. I continue to be surprised every week, whether it's a hidden architectural gem or a tiny business doing something fascinating. The real reward is being able to create an experience around that person or place that others can enjoy. Some of my personal top experiences include climbing into the Grand Central Terminal Tiffany Clock Room, a Halloween party in a gothic crypt, an annual art show called UrbExpo that takes place in the Jefferson Market Library, exclusive explorations through several abandoned military forts like Fort Tilden, and a behind-the-scenes tour through the hidden stores and manufacturers in the Garment District. Every day is Sunday, and technically, I don't have to commute.”
How you can get the job: “Someone can have a job like mine if they thoroughly enjoy crafting relationships within their community, and are willing to put in the time to get to know the people and organizations around them. Those relationships will help generate more opportunities, to the point where all of the best events are coming from your existing contacts. To create an authentic social community, and business, you'll need a lot of time on your hands, as building trust and relationships are not an overnight process. You have to be the most optimistic person in the room -- not every opportunity will come to fruition, so just focus on what you can achieve versus being discouraged and burning bridges.”
Jason Arthur Sapan, 3-D hologram designer at Holographic StudiosKips Bay
Jason creates 3-D holograms for big-name clients by using laser beams.
How he got the job: My dad was an electrical engineer who ran a business in Greenwich Village that built technology display, like the ground floor of AT&T's pavilion at the New York World's Fair. He would bring home the latest science discoveries he was working on and I grew up with lasers and holograms from their earliest days. I never thought I would make it my life, but like a salmon, I found myself returning to the stream. My first job was working at the first ever exhibition featuring holograms at the Time Life Building across the street from Radio City Music Hall.”
Why you’ll want the job: “Clearly, working with lasers has to be the coolest part of my job -- working in a darkened environment underground with the bright glow of razor-thin laser beams piercing the air around you, illuminating the objects you are shooting with a light that seems to scintillate and be alive. It’s a surreal environment right out of science fiction. Think of Doc Brown from Back To The Future. I’m working in a technology that most people think of as magic. I often have to convince people that the 3-D objects that seem to float in the air and defy logic are indeed holograms, not real. I also get to work with big institutions and celebrities. I think the coolest hologram I’ve made was my portrait of Andy Warhol, back in the summer of 1977. Also, my interns go on to do great things. Jason Corsaro became a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer and producer who has worked with Madonna, David Bowie, Queen, and others. Another intern, John Gaeta, went on to win the Oscar for his visual special effects for the Matrix trilogy. Vince Gilligan, who also interned here, created Breaking Bad and is an Emmy Award winner.”
How you can get the job: “Self-promote on the internet -- it was the internet that really put me on the map. Use social media and make sure you get noticed. If you don't lay the foundation and do the promotion to get things started you’ll get lapped by those who will. The internet is a strange and wonderful place where even a small voice can make a big impact. Until then, no one even knew I was here. But more than anything what really helps in my work is people skills. Ultimately, it’s more than the craft you are selling. It’s you. It’s about confidence that you can take on a challenge and push your abilities to solve problems.”
Sarah Brasky, The Dog MatchmakerPark Slope
Sarah pairs shelter dogs in need of homes with prospective loving pet parents.
How she got the job: “I've adored dogs for as long as I can remember. I always hoped that I could have a job like this when I ‘grew up.’ Creating a niche role for myself in the dog-world was the perfect solution. After a year in film marketing, I left the job -- and New York -- to re-evaluate my career path. I fostered my first dog, an elderly Chihuahua, followed by a young pit bull from the ACC city shelter. After creating my blog, fosterdogsnyc.com, people began asking me for assistance in adopting and fostering. I became the go-to person for foster and adoption assistance, among friends and even perfect strangers! It became apparent that there was a need for a rescue liaison -- an ‘adoption concierge’ -- to hold people's hands and show them just how beautiful fostering and adoption can be.”
