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

Illustration for article titled 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.

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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.”

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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.

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

Image via Getty.

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DISCUSSION

my sister ubers on the side. the only money you get are from tips. they don’t pay you an hourly wage and you don’t get reimbursed for gas. she says that so many people don’t tip.