Chelsea Buhler, 25
The High Line
Tue Sep 22 2009
You have a sort of Xena: Warrior Princess thing going on. I get that a lot. I also have some ninja days.
Nunchakus? And that Crip's bandanna? [Laughs] No, I wear ninja tabi shoes with the split toe. The bandanna's for the heat.
What do you do? I'm a traveler. When I'm in New York, I house sit and cat sit. Opportunities keep coming to me at the right moment and I just take them.
Did you aspire to do this? No. I dropped out of high school and moved to Brooklyn. I tried to have a real job for a while, but I decided to let it all go a little over a year ago.
Did you start out with money? Not at all: Last year my youngest sister fell into my care. I was spending every penny I made, so when I left I really didn't have a cushion.
Ever think dropping out of school gave you a leg up on those of us who didn't grow up till we got out of college? Absolutely. I'm an adaptation specialist—I'll never run out of ways to make money. And I usually end up making more than people who are cornered into little boxes because I can kind of do anything and I'm willing to try anything.
Like what? Let's see...I managed a juice bar at a raw food spot. I set up sound systems; loaded and unloaded gigantic speakers all around the city. I answered the phone for a prostitution ring.
No you did not. I did. My job was to make appointments and do background checks on the guys.
Ever tempted to get in on the action? No. [Laughs]
More from Chelsea
"I had a design ripped off when I was 18 and it burned my ass. I was selling it in a store in Williamsburg and suddenly it was in Century 21. My little 18-year-old-designer heart was completely crushed by that."
"When I'm watching houses in New York, I'm pretty much given someone's apartment to play house in. I lived in the West Village in a studio for the whole summer."
"When my parents split up, my mom ended up with a black man who was one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s lawyers. I pretty much was raised by this man, who was a big part of the old boys' club. He managed the Apollo Theater. He took us little white kids under his wing and taught us in a bunch of beautiful ways."