Underemployed Actors and Artists in Los Angeles Work for Uber and Lyft

Aspiring actors and artists have long turned to the restaurant industry for extra cash, but they’ve found a far more convenient alternative: driving for Uber, Lyft, or in some cases, both.

As the New York Times reports, “over the last two years droves of [actors and artists] have gone to work for ride-sharing services...because of their flexible hours and, until recently, decent pay.”


As Krystel Harris, a 27-year-old actress, tells the Times, the typical gig at a chic restaurant or boutique often became an impediment to one’s success. “I was a lead hostess at three different restaurant,” she says. “It really didn’t allow for much flexibility at all. I ended up getting fired for going to an audition. Even when I got my shifts covered, they gave me a hard time.”

Fellow actor Carlton Totten explains that driving for Uber allows him the freedom to cultivate the look associated with his brand. He once resisted shaving “because a casting director was looking for someone with stubble” — an issue for restaurant managers who demand a clean-cut aesthetic.

However, the glory days seem already to be fleeting. From the Times:

“Two years ago, drivers for Uber and Lyft could hope to make as much as $25 an hour, according to interviews with more than a dozen Los Angeles-based drivers. Today, with a glut of Uber and Lyft cars on the road, those drivers say that their average fares have dropped from $2.40 per mile in December 2013 to $.90 per mile for most trips after Uber’s most recent rate reduction this month.”


So will “Hollywood’s new creative underclass” return to waiting tables and folding rag & bone tee-shirts? Totten mentions to the Times that he may work for Postmates, “the app-based service that delivers artisanal food in under 60 minutes and guarantees its drivers a minimum of $25 an hour.”

“You can’t live on this anymore,” says Totten. And so it’s on to the next thing — all the while scanning the casting calls.


Contact the author at rachel.vorona.cote@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.

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