‘It’s rough, but you gotta do it’

Constance Anderson

Constance Anderson stays in constant motion
to make ends meet

by Dwight Hobbes

Tireless tasking, thy name is Constance Anderson. She has been interning at Wellstone High School in the Minneapolis Public Schools system with a licensed school counselor, putting in 600 hours in preparation for 2011, when she completes there and will begin job hunting to start as a counselor herself.

This after spending the last three years in Minneapolis Public Schools, from which she’s been on leave, working with special education students. She does PCA work with children with disabilities part time and, with a business management degree from Metropolitan State University under her belt, she is pursuing a master’s degree in child psychology at Adler Graduate School.

Anderson also acts on a regular basis in independent films and commercials and, once in a while, models. She began in theater with a featured role in Shelter at Mixed Blood Theatre. After a few more stage gigs, she found herself in demand for modeling assignments. Indeed, where nine models out of 10 would kill to have one agent, she works with a handful of different agencies for modeling, film and television.

There’s more: Anderson’s raising a teenage son, Jordan, and adds that, all by itself, “Being a mother is a full-time job.”

All this would be a large enough workload for anyone. Toss into the mix that, though the recession officially ended last year, you can’t prove it by people’s abilities to meet prices at the grocery store, gas pump or clothes shop, not to mention simply having a roof overhead, electricity in the house and keeping the telephone turned on.

“Oh my goodness, it’s rough,” Anderson readily acknowledges. “It’s hard. But it’s, like, you gotta do it. I do little side jobs to make extra money. Things like event planning. I work for different promoters. Whatever I can to make an extra dollar.”

Naturally, she also stretches that extra dollar as thin as possible. “[I do] less shopping. Clearance, things that are on sale. If I can do without it, I’ll just not buy it. [Especially] right now, with being in school full time.”

So far as filling the tank in her car, she flatly states, “Gas is expensive no matter what. I have a big vehicle, but I usually drive my smaller car, because it’s better on mileage.”

She has her thinking cap on when it comes to parking as well. When she arrived at the downtown Minneapolis library to be interviewed for this column, she sensibly avoided having to go in her pocket unnecessarily.

Side-stepping the exorbitant fees at park ramps about which you constantly hear drivers moan and groan, getting around the parking meters about which drivers complain they get so little time for feeding the machine quarters, Anderson parked the car and sat with me near the building. As we talked, she kept an eagle-eye out for traffic control, the uniformed agents who stroll down the sidewalk or roll by in their little buggies looking for vehicles to flag.

When Anderson does shop, it’s in adherence to the adjustment she made in food-buying by switching from her old supermarket. Instead of frequenting a single store, she’ll do careful comparison of one versus another. “I kind of move around to whatever is [best priced]. Whatever I can do coupons [for] that’ll get what I need cheaper.”

As a homeowner she contends with a mortgage, property taxes and all the other upkeep expenses that renters don’t have to deal with. There is, of course, no comparison shopping or coupon clipping to help with that.

Her recourse is to move faster and work harder: “Hey, it’s about hustling.” She adds, “Most of the time it’s my student loans. I’ll have to [borrow] extra so I can make ends meet instead of just the amount for my classes and books.”

It helps a great deal that her acting isn’t merely a hobby or sideline. With considerable experience under her belt, it is a realistic option contributing to her income right along with her day job and, eventually, doing significantly more.
“I get a lot of roles, most of them unpaid. It’s more [about] the exposure.”

Toward which end she has filmed a major role in a TV pilot called TH3M and is awaiting word on whether it will get picked up. “I would love for that to be my primary thing,” she says. “Acting — I would just love to do that full time.”

Meanwhile, Constance Anderson deals with the here and now. How does she think President Obama is handling the recession? “He’s doing as well as he possibly can with the mess that he has. Everybody’s expecting him to do these wonders overnight. But they don’t realize it wasn’t him that made these problems. He’s here cleaning them up.”

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to dhobbes@spokesman-recorder.com.