In Los Angeles, it has always been a cliché, the waiter dreaming of an acting career. Francesca Xuereb made the leap and return, during uncertain times due to the entertainment industry strikes. "It's not my dream, but it makes sense: it's about working to be able to do what you love."
It seemed like Francesca Xuereb's moment had finally arrived: after a role in the TV series The Sex Lives of College Girls and a show on the Peacock platform, her schedule was packed with meetings with producers and auditions. Who would have thought that, following strikes by the screenwriters' and actors' associations, she would return to wearing her waitress uniform?
On the other hand, Chelsea Randon, who had been acting since the age of 5, had already taken her first job at Roadside Taco due to COVID-related slowdowns. Then there's people like John Dellaporta, who never completely gave up his role as an extra but is now a full-time employee at Miceli's, the oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood. He still entertains guests by singing and receiving applause. There are also stories of screenwriters like Hillary Handelsman, who found employment at Cookie Good, a company founded by a fellow writer. And so on... These are statements recently reported by The New York Times, highlighting the significant challenges faced by those in the entertainment industry (due to recent massive strikes) with the inevitable search for new employment.
The truth is that the commotion seems to have channeled a substantial pool of actors and different creative professionals, including writers, directors, and makeup artists, into the restaurant job market, which was seemingly in a state of decline. Even a dishwasher position, according to agency personnel, has become coveted. And the awkwardness becomes palpable when someone connects the two roles, on screen and among the tables, although, as they say, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. The important thing is to keep the two lives well separated.
It's not like the old days when landing a small role from time to time, as a side gig to being a star, could be enough to support a family. The strike will eventually end, but at that point, the lines of those trying to re-enter the industry will be long, and it will take months for the first earnings to come in. So those with a steady position in hospitality hold onto it tightly. For example, Francesca, who doesn't foresee significant changes in the near future. "It's not my dream," she admits. "But it makes sense: it's about working to be able to do what you love."