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What It's REALLY Like To Be A Creative Twentysomething In NYC

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    ElaniEngelkenOPENER
    Photographed by Heather Hamilton.

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    Millennials are arguably the most talked about generation ever. People are quick to group all twentysomethings into one category, frequently discussing everything from our failure to secure employment to our distaste for traditional corporate gigs to our tendency to hop from job to job. But, how does being a creative young person living in New York City impact the experience of trying to launch a career?

    Heather Hamilton, founder of the film production company Pennigan Productions, became particularly curious about the difficulties that emerging New York artists face. What did she discover about the lives of those working their asses off to make it? Simply: It's hard.

    Hamilton created The 20 Something Project, a web, film, and stage venture, to provide young people with a community of other creatives to collaborate and commiserate with — and to portray the often criticized group in a more positive light.

    "What I see is a generation growing up believing they can do anything," Hamilton says. "Some get pulled back to 'reality,' but others try to find a balance between the two, especially those living in NYC. Here, an artist must have a foundation in reality in order to pay the rent. You are your own PR firm, management company, and financial adviser; you wait tables or write copy to feed yourself; and then you have to make time to do what you love, which you may or may not get paid for. The fact that the artists I'm featuring do all of this and stick with it proves that their drive is that much stronger."

    But, who are these ambitious twentysomething talents? They're a writer, a puppeteer, a sculptor, and a stand-up comedian. They're a dancer, a charcoal artist, a songwriter, and a jewelry designer. Ahead, 10 of NYC's most creative young hustlers share their experiences of working toward making it to the top.

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