So I was 21 at the time, a full time waitress at Hooters. I made great money. I worked for tips, about 4-5 days per week. My hair, nails and makeup were always on point. It was easy. Act friendly with customers, take their orders, cash them out and earn my tips. I spent 9 months at Hooters, and even gained my own “regulars.”
My trick was getting the customers to like me. Which was fairly easy. Even after messing up their orders every now and then, I still earned a decent tip just from giving a pleasant smile. During this time, I also found myself attending castings, hosting parties, booking photoshoots and videos. While modeling, the key for me was to take advantage every opportunity to network with others in the business. I soon became one of the new upcoming haitian models in South Florida, and that was an honor for me.
So how did I go from dressing cute and prissy to nursing? Well.
One day I seemed to have some sort of epiphany.
I was literally at work one day, and said to myself, “Vanessa, you’re smarter than this.” The thoughts began to cross my mind that I couldn’t do this forever.
That was enough to get me to start thinking about my future and getting something under my belt. See, I was 21 years old and a college drop-out. I only took one semester of college courses when I was 18, and stopped attending after a few weeks. So, those 4 classes that I enrolled in, I received “F.” I spent the next 3 years going from one odd job to the next. First, a legal assistant at a law firm, then a customer service rep for a windows and door company, then a call center representative for a mobile phone company and before you know it– Hooters. Sure, I made decent money out of all of the jobs that I had, but I wanted more.
My mom saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a nursing school about 20 minutes from our house. So there I went. I applied for the CNA program (4 weeks).
I said wow, only 4 weeks to become a Nurse??
Sign me up NOW! Little did I know, it was not what I thought. I learned the basic skills like how to take vital signs, give a bed bath, measure intake and output for patients with foley catheters. Anyway, I did complete the course but never went to take the board exam. I was terrified the day we entered clinicals and I saw what life would really be like working as a CNA. I don’t knock anyone who works as a CNA, but I couldn’t see myself working so hard like that. Instead, I applied for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, and the rest is history.
I fell in love with learning about the human body. I fell in love with nursing and everything it stood for. Being the patients advocate. Being the eyes and ears to the doctor. Actually making a difference and not just serving wings and fries. So I spent the next 12 months focusing on the LPN program. All while appearing in some of your favorite artists videos. Yes, thats right, I needed a way to make
money while I went through this “career change.” I appeared in many videos and worked with several artists during this time including: Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Sean Garrett, Pitbull, Wale and Rick Ross to name a few.
It was all worth it, because in the end it landed me the opportunity to make money with my brain– not just my body.