Personal Stories of America at Work

Category Archives: Entertainment

Making a Career as a Belly Dancer

"Like belly dancing, pole dancing has a lot of stigma around it.”

Belly and Pole Dancer Aruna Makes A Career In Fitness Pay Off

From scoliosis patient to fitness fanatic

I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and my given name was Karen Andes. From a young age, I felt I was being groomed for a life as someone’s “lovely country club wife.” That didn’t happen—thankfully! As a young kid, I was very active. When I was eight, I led a pack of girls on bicycles around the neighborhood wearing our mothers’ high-heeled shoes. You could say those were my earliest sessions as a fitness instructor.

When I was twelve, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I was told I’d be in a body cast for a year and be bedridden.

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molly | April 05, 2011 | Entertainment, Entrepreneurs, Healthcare, Women | 5

The War-Tuned Musician

Fusion musician Christiane Karam turned to music for survival and teaches social change through song

"Whenever I listened to or played music, I was transported to a world far away from the war-torn world I lived in."

Things were very dark

I came to the Berklee College of Music in Boston when I was twenty-six, excited but also apprehensive about starting over after years working in Beirut. Most students were younger and had lived a completely different life than mine. I had spent most of my life running from my life, and not building something. I felt like I was starting from scratch. Most musicians, by their mid-twenties, had a sound. They had figured out who they were as musicians and were on their way. I started as a freshman at Berklee, with kids who were eighteen.

I remembered back to when I was eighteen and stitching up bodies in the morgue.

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molly | February 15, 2011 | Entertainment, Musician, Women | 9

How an unemployed carpenter became a reality TV star

Carpenter Paul DiMeo shines as a minor celebrity who uses major craftsmanship to create hope on the reality TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

"There are many actors who are just as good and never find work creating as they expected to create."

Paul DiMeo, Actor

Los Angeles, California

I needed to eat

I’m reluctant to call myself a star and prefer the moniker “Minor Celebrity.” And in my case, “Minor, Minor Celebrity.” And a lucky one at that. It all began for me back in college where I majored in theater with the hope of acting in dramas and musicals on and off Broadway. Television was always an option, but I like live theater; I get energy from the audience. So I went to New York after college, hustling audition after audition, and quickly realized there was no shortage of talent in New York City. Still, every once in a while, I’d see an advertisement for an audition calling for my exact talents. One called for a thirty-something male, slightly balding, who played a mean piano, sang, played the harmonica, and could juggle. I thought, “This is me!” I showed up early, assuming there were not many people who could do all that. So did about six hundred other thirty-something, slightly bald males. I got a call back but didn’t get the part.

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molly | January 11, 2011 | Entertainment, Job Search | 3

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

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