Why you’ll want the job: “I get to help people who might not have otherwise adopted, or were losing hope in the potential of bringing home a new family member. That includes an older couple who’d been rejected from a shelter due to their age, who found a sweet adult terrier whom they adore, and a young woman undergoing cancer treatments who found comfort and hope in a small furry friend. I was invited to wrangle a group of adoptable dogs for an Ad Week event last year, and brought a cool group of puppies and adult dogs to schmooze with the guests. One of those puppies was Max, a clumsy big baby who melted into people's arms. He was perfect for anyone, though in NYC it's sometimes tough to place larger-breed dogs due to apartment building restrictions. At this same time, a lovely family in Brooklyn had hired me to find them a match. They had the perfect home for a lucky dog. I sent them photos and info about Max, and within a few days, Max was theirs.”
How you can get the job: “In order to become a dog adoption expert, you'll want to spend years volunteering and learning about the organizations and services in your area. Prove that you’re trustworthy, willing to learn, and reliable, and that’ll go a long way when it comes to caring for living creatures (as well as helping in every type of career!). You should be kind, understanding, and patient. Having an empathetic approach to the adopter's needs helps to create a successful adoption. Having earned a master's degree in education and working as a preschool teacher, I try to share my message of ‘adopt, don't shop’ in a friendly, positive way. I want people to want to adopt, not to feel guilted into the process. My advice to anyone who wants a job in animal rescue is to get involved in your local animal shelters and/or private rescue groups. There are typically many volunteer opportunities, sometimes behind-the-scenes. Start learning about what your local shelters need from their volunteers, and you might learn that you have a passion for pet photography, or want to work on pro bono website design. To work on dog rescue as a full-time job, don't expect to become rich. But you'll certainly be rich in joy and fulfillment, that's a sure thing!”
Kate Levenstien, beer, bacon, and whiskey festival coordinator at Cannonball ProductionsNoHo
Kate creates and plans events centered around beer, bacon, and whiskey and tastes everything along the way.
How she got the job: “After graduating from UW-Madison at the height of the recession, I luckily landed a position in the booking and production department at The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago. When her show ended, I was unsure of my next career move, but found an event management position that I threw myself into for 90 hours a week. I’d been running live events at LivingSocial for about three years when the company downsized and closed its events division. I found myself at a major crossroads. I’d been running bacon and beer dinners that were selling out in Chicago and realized that was a magic combination. Before I even had a Cannonball website I began calling bacon producers and national stadiums. I knew we wanted to take a huge risk and go big and decided to start my own company, call it Cannonball, and move back home to NYC and open the HQ in Manhattan. Thanks to the boundless obsession with suds and grub across the country, we are able to draw sold-out crowds at our events and continue to scale the business.”
Why you’ll want the job: “As a foodie, I love tasting chefs' most inventive and delicious bacon concoctions, from kalua bacon croquettes to apple-glazed bacon confit to bacon-wrapped Oreos. I also get to explore beautiful major league sports stadiums. I have the opportunity to set my own schedule, hire an incredible team, and design our office space. Although bacon and beer is our foundation, we’re always experimenting with new food and drink concepts too, from Whiskey Feast to Yolo Taco Fest. We’ve found success in the delicate balance of sticking to what is popular and proven over time, but also taking risks and constantly reinventing ourselves.”
How you can get the job: “Volunteer for events you're interested in, email the producers, and offer to help. Trust me, most will take you up on it and you can see if it's a fit. Starting Cannonball took a lot of moxie and networking. As an entrepreneur in the events space, you can't be afraid of taking risks or thinking big, and never underestimate the power of friends and acquaintances to connect you with new opportunities. I prioritize reaching out to industry peers and staying in touch with old friends and colleagues because you never know where a relationship -- be it business or personal -- will lead you, or what it will teach you. Given our events, I tend to know a lot of restaurateurs, brewers, stadium managers, festival producers, and brand managers.”
Brett Galley, Director of Special Events at Hollywood POP GalleryGramercy
Brett works with celebrities, sports teams, and other cool people on elaborate parties -- doing everything from attending food and dessert tastings, to developing strategic partnerships for fundraising events.
