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Tales From My Apprenticeship

Survivor stories from the formerly exploited.


The Bartender
“One time there was a party with a shipwreck theme, and the host asked me to dress up like a pirate. So I showed up in my pirate costume—and I was the only one dressed up. Except the host. He was dressed like a merman.”
Daniel Gentile, bartender at A Voce

The Dog Groomer
“My first week in the program, I got bitten by a Scottish terrier, which was a little scary, but I psyched myself back into it: ‘This is what I am, this is what I was born to do, this is what I want to do.’ By my fourth week, they were giving me all the problem dogs, including a giant Newfoundland who broke my table. We had to sit down on the floor to work on him. I was lying on my back trying to brush his stomach out; it was like working on a car.”
Jessica Bartha, freelance dog groomer

The Aesthetician
“My classmates and I were all itching to learn to do extractions. I had a male client who’d never had a treatment before, and he wasn’t using anything on his skin but soap and water. So his extractions were unbelievable. I’d never seen anything like it—he’d had all that gunk in his skin and now he didn’t and you could see the results. While I was doing it, my classmate was watching over my shoulder and getting excited for me.”
Angela Kell, Dermalogica skin

The Designer
“One of my first design jobs when I was a student was a nightclub. But when I showed up at the club to meet with the manager and owner, there was a foot-fetish party going on. They needed easy-to-clean upholstery material, and I made it happen. As a student, you go into every job determined to figure it out, even if it’s a crazy request. When you become older, you become less flexible.”
Brandon Lenoir, interior designer and Parsons interior-design graduate


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