Coincidence or providence?

August 22, 2019


Pumping gas on May 2, 2019, when a brother just released after 5 years in prison, asks for $25 to buy a shirt for a job interview and a hotel room to shower. My mood was unpleasant so I was trying to ignore him. However, he kept on and soon I became empathetic. Attempting to inspire hope, I gave him one of our furniture brochures, while saying that it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a similar situation.

When he saw my picture on the brochure, his eyes lit up as he said, “I know you, I know you! I saw you in a magazine, while in prison. I put your picture on my cell wall. One day my cellmate asked, “why do you have that man’s picture on the wall?” I said, “because I want to be just like him one day.”

This experience recharged me by reminding me of the impact that our work is having on others and the necessity to continue, despite the obstacles.


Apparently help isn’t coming. Pivoting from furniture to mask making
Apparently help isn’t coming.
Pivoting from furniture to mask making

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See Paul compete on Ellen’s Next Great Designer on HBOmax. 

 

 

 

 

What was my Hollywood experience like?

Very difficult if I was not among like-minded rule-breaking creatives. We stayed on the 17th floor of a tired Holiday Inn. I think we had the floor to ourselves, reminding me of The Shining with Jack Nicholson. Due to strict covid precautions, our key cards were taken. We were to stay isolated in our rooms except during filming. To ensure compliance, we had hallway police. If we wanted a cup of coffee, they escorted us down 17 floors and back. On

After one night, the creatives were having no more of that – day 2, we started planning our escape. Paranoid that mics and cameras were secretly embedded, a few of us flipped over a mattress, disassembled a room phone, and took down a few vent covers to ensure our plans or need for social contact were not being listened to. Nothing found, so nightly masked parties began in the fire escape stairwell. Not sure how it was done, but party stuff got smuggled up and past the hall police. It was the nightly storytelling and peeks into the other contestants’ backgrounds and design philosophies that got us thru long days in front of cameras on cold sets with milquetoast lunches.

 

 

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