How she got the job: “My mother decided to open an art gallery featuring fabulous POP art, and people immediately loved the venue and started booking it for parties. They brought in their own great décor and entertainment, and I thought to myself, we can do that. We started a décor and design division then an entertainment booking division and event planning division. We never said to ourselves, ‘how do we attract the rich & famous,’ it just came to fruition organically. When we were presented with opportunities to work with clientele who appreciated our ‘think outside the box’ philosophy, we made some great impressions.”
Why you’ll want the job: “Some of our clients are Katy Perry, Tony Bennett, Smash Mouth, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Lionel Richie, and the list goes on and on. Getting to taste wonderful gourmet dishes and desserts and going into a sound check to hear and see some of the most creative and talented people at the top of their game perform makes it an extra fun day.”
How you can get the job: “If you know you want to become an event designer, hold on to your clipboard, because becoming a memory-maker is not for the faint of heart. You need great organizational skills, a sense of humor, tenacity, and a ton of patience. There are food & beverage & hospitality programs taught at colleges, but I'm from the school of ‘dive right in and bring your best game with you to each and every event.’ Intern where you will gain needed experience -- somewhere you can design and plan events and book entertainment and name talent. The more you do it, the better you’ll understand client needs, what the cost structure is, and how to work the best deal. Rub elbows with anyone who wants to celebrate in style, from young moms planning a whimsical children's party to a bride and groom excited to start their lives together.”
Rich Garr, street art tour guide at Gotham SideWalksCitywide
Rich leads tours around the city that instructs people on all forms of street art and introduces them to the artists to learn more about their work.
How he got the job: “I got to teach film photography to kids at the Educational Alliance Art School on the Lower East Side. We would go on photo walks around the neighborhood, in and out of Chinatown markets and alleyways with each kid clicking away. One could definitely say that these were my first NYC ‘walking tours.’ I would sprinkle history and art tidbits into the walks, and the kids loved it. On other days, I was teaching adults collage art. Knowledge of the Lower East Side galleries soon followed. I started recommending places to see good art, whether it was in a gallery or on the streets. This is when my street art and graffiti vocabulary really started to grow. In 2008, I made the decision to get my tour guide license and start a business, Gotham SideWalks.”
Why you’ll want the job: “I do art walks that explore all art on the streets, but a major focus is building context around graffiti. It's really more of an art tour without pretension. Through the relationships I make while being a tour guide I'm able to get to know artists like Mast, Revs, Swoon and ELBOW-TOE in Gowanus, and Lee, Invader, Os Gemeos, and JR around the Lower East Side. On the fringes of art -- like street art and through formats like photography, architecture, design -- there's an authenticity to be discovered. And there's always excitement.”
How you can get the job: “A job like this requires you to know traditional boundaries of art history, and to have the will to break them. My masters degree in history helps, as does a penchant for open dialogue and community news. I'm also a middle child, and see myself as someone who naturally brings people together. For good art tours, rubbing elbows with folks in every corner of the art world is important. For me, artists always come first, but curators, critics, dealers, and museum folks are all important people to know.”
Darlinda Just Darlinda, burlesque performerCitywide
Darlinda performs late-night burlesque shows, sometimes in costume, sometimes not wearing much.
How she got the job: “I heard about Burlesque in 2003 when my college roommate went to Tease-o-Rama in California, and I knew I wanted to do it. It all happened by meeting the right people. I've been doing comedy improv and comedy sketch for 10 years at that point and directed two plays specifically about gender and sexuality (Hedwig and The Angry Inch and The Vagina Monologues) and I saw burlesque as a combo of those two. Getting to tell sexy and funny stories in a short format was the thing that made me say, ‘I want to do THIS!’”
Why you’ll want the job: “My co-workers are kind, open-minded, and walk around naked all the time! I live in the same neighborhood as Bizarre Bushwick where I’m a resident performer at The Fuck You Revue! In NYC, I get such unique performance opportunities -- I’ll perform with a live band at Strip Club Karaoke at The Cutting Room, then hop in a cab and go perform at The Box as a clown with a magic pussy! I get to inspire female audience members to love their bodies. In a world where women's body shame is the norm, I enter the stage with an average size body (considered large for mainstream culture). Women identify with me and it makes them love their bodies and feel sexy. That’s the coolest part of my job, making tiny progress in self-love for all women, which is revolutionary.”
