Second Shift: How two married artists make it work

Ebbe Manczuk
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Ebbe Manczuk says about pursuing acting while working full-time.
Credit: Provided

Our Second Shift series features people working more than one job to make ends meet. This week, meet Ebbe, whose passion is acting and her husband’s passion is music. If you want to be featured, email

Name: Ebbe Manczuk
Age: 39
Residency: Bronx, New York
Lives with: Her husband
Number of jobs: 2

What’s your primary job?

I’m an import specialist for Customs & Border Protection. I facilitate trade between Customs and people who are importing products to the United States. I have to make sure everything has the right paperwork and meets regulation. Most importantly, I collect revenue. So part of what I do is collect the taxes and duty for items coming in. … I started working there 19 years ago when I was 20. They were recruiting at my college and I thought the money was pretty darn good!

You also act on the side. What was your first audition?

I’ve always loved acting, but when I came to America from Nigeria in 1995, I wasn’t thinking about it. I’m very African in the way I think: I need to know where my paycheck is coming from. But if you really love something, it never goes away. I used to read Backstage magazine every Thursday when it came out and would see the auditions, but I would talk myself out of going because I had an accent and was curvy. One day, I saw there were auditions for a play set in Nigeria and I thought, now that I can do! I came in with a fake resume, a Glamour Shot photo and a monologue that I hadn’t memorized. They looked at me like I was crazy, but I got the part!

How do you go on auditions and work on projects while working full-time?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I go to auditions on my lunch break or near the end of the day. That’s the great thing about being an actor in New York; you can walk to auditions. I save my vacation time to take a week or two off to work on something. I sacrifice that for my passion. Often I do projects on the weekend.

Does your husband work?

He’s a musician. He was a teacher until 2010, then he decided to pursue music full-time. So I work the 9 to 5 and do my art on the side and he does his art full-time. We make it work together. It’s a beautiful quilt.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



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