Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke your uncle is about to tell at a family dinner after one too many drinks, but it was actually my Sunday night. New York is all about side hustles, and multiple streams of income. When you live in a city this expensive, you have to get creative.
I was scrolling Craigslist for jobs a week ago and found a position titled “Brand Ambassador” for a major event coming up that weekend. They required a resume and my social media handle. The event was the Popsugar Playground festival at the pier and it was SO CUTE!
Once I arrived on my first day I was grouped with a few other people who would all be representing the same brand. We were in charge of what’s called an “activation”, which is basically a game or booth. Just an activity you help guide guests through. Our client was major and we needed to be on our A game. I was paired with this gorgeous woman and we hit it off right away. She was tall, thin,and had the best cheekbones I had ever seen. I asked if she modeled, and she confirmed my suspicion.
This convention center was decked out. It looked like a unicorn had thrown up all over the place. The floor was covered in bubble gum pink felt carpeting, pastel rainbows everywhere, and neon signs spouting things like “boss babe” and “fiercer than you”. There were events like group workouts, celebrity panels (Chrissy Teigan AND Mandy Moore), and so many free goodies. I started to notice that 80% of the people working as brand ambassadors were attractive, fit people. This was a promotional modeling gig.
This job was for two days and paid me $17/hour. And honestly, it was pretty fun. I ran a claw machine with my model friend, and Miss Teigan’s daughter even came up to play at one point. By the end of the first day, however, I was beat. Completely spent emotionally and physically. If you think New York is draining because of the people, try dealing with over a thousand women in yoga pants desperately trying to win a prize from a claw machine. Yikes.
Once the second day came around, you could tell we were exhausted. People were grumpy and there was too much drama to fit in one post. But seriously, there should be a reality TV series about the people that work these events because seriously? It gets crazy. After they closed the event, we handed in our final papers, we snagged a bunch of Wendy’s gift cards from our Brand Ambassador friends who worked that activation, and set off to find the nearest one.
To be honest, all three of us were quite attractive people. Walking down the street came with its comments and stares. And the more we began talking about things other than our desire for future modeling work, we got deeper. I learned one girl works as a human rights lawyer and helps get women out of human trafficking, and she’s really good at law. She’s in school right now to continue getting her degree. She talked about how she came from a bad background but wanted to change the narrative and break the generational cycle. I talked about wanting to heal people, and going to school to become a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Our model friend talked about how her modeling coach in Alabama taught her how to love every part of herself to prep for an agency that will pick her apart. And she oozed self-confience and was so sure of herself. Getting to know these women was such a beautiful experience for me because it showed me it IS possible to find people in this city that you click with. Someone you can ride the train home with and laugh about the stupid people you had to deal with.
I was booked for another Brand Ambassador gig for the weekend of the 29th and 30th, and one of the girls will be there too. I’m really starting to like my life here, I feel at home.