How you can get the job: “Don’t be afraid to self-promote. Tell everyone what you do or want to do and any special talents you have, since you never know who's going to give you your big break. So much of it is showing up on time, knowing the right people, having the right connection/chemistry with the audience, and talent... you need to have actual talent. I got my start because I was bartending and a regular customer hired me for a gig after I told her I was a burlesque performer. I met the right people at said gig, and haven't stopped working since then. Have the kind of personality that makes people want to help -- and you gotta have moxie; this isn't a job for the faint of heart or the lazy. Make sure you rub elbows with drag queens and kings, queers, comedians, musicians, sometimes movie stars and rock stars.”
Casey McGrath, creative director for Kings of Leon & other bands as CCO at Phear CreativeFlatiron
Casey designs album covers for rock stars, directs music videos, and designs live shows
How he got the job: “I went to business school on a scholarship, majored in marketing, and quickly dropped out. Then I went to film school, loved it, moved to New York, and wound up with a job in marketing. It’s really been those two things sitting on both shoulders and refusing to commit to either that has led me here. I started my own thing with some friends I believed in that did different things than me better than me. Never having a boss was key. No one would’ve ever let me lack focus to the degree I have. The freedom to pursue what I actually wanted to do with the support of the smart people around me making sure I didn’t wind up homeless was the only way to land here. I’ll direct a feature film soon. It’s the big box left unchecked. I won’t need to leave my job to do it, because it is my job to do it.”
Why you’ll want the job: “I get to be close to creative geniuses. I’ve worked with artists like Kings of Leon for about a decade as a video director, live show designer, and now as an overall creative director. A band like Kings of Leon, specifically, they’re so at the top of their game right now. When someone like that turns to you and asks, ‘What should we do about this?’ or ‘How should this look?’, that’s a badass feeling. I get to be in a recording studio the next day listening to new music before anyone else -- and stressing out about how I can help package it up to do it justice and help people see and hear what I do. I get to create global campaigns for my favorite brand by day and sit in an empty arena overnight for weeks at a time designing a live show experience for my favorite band.”
How you can get the job: “Say yes to every opportunity and eventually someone will notice you. I had some pretty good camera chops coming out of school but worked as a personal assistant for a year in New York before I ever touched one on a commercial set. I learned a ton that year and met a lot of producers who liked me because I worked hard and didn’t think I was above the gig. When the time came for me to step up, I had their support and was able to get a lot of work in both the commercial world and live music. I also did a fair amount of work for free if I thought it would get visibility. Every now and then, the phone would ring with someone who saw my work. That’s how I got my biggest and earliest jobs. I told Kings of Leon's product manager at RCA that I was a huge fan and would do whatever they needed. He was a friend of a friend of my girlfriend’s. I had that first conversation with him 2005. In 2008 he showed up at my office with a crate full of tapes.”
Steve Cohen, The Millionaires’ MagicianMidtown East
Steve performs magic for some of the wealthiest and most famous people in the world.
How he got the job: “Jesse James said he robbed banks because ‘that’s where the money is.’ I realized early on that if I wanted to create longevity in my career as a magician, I too would need to go where the money is. Technically, I’m not a businessman, but I’ve learned to think like one. In order to feed my magic passion, I realized I needed to create a replicable model that could create a regular flow of income. The more performances I could give to good-sized audiences, the faster my reputation would spread via word of mouth. If audiences were too small, the message could not possibly travel far and wide. It was a matter of survival of the fittest. I kept that in mind and developed a show that was appropriate for that size group. The Waldorf Astoria believed in me early on, and allowed me to rent the same suite every week, promote my show, and build a real business.”
