I come from a hospitality background, so when I found out there was good money to be made working both the front and back of house of NYC's lavish parties I hopped on the cater waiter/cook train. Nothing says "we're rich" like renting out the entire battleship Intrepid for your spoiled son's bar mitzvah, but I'd be happy to slap on a houndstooth shirt, clip on bow tie and a smile and slop drinks at you for $20 an hour! Now, beyond your boring, run of the mill birthday and wedding parties, the bachelorette party industry is booming in this city. And what better way to celebrate your impending nuptials by hiring a handsome butler to serve drinks (either on his abs or on a tray) in nothing but his collar, cuffs and a skimpy apron. When I found out that my potential pay was inversely related to the amount of clothes I was wearing, there was no going back.
I realized if I wanted to shamelessly self promote in this city I would need some flattering images of myself so I partnered with some like minded amateur photographers and had some fun. The thing about New York is that if you're flopping around the West Village in a speedo and antique scuba gear half of the passers by will not even blink and the rest will want a picture with you. After a couple of free modeling gigs I was approached by somebody who actually wanted to pay me to look pretty whilst wearing their headphones. Gladly. I'd like to think that I'm the kind of person with enough integrity not to sell out (I'm not) but damn it's good money. New York is all about networking and it didn't take long before a friend of a co worker who heard about me from their hairdresser called me up because he needed someone to paint green for a photo shoot. Okay. Gladly. And you're gonna feed me and have a professional photographer document it? Be my guest. I was lucky enough to stumble into a starring role in the Paisley Field's premier gay country music video Then there was that time I was a video ho for drag superstar Mimi Imfurst. The next logical step was to break into film and television via the glamorous route of background extra artistry.
All of those people you see walking down the street or filling the space behind your favorite sitcom actors are an elite group of folks who make a living (or try to) as an illustrious background actor. It's incredibly easy work, you're essentially getting paid to blend into the scene; ND, meaning non-descript is the goal. I've spent a fair amount of my time in this city getting to dress up in 80s gear and pretending to dance to music that isn't playing (Carrie Diaries) or acting out my military fantasies on Alpha House. It's like getting paid to play make believe. It's awesome. After cutting my teeth on a few BG jobs I thought it'd be fun to take the spotlight, so when I saw that The Curious Cook was looking for a co-host (thanks Craigslist!) I was floored. Cooking skills? Check. Homosexual tendencies? Check. Rocking bod and a killer smile? Double check. And I figured I'd just fake the whole hosting/acting bit until I made it. I've had a blast on all of these sets but The Curious Cook is by far my favorite opportunity that had presented itself in the Big Apple that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else.
I moved here from Iowa, which claims the motto "Fields of Opportunities," but that state doesn't have squat on NYC. People will literally pay you to do anything in this city, and while some are creepy and would be best to avoid (I speak from experience) most folks are genuinely happy to throw a few bucks your way to stand on a street corner in high waisted acid washed jeans on camera. I love it. The opportunities are what won me over about this city; it might smell like hot trash in the summer and be completely devoid of trees, critters and natural beauty but I'll be damned if it isn't exciting and there wasn't always something to do for a buck.