Sam Rudolph, Receptionist

Photo: Jake Chessum

Where are you a receptionist?
At a nonprofit law firm in Manhattan. I seriously feel, at the end of every day, like my brain is going to fall out of my ears. I spend most of my time on the phone telling people that no, we’re not Dell Financial, because our 800 numbers are similar. I think I could do something better, but I never finished high school. So I guess I have to start at the bottom. I’m going to school at night, though.

Why didn’t you finish high school?
I kept getting sent around to rehab—my parents freaked out because I smoked pot, but once they started sending me, it got worse and worse. I was 14, I was going to do what I wanted. But eventually I turned out okay!

Do you think all the rehab starlets will turn out so well?
It’s not this rehab or that rehab, it’s a question of wanting to stop fucking your life up. Nothing’s going to bring you up from your dark place until you’re ready.

Tell me about your look.
I have alopecia, so I’ve been bald since I was 7. I’ve chosen not to wear a wig. I wore one for a little while when I was very small, but it was bullshit and really uncomfortable. It was hard when I was younger because kids are cruel, but as I got older, it didn’t matter so much what other people said.

How do you feel about being bald now?
Obviously, good enough to look like this. My mother always said my life would be easier if I just wore a wig, but I don’t want to hide who I am. Being bald is a big part of my life, and if I cover it up, it starts to feel like everything is fake.

Sam Rudolph, Receptionist