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Can't Stop the Hustle

Out There

Smooth operators Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk schooled us on ‘How to Make It in America.’ But even with their own HBO series under their belts, the actors and off-screen pals insist the struggle never ends. Here, they return to their characters’ stomping grounds for a shoot at the Thompson Lower East Side

New York City’s Lower East Side is no longer the bastion of immigrant work ethic it once was. It’s now a network of rich-dude lofts and pretentious galleries. But on HBO’s rags-to-riches urban fable, “How to Make It in America” (which wrapped its second season last fall), Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk proved the LES is still a place where dreams are made—and more often than not, dashed. But only in New York City does everyone get a fair shake.

“At the end of the day, you walk out on the same street,” says Greenberg. He plays Ben Epstein, the talented-but-unfocused designer, who, with his best friend and chief motivator Cam Calderon (Rasuk), is trying to launch Crisp, a downtown denim line. “Maybe you took a private car, a cab, walked, or took the subway, but we’re all on the same streets. And that’s the thing about New York: it kind of humbles everybody. We’re in this together.”

Manhattan is jam packed with waiters who want to