The pandemic has forced hair and makeup artist Angela Ivana to temporarily leave New York City and move back home to Boston.
She typically works on movie productions, television shows, Broadway plays, commercials and print ad campaigns. She already was having a tough time before the pandemic because she lost her car and her $20,000 makeup kit — the tools of her trade — when a New York City street flooded last year.
Ivana lost a lot of income as a result, and has been trying to recover damages from the city. Using borrowed supplies, she was working on a late night television show when it shut down on March 12.
While she’s been approved for unemployment benefits, she hasn’t gotten the first check yet because the system was too overloaded to allow her to certify that she still didn’t have income.
Ivana was able to secure a $3,000 EIDL grant for a beauty-skills training business that she recently started with two partners. But that money will get eaten up quickly for business expenses, she said.
She added that she hasn’t applied for a PPP loan yet.
“There was so much shifting information about it. I wasn’t sure how it would impact me and if I could pay it back,” Ivana said.
Earning hundreds of dollars, instead of thousands
Wedding plans nationwide have been shot to hell in this age of social distancing. But Chicago-based calligrapher and wedding invitation designer Emily Rose Asher still has some work creating “save the NEW date” cards that couples are now sending to guests when they decide to reschedule their big event.
Still, Asher said, whereas she used to earn thousands of dollars during wedding season, she’s now earning hundreds. And the fact that she still has any income at all likely will disqualify her for unemployment benefits. But she did apply for a PPP loan at the end of April after trying to sort through conflicting guidance from two accountants about her eligibility.
Asher’s husband, meanwhile, still has his job. But his employer — a music retailer with an online sales platform — has already let some people go so it’s unclear how secure his job will be.
Asher says she does have some personal savings that can carry her business for two to three months, but the couple’s plan to buy a new house next year? “That’s not going to happen,” she said.
Rethinking her career
Stephanie Jeanty, a freelance stage manager and production lead at festivals like SXSW and Coachella, as well as big musical venues, lives in Brooklyn but typically travels for work 11 months out of the year.
With major concerts and other music events on ice for now, she has no work and said she wasn’t even paid for what she did ahead of SXSW, which was canceled a week before it was to start in March.