Android digital photographs
New York, NY
I’ve been waiting to share these photographs for ten years (as I write this it’s 2023). I needed enough time to pass in order for it to be safe.
My twenties were a decade of novelty job exploration. I rejected (mostly out of self-consciousness that I couldn’t land an office job) the premise that work defined identity. But I actually secretly believed it; I just didn’t understand what I should be doing with my life, or how to be an artist. So I adopted a sort of mocking attitude towards all obligatory work, and took jobs as a waiter, a baker, a hamburger maker, a babysitter, a sitter at a jewelry shop, a healthy control in a depression study, a ticketbooth operator at Roseland Ballroom, a knock off-Mister Softee ice cream truck driver, a celebrity interview transcriber, and the voice of the elevator at Calgary City Hall.
In 2013, I took a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy and drab couple in the West Village of Manhattan. One worked on Wall Street, the other owned a diamond business. I live for seeing New York City interiors, but their townhouse was an incredible disappointment— the least imaginative approach to home aesthetics I’ve ever encountered. Black and white photographs from their cookie cutter wedding were the only pieces of “art” on the wall; in the living room, a brown leather couch was accented with a faux-distressed Union Jack pillow, because he was from England. They were incorrigible conservative preps, with no discoverable secrets or flare.
Then one day, Celeste left me a note asking me to clean her closet. When I swung open the double doors, I discovered five shelves of Christian Louboutin leather pumps, colloquially known as “red bottoms,” in every shade ($495.00 a pair). Celeste! At long last, some zeal was revealed. Because my feet are a notoriously nebulous size, hovering somewhere between a 7 1/2 and an 8 but not quite either one, I typically know just by looking at a shoe whether or not it will fit me. Eyeing Celeste’s Louboutins, I knew they were going to slide right over my soles like Cinderella’s glass slipper.
For the remainder of my position as housekeeper, I stole moments in her bedroom to photograph myself in every pair of high heels in Celeste’s collection. As the nanny watched over their two children downstairs, I got bolder and started trying on her clothes, too. They were far less interesting and a little too small. The tennis outfit was stretchy though.