Homeless Journey of a Former Fashion Stylist

Homeless Journey of a Former Fashion Stylist from Kamana Shrestha on Vimeo.

Forty-Three year old Claudia came to the United States to pursue the American dream.

But her life took a turn for the worst when she lost her job as a fashion stylist for a hip hop entertainment magazine in 2007. She got evicted from her apartment in Harlem in late 2009 and found herself on the streets and homeless beginning 2010. Her journey is one of heartache. Every night she would look for a place to sleep and winded up having to sleep in every place imaginable  — from storage rooms, subway cars, city parks, to the bathrooms in Penn station and even a crack house. Her daily meals consisted of whatever was on the $1 menu in Burger King and McDonald’s.  Through it all she never gave up hope that one day her prayers would be answered and help would come.

And it did on Nov. 13 2010.  As she stood outside a parking lot asking God to help her, a woman named Liz offered her a place to sleep for the night. From that night on she ended up staying at that place for three and a half months. She moved out in March 2011 and found a room in the brownstone she currently lives in and pays rent for the first time since being evicted in early 2010. Her dad has been helping her with the rent.

Luck has not been on her side this year. She was attacked in the subway near her home in late summer. The perpetrator was never caught. In October, she slipped on the floor and fractured her wrist.  She had to wear a cast for six weeks.

Although the glamorous life she once used to know is a thing of the past, she hopes she can one day return to the glitz and glam. In the meantime she is looking for a full-time job and is still unsure how she will pay next month’s rent.


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About Kamana Shrestha

I am currently a grad student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and have an interest in International Reporting as I love to traveling and meeting new people. I am originally from New Jersey but recently moved to Harlem to begin school. Since doing my undergrad at Rutgers University, I worked for a daily newspaper, The Bergen Record where I reported on local news events and wrote feature pieces on people in the communities of Passiac and Begen County in North Jersey.

One thought on “Homeless Journey of a Former Fashion Stylist

  1. This story really jumped out among all of them. It’s a really heavy topic and definitely grabs your attention. You did a great job getting your subject to open up to you.

    A few thoughts…

    1) The story was really compelling but could have been more compelling by making it shorter. Sometimes less is more. If the story lost about :30 – 1:00, the stronger story points would stand out more. (That said, I know it can be more difficult to cut a shorter piece… More edits, combined with the dilemma of “what do I cut out?”)

    2) I think the music choice really helped support the fact that the subject was down on her luck. Like John said in class, music can sometimes be a distraction for news…. But it’s definitely more acceptable in documentary, and that’s the “feeling” I got from the visuals in your piece.

    3) At 1:14 the music bed ends. It was good that you synced the music ending to the scene transition. Next time, try having the music fade out gently and you’ll have an even smoother transition. Also, since you have a location change, you might want to use a video cross fade as well.

    Great job overall. I really enjoyed watching this. You kept me tuned in for the whole story because I wanted to see what happened to Claudia at the end.

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