If We Had The Jobs We Wanted As Kids, We'd Look Like This

Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

It's a common question that pretty much everyone is asked as a kid. And for some of us, future career aspirations were a serious part of our young identities. Whether it was continually daydreaming of deep space or begging for baton lessons, it was something we took seriously.
Of course, growing up often meant growing out of our childhood dreams. Whether it was a change of interest or a realization that no one gets to be a rabbit professionally, often, those early aspirations went the way of our old scrunchies and boy band posters.
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But what if you actually grew up to have the job you wanted as a kid? We asked 10 twentysomething women about what they wanted to be when they were kids — and then, we got them to dress up like they were really doing it.
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Eugenia Copeland, Baton Twirler
"Starting at age 8, I wanted to lead marching bands in parades and have all eyes on me as I tossed the baton high in the air.

"My entire family heard my baton training, which was a lot of clattering and banging. My parents were always supportive. They encouraged me and would even tell me to show family friends my tricks.

"Now, I am an opera singer! So no more batons, but I still have all eyes on me. From a young age, I knew being front and center was what I always wanted."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Jess Dickerson, Rabbit
"Wanting to be a rabbit was, strangely, the least eccentric thing I ever told my parents as a child. It all started somewhere in-between reading Beatrix Potter (I see you, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny) and visiting my first petting zoo.

"But when I adopted a pet rabbit in elementary school, I became disenchanted with the idea, presumably because of their vegetarianism and inability to talk."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Leyna Chiang, Model
"Growing up, I was always called out for my 'non-Asian features.' I was teased, especially for my hair, and was told that I should straighten it by so many friends and stylists I lost count. Reading Seventeen magazine helped me feel comfortable being in my own skin. I wanted to be a model, because it was my way of embracing my features and to prove that being different was beautiful.

"While attending Fiorello LaGuardia High School [in New York] and majoring in the arts, I came to realize what I enjoy or like to do doesn't necessarily translate into a career. Could I imagine being an artist for 40+ hours a week? Would I wake up and be excited to go about my day doing it? That's when I started to have these epiphanies and realized that I couldn't just pursue any career or job, it had to be something I would be excited about. Being a model or artist wasn't it. And to make sure of this, I went for an open model call at...Seventeen magazine. I was so relieved when it was over."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Barbara Eldredge, Coroner
"I was about 10 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a coroner. My parents were big fans of Patricia Cornwell's mystery novels — which star a forensic pathologist. They're definitely not age-appropriate reading for a fifth grader, but they were all over the house.

"I remember picking up Cornwell's The Body Farm and reading about the brutal murder of a girl who was exactly my age. The whole thing freaked me the fuck out, but I couldn't put it down. In the end, the coroner caught the bad guy. I closed the book and just thought, Hell yes. This is me. This is what I want to do."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Yessenia Rivas, Movie Star
"I remember watching Barney & Friends as a kid and asking my mom why the children never went to the bathroom. She told me they were actors, and that's when I decided that I was going to be a movie star, so that I could act with Barney.

"Right now, I'm a third-year graduate student with the Actor's Studio Drama School at Pace University getting my MFA in acting. My reason for acting has changed but my love, passion, and drive for acting has continued.

"When I was still in high school, I went to this acting seminar and this man told me, 'If you have a backup plan, you're preparing yourself to fail.' What he said really hit me. If I let myself have a backup plan, that meant that I didn't believe enough in myself. From that moment on, I put all of my energy into achieving my dream. I know how difficult this profession is; I know how few people make it. I don't want to be famous, I don't need to be the next big thing, I just want to act."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Olivia Harrison, Farmer
"Growing up, my family did CSA boxes every season and I loved going to the farm every week with my mom to pick up our vegetables. And I was completely obsessed with playing outside. A lot of the make-believe games my sister and I would play involved us pretending to 'live off the land.' Specifically, we played one game, which we referred to simply as 'Gather,' where we were two prairie girls who, I guess, gathered stuff from the fields all day. In retrospect, I'm completely unsure why that was so fun.

"I don't remember what age wanting to be a farmer stopped, but I do remember being laughed at by someone when I told them. It was probably because they thought it was a cute answer, but I took it as 'That's a weird answer' and I started to be too embarrassed to say it. Also, as I got older, I did realize how physically demanding the job of a farmer is. There is no way I would ever be able to pull it off. "
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Claudia Garcia, Working For NASA
"When I was young, I wanted to work for NASA, not necessarily an astronaut, but someone who worked in their 'special missions' department. I was always curious about else existed outside of our planet. One of my all time favorite movies is E.T., which opened my mind to new curiosities and questions about the world itself. Plus I had a crush on Elliott and wanted be best friends with E.T.

"To this day, I’m still very much into learning about NASA and their discoveries. I read CNN’s Space & Science column daily. Right now, the possibility of human missions to Mars has my attention."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
McKenna Crilley, Dolphin Trainer
"I grew up in the Florida Keys, surrounded by tropical marine life. I loved jumping in the water and swimming with the manatees and fish. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to swim with dolphins, but never had the chance. So I decided at a young age that I wanted to be dolphin trainer, because I could swim with them whenever I wanted.

"My focus shifted slightly when I decided I wanted to be the first woman president of the United States in seventh grade. Today, I work as an associate producer in international TV for WWE.

"Though my career path has led me away from becoming a dolphin trainer, I'm still holding out hope that it can become my retirement gig. As for president, I could take the Reagan route to office (by going through entertainment), so hope isn't lost yet!"
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Kristen Martin, Ballerina
"I started taking ballet and tap classes in kindergarten, which originally planted the idea in my head. But if I'm being honest, I didn't really dream of being a ballerina until I was in fifth grade, when the movie Center Stage came out and I became obsessed with the fictional American Ballet Company. At that point, I was too old to set the dream into motion — I would have had to be training at a real ballet academy already.

"But you don't have to be a professional ballerina to keep dancing as an adult! I do still take ballet classes at Mark Morris Dance Center when I get the chance."
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Photographs by Brayden Olson, Prop Styling by Gozde Eker.
Matrika Bailey-Turner, Veterinarian
"I fell in love with the idea of becoming a veterinarian when we got our first family cat, Punkin. Taking care of her meant a great deal to me and I realized that I wanted to take care of other animals, too.

"My dreams of becoming the best veterinarian, ever, ended in middle school, when I realized not only how much math was required in veterinarian school, but also that I would have to put animals to sleep.

"Today, I work on the corporate social responsibility team at NBCUniversal. I don't get to play with as many kittens and puppies as I'd like to in this job, but we often hear about amazing organizations across the country and around the world that work with animals to create change and contribute to social impact. I'd like to believe that there's an intersection somewhere in there."
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