Why you’ll want the job: “You never know who might show up -- movie stars, TV icons, music idols, people we all have grown up watching. Suddenly I look out and see them watching me. It was a thrill to have Woody Allen in the front row one night. Another night, astronaut Buzz Aldrin let me use his ring in a trick -- the same ring he wore on the moon. Couples get dressed up in their finest attire and get their minds blown for ninety minutes straight. People assume that ‘magic show’ equals ‘children,’ but I’ve recreated the category and made it an adult night out. Often they’re so impressed that they invite me to perform privately in their homes, yachts, private islands. I did a private show at the Waldorf for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and that has led to many shows for the Saudi royal family, always starting at midnight. I have the best commute in show business, since I sleep at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel where I work.”
How you can get the job: “Training to become a magician is like training to become a concert pianist -- there is a lot of ‘alone’ time needed to perfect the manual technique. This requires an obsessive personality type. I'm constantly refining my previous refinements. But in addition to dexterity, the more important skill is what I call PP: ‘People Practice.’ Magic is an interpersonal engagement, and only works when there’s a living, breathing, analytical person standing across from me. I can't fool myself in the mirror! The lesson I've learned is to perform for as many people as possible, and listen to their response. I can only tell if my work is deceptive if I pay close attention to the audience's genuine reaction. I interact with some of the most intelligent and powerful people in the world, like billionaire entrepreneurs, physicists, Nobel Prize winners, US Senators, professional sports team owners, and so on. I need to outthink them before they even realize that there’s a game being played. Wealthy patrons can be very critical and will quickly see through a ‘poser’ who is trying too hard. Be genuine, and become so good that even the most discerning customer would willingly pay top dollar to see you, and still feel like they received more than their money's worth. Before thinking about how much money you'll earn, focus on perfecting and developing your offering until it is something a connoisseur would be unable to avoid.”
Ted Southern, NASA space garment engineer at Final Frontier DesignBrooklyn Navy Yard
Ted designs space suit prototypes by interfacing with NASA, with whom he has a “space act agreement.”
How he got the job: “It was quite by accident. I started working in costuming, but was more drawn to the technical side of costumes. I found NASA's Astronaut Glove Challenge through their Centennial Challenges Program by reading about it in Popular Science.”
Why you’ll want the job: “Overall, being around space suits is pretty cool -- they’re quite unique objects and have an aura about them. I've had some fun opportunities to do things like fly microgravity flights, go hypoxic in a hypobaric chamber, get in the cockpit of an F-104, ride a centrifuge, etc. Getting up close and personal with flight hardware is super fun. I feel like I’m enabling humankind in our inevitable journey to the stars. It really is hard work, and is still not a sure bet, even six and a half years in. I’ve found running my own business, especially one as esoteric and science-heavy as ‘space suits,’ means using literally every part of my brain to make things work well. We’ve worked on multiple advanced prototype space suit components over the last six years for NASA -- that’s the basis of our company. This includes pressure garment and outer garment elements, especially gloves (gloves are a weak point in space suit design, and their functionality is critical for astronaut efficiency). We also have a space act agreement with NASA, to develop a human rating plan for our launch and reentry space suit.”
How you can get the job: “I applied, lost, and met some folks, including my current business partner Nik. We tried again and won. I had an interest in enabling the human body to function better in harsh environments, and through luck, persistence, and hard work, landed my dream job. There are university programs specifically devoted to space suit design -- for instance, at the University of North Dakota. There are more opportunities nowadays than there were in the past, because of new companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, however, the market and workforce are very niche and limited, so it’s not a huge field overall. The major producers for NASA are ILC Dover and David Clark. An alternative route to this field would be through the military -- parachute riggers seem to be well suited to the space suit operations and assembly world. For me, I had no experience or degrees, just a drive and interest in the field and experience with garments and the human body. I like to say it's easy, if you just dedicate your life to it!”
Polly Rodriguez, sex jewelry and toy box creator at UnboundSoHo
Polly tests out and curates unique sex toy box sets, invents her own sex toys, and designs jewelry that doubles as a sex toy.
