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Humble Beginnings

Whether it’s flipping burgers or babysitting, summer jobs are rarely fun, but even the most famous have endured them. Four Vancouverites talk about theirs.

Britt Black

Current job:
Musician for Stay Beautiful
Summer job:
stage crew for Edgefest ‘98 and retail assistant

She says: “At 13-years-old I worked with stage crew at Edgefest ’98 loading gear and amps. I would spend all day hooking up equipment while bands would spend an hour on stage and get paid way more than me.

“In grade 11 I had a normal job at a high-end children’s clothing store, Just Ducky, and mothers would just stare at my tattoos.”

>> Stay Beautiful, a pop rock band, plans to tour this summer. Check out the band’s website at www.myspace.com/staybeautifulmusic.

Alexis Bwenge

Current job: B.C. Lions full-back
Summer job: picking strawberries and a paper route

He says: “I had a lot of summer jobs while growing up in Quebec. I used to pick strawberries for a couple bucks a day.

“I also had a paper route. It was freezing and -40 C weather. There would be two feet of snow on the ground and school would be closed, but I would still have to deliver the paper. It was humbling and taught me there was no such thing as a mundane job. Every job has a worth in itself.

“If I wasn’t playing football I would probably be working abroad in a public service job. But football isn’t a real job. It’s fun and fulfilling when you known you’ve played well and you win. Last year was disappointing but this year everyone is hungry.”

Carole Taylor

Current job: Finance Minister
Summer job: selling hotdogs

She says: “My first job was selling hotdogs at a horse race track. It was pretty exciting for me at the time to get a paycheque. I used to make a lot of money in tips so I guess I made a pretty mean hotdog, although I can’t look at hotdogs in the same way.

“I had no idea what the future would hold. I just kept thinking that the money would be enough to buy a sweater.

“At the time, I was facing customers and it made me realize how important it was to make a living, to work hard and do the best at whatever job you do.”

Robyn Wong

Current job: Playing “Anita” in West Side Story
Summer job: Assistant Cruise Director

She says: “I used to work as an assistant cruise director, calling bingo and holding talent shows. I was 21 at the time.

“It taught me about life and how to come out of my shell. I wasn’t really social and I was forced to speak and perform in front of people.

“Public speaking was quite frightening and I thought it was easier to be seen than heard.

“The first cocktail party I threw, I was so scared that I ran and hid until the party was over.
“But it opened my eyes to more opportunities and I’m still surprised when I get work.”