Second Shift: What it takes to be an actor living in New York City

Jenna Bosco
Jenna Bosco, 25, studied drama at New York University but is still waiting for her big break. Credit: Provided

We all know living in a city is expensive. How does the average person make it work? Our Second Shift series features people taking on more than one job to make ends meet. This week, meet Jenna, who is trying to make it as an actress while living in one of the country’s most expensive cities. If you want to be featured, email

Name: Jenna Bosco
Age: 25
Home: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Lives with: Four roommates
Number of jobs: 4

You’re trying to make it as an actress. What does that look like on a daily basis?

I like to remind myself that my primary job is being an actress. So every day I wake up, get online and start looking for work. There are websites and databases where you can look at all the different projects and submit yourself by sending a cover letter and résumé. The chances of getting an audition are slim to none, so the chances of actually booking a role are almost impossible.

So you need to work other jobs to make ends meet.

Right. I have four part-time jobs. On Mondays, I teach drama to a bunch of adorable 5- to 9-year-old kids in Park Slope at a place that is part of a nonprofit. Tuesdays through Fridays I’m a server at B.B. King Blues Club near Times Square. There are all sorts of different events there, like comedy shows, musical acts or private parties. I’m usually there 5 to 11 p.m. On Thursdays, I work at Bloomberg Business Week, mailing out issues and writing a summary of their top stories every week. I got it through a temp agency and it’s a very basic job, but it’s nice being in an office once a week. My last part-time job is at Pace University as a standardized patient. Basically, I act as a patient or patient’s mom to nurses or physician’s assistants to help with their interpersonal skills. So, I’ll play a mom whose son got injured in a soccer game, for example.

Are all of these jobs pretty flexible in case you do get an acting gig?

Some are, like my serving job and my Bloomberg job. But my drama teaching job I wouldn’t ask for time off from unless it was for something huge.

How do you deal with being in such a competitive industry without getting down on yourself? 

First of all, you have to remember why you’re doing it. I like to remind myself that I made a choice. I chose this. I could go do other things and work a stable, 9-to-5 job, but I didn’t. You also have to believe that you’re confident and talented enough to make it. There are so many parts of casting that are out of your control. I’ve also started using my passion in my own ways, like through the new web series I’m producing.

What is your web series about?

It’s called “New Heights” and it’s a nine-episode Web series loosely based on my experiences living in Crown Heights. I really wanted to write a Web series that was funny and relevant to being a young 20-something who is struggling in their career, especially an artistic career. But I also started looking at things going on in these neighborhoods we were living in; things like gentrification, race, class and privilege.

That’s great that you’re not waiting around to use your passion. You’re just finding your own ways to use it.

Do I think I’ll be a struggling actor when I turn 30? I don’t know yet, but for now it feels right. I like knowing that nothing is definite, and I’m just staying open to possibilities.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.


Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.


VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.


New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.


Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.


MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.


James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…


Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400


This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…


Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…


Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…


Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…