How she got the job: “I made a career out of understanding how to turn terrible customer experiences into great ones, first as a strategy consultant at Deloitte, working for banks and insurance companies, then at a YCombinator startup called Grouper that was changing the way we date. For me personally, buying a vibrator after going through cancer and early menopause was the absolute worst shopping experience I had ever had, and I knew that there needed to be a place in the world where women could feel good about taking care of themselves sexually and in the privacy of their home. I'd love to pretend like it's been this super glamorous path, but it's been anything but.”
Why you’ll want the job: “I spend a lot of time seeking out new ideas for themed sex toy subscription boxes based on a whole range of genres -- from BDSM to pegging to period sex. The goal is to make people feel comfortable with trying something new -- so I love finding niche interests and making them relatable. I spend a lot of time staying on top of sex trends. And beneath them. And between them. This involves constantly testing the latest and greatest products, which makes for a very... interesting dating life. Also, inventing jewelry that can double as sex toys is a lot of fun. We just launched that, and to do it, sat in a room with my team and a whiteboard for weeks, just talking through the craziest ideas, like, ‘What if you could have earrings that were also nipple clamps?’ Eight months later, here we are, with two sets of nipple clamp earrings and a whole line of jewelry that can convert into everything from whips to cock rings. Even the standard running-a-company-esque tasks are interesting, from seeking out badass investors who don't make crude jokes about my vagina to writing hilarious marketing emails in an attempt to make sex approachable and less weird.”
How you can get the job: “Grit and resiliency are the two most important traits for female entrepreneurs in our industry. Historically, the adult industry has been run by middle-aged men, and even though it's evolving, as a woman, you're still the minority. You learn when to throw punches and when to roll with them. For over a year I worked two full time jobs and would take side gigs on the weekend. I attended networking events for the free food. I was on Medicaid for a while and had less than $10 in my bank account at one point. It's important to be a part of the female founder community. Actually show up to networking events and connect with people. Reach out to the companies you admire and volunteer to help with customer service or their social media as a side gig. If you work hard and prove yourself, they'll end up hiring you and promoting you. About a year ago we created The Women of Sex Tech. We meet once a quarter to talk business, catch up, tackle problems, and share what we're working on. It's an amazing group of women who are building fantastic companies, including, but not limited to: Cindy Gallop of MLNP, Alex Fine and Janet Lieberman of Dame, Meika Hollender of Sustain, Stephanie Alys of MysteryVibe.”
Angela Buccinni Butch, wall running instructor, founder and artistic director of The Muse Brooklyn & ABCirqueBushwick
Angela runs up and down walls, hangs from ceilings, and directs and auditions unique circus acts.
How she got the job: “I started off as a performer. I was a professional dancer for years, and after performing harness, dance, and aerial work, I started teaching. I realized that giving people the ability to fly was very rewarding. I began my acrobatic training and learned harness dance while in a contract for a show. We trained in Texas, and I started getting hired for jobs that were in need of dancers who could also tumble or do aerial. Much of my introduction to this world of wall running and aerial was at STREB in Brooklyn.
Why you’ll want the job: “I direct and run our circus school and venue, The Muse Brooklyn which offers circus instruction and shows that focus on solid technique experienced through a sense of play. We often work in collaboration with live music and bands. I get to work with some of the coolest and most unique, interesting, open, and genuine people in the world, choreographing and directing circus artists. Most recently, we were commissioned to create a new act and we combined an aerial net on the wall, wall running, and bungee. There are always new elements to explore. You can really mess with perspective.”
How you can get the job: “Make sure you have foundational backgrounds in tumbling, dance, martial arts, rock climbing, and other aerial work and physical training of this nature. Make sure you have a sense of adventure, willingness to have your world flipped upside down, and look at who is performing and inquire about working with them. Learn, grow, and study with them. Also, be sure to travel: see how it’s done around the world. After one of my touring contracts ended, I spent time exploring and creating vocabulary and ‘playing on the wall.’ My path to wall running was via other dance companies and shows in which I was trained or asked to experiment on the wall for other creation processes. Through these years of other work or experimentation we formulated a fun way to teach it in a class setting. There are a lot of companies that do this, just not really in the United States.”
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