All the jobs I ever had: Clara Bizna$$ of Hand Job Academy

clara bizna$$

Clara, comin’ at ya. via Facebook

Claire Beaudreault didn’t come to New York with the stated goal of becoming hip-hop’s number one authority on periods or Tumblr bitches, and yet that’s exactly what happened when Hand Job Academy’s lyrical ode to that time of the month, “Shark Week,” took the damn internet by storm. Hand Job Academy, the group Beaudreault raps in as Clara Bizna$$, has more to rap about then periods though, which we’ll all get to find out about when their debut full-length #IKEAMONKEY comes out August 26.

Beaudreault took a circuitious route to becoming Clara Bizzna$$ though, filling her resume with things like being a character at Disney World, a brief stint as a failed dominatrix, working at two haunted restaurants and even putting in time as a background hooker in Law and Order: SVU. – DC

1. Hostess at the only sushi bar in Charleston, West Virginia – 1997

My boss came to the States to be a pro boxer but sucked at it so he became a sushi chef. His teeth were all fake (because boxing) and he changed his birthday because it was originally Pearl Harbor Day. I made $5.15 an hour and stuffed a lot of sushi in my face…mostly from diners’ leftovers.

2. Sales associate, Hot Topic- 2000

The employees were in on the joke…the shoppers were not. Once, my coworkers and I all dressed as Britney Spears, even the dudes. It was like a really uncool goth/emo/metal Empire Records. The only rule in the dress code was “Don’t show public hair.” There was a basement dweller type guy who used to come in and spend hours in the dressing room admiring himself in size 12 stripper shoes.

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clara bizna$$

Just a normal day at Disney World

3. Professional Walt Disney World character in Orlando – 2001

I danced and puppeteered in a couple of parades, and I dressed in sweaty animal suits to entertain thousands of people a day. The best part was working with the Give Kids the World patients. I was “best friends” with Pluto, Eeyore, Rafiki, Tweedles Dee and Dum, some of the Country Bears, Buzz Lightyear, as well as a puppeteer and dancer in a couple of the parades. I’m technically not allowed to say I “was” these characters.

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clara bizna$$

Back in the day at the radio booth

4. College radio DJ and station jazz programming director – 2002

The latter consisted of letting CDs pile on my desk, and putting two different Sun Ra records on the turntables and playing both at once.

5. Hippie co-op employee/Waitress, haunted restaurant/Dishwasher at an upscale restaurant  – 2002

I held a handful of jobs during college (2002-2006). I worked as a waitress at a mom-and-mom hippie restaurant where everyone on the staff was high, and the building was totally haunted (I’m sure that had nothing to do with all the pot being smoked there). I worked at the hippie co-op. I worked at the hippie coffeeshop. And I was a dishwasher at an upscale restaurant (also haunted, not full of hippies).

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clara bizna$$

Serving some Michelle Williams in The Baxter realness at the temp agency

6. Front desk associate, Atrium Staffing – 2006

Moved to NYC with no job, apartment, or money. Hit the ground running– worked brunch at the Life “famous from Rent” Cafe. Went to a temp agency to get some work, and ended up working internally at the agency. When the company was doing well, they took everyone to St. John in the US Virgin Islands. The state of West Virginia literally audited me because I went from making about $8K a year to about $35K. I’d never seen that kind of money before. There was a lot of wealth circulating in the human trafficking temp business. Once when I was processing billing, I held $1,000,000 worth of checks, that was fucking trippy.

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clara bizna$$

Just being whimsical and handmade at Etsy

7. Customer support team at Etsy – 2008

Crafty! Dogs in the office. Crocheted everything. Went from a punk rock 45-employee one-floor office to a behemoth company. They sent me to Berlin, that was tight. Four years of customer support will get to you, but I value the experience. Though I don’t sound like it here.

8. Professional dominatrix – 2008

At the height of my drug and alcohol use, I decided it would be a cute idea to become a professional dominatrix. My friend was the receptionist at a dungeon at the Seaport and her girlfriend worked as a domme. I lasted a week and literally never took a client. It happened to be the week of Labor Day and the week the economy actually bottomed out. Most of the clientele were Wall Street guys. I think 2 guys came in all week, and neither picked me. Plus everyone smoked indoors and it made me sick. The girls there were librarians, political writers, Jeopardy champions. It was brief but I definitely saw a thing or two.

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clara bizzna$$

Getting ready to play a background hooker on Law and Order: SVU

9. Background extra, Central Casting – 2009

I’ve been “tattooed girl” or “hipster type” in the background of every show that shoots in NYC. I’ve been on HBO’s Girls 3 times, I was an inmate on Orange is the New Black; my pinnacle was playing a hooker on season 13 of Law & Order: SVU. The theme of fake sex worker is an arc in my story, clearly.

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Claire Beaudreault nail art

At the Betsey Johnson Fashion Week show, crouched under the makeup artist’s table, touching models’ feet

10. Professional manicurist and nail artist – 2011

In 2011 a group of friends and I did The Artist’s Way, a program of “artistic recovery.” I went into it thinking I’d go back to acting, maybe try comedy. One of the assignments of the process is to take yourself on an “Artist’s Date.” Every week I’d put it off to the last minute and the night before would paint my nails and watch Futurama and submit that as my assignment. Eventually the designs got more and more intricate, I posted them online, and soon people were trying to hire me. I didn’t feel right charging for a job I didn’t know the technicalities of, but when I left Etsy I was given an opportunity to go to beauty school and become a professional. A week after I graduated I worked on the nail team at Betsey Johnson’s Fashion Week show. I’ve since done photoshoots, lookbooks, events, and shows for a wide swath of clients and magazines. Here’s my official website, but my Instagram is actually better.

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hand job academy

Hand Job Academy, straight chillin

11. Emcee, Clara Bizzna$$ – Hand Job Academy – 2011

The rap thing came out of the Artist’s Way too! Basically I had played drums in a kind of heavy band, and had been trying my hand at country music. I’ve always loved hip-hop, but never felt like I was allowed to do it. I’ve also written poetry since I was 10 years old and been published a few times. One day, a friend sent me an instrumental beat he’d made. In the Artist’s Way spirit of play, I wrote and recorded a track. It was hilariously bad, but the next week I actually entered a rap battle and won. HJA formed not long after and we’ve had a lot of cool opportunities since. Our debut album #IKEAMONKEY drops August 26, check out our website, Facebook or Twitter for more info.

Follow Claire for nail art and lyrical inspiration on Twitter at @ClaraBiznass and on Instagram at ManiClare