Our Second Shift series features people working more than one job and finding creative ways to make money. This week, meet an actress from Brazil who moved to New York two-and-a-half years ago hardly knowing any English. Want to be featured? Email Emily.Laurence@metro.us.
Name: Debora Rodrigues
Residency: Hoboken, New Jersey
Lives with: Her girlfriend
Number of jobs: 3
You were a pretty successful actress in Brazil. Why did you move to New York?
I had a great acting gig, but after a year of the tour, I needed to do something else. I had some money saved, so I decided to come to New York for a two-month acting-for-film class at New York Film Academy. I thought I knew English, but when I got here I couldn’t understand anything, so I ended up taking a two-month English course first. I talked to everyone to practice my English, even the homeless in Times Square. When I went back and did the acting course, I fell in love with the city. There are so many opportunities here for actors.
How are you making ends meet as an actor in New York? What is your schedule like?
I’m an actor first. That’s my passion and it’s most important to me. But besides going to school at the Film Academy five days a week, I work retail. I also do a lot of events on the side, like liquor tastings or [conventions] where I’m working with customers.
How do your your auditions and acting gigs affect your retail job?
I’m always upfront with my employer that being an actor is the most important thing to me. I try to work out a deal with them, like if I have an audition I will get someone to cover my shift. I love New York because everyone kind of has to hustle and is fighting for something so they understand everyone needs help. I’ve covered many shifts for people who needed to go on an audition. And I think that’s the spirit. You wish luck for other people and then you get good luck, too.
Is it hard for you to budget?
Yes. Actors don’t always get paid, even if it’s for a good gig. As an actor, sometimes you do a job anyway because you need the exposure and you aren’t famous enough to charge. It’s very cruel. That’s why actors have other jobs, like waitressing or retail. That way we can balance our passion with our money.
Overall, are you happy with the way things are you for work-wise or are you hoping anything will change?
I’m happy to have a job, but of course I want to live off my acting. That’s absolutely my plan. But I also love to work in different things. I think I will always be doing something else too, not just acting.
Learn more about Deborah atwww.adeborarodrigues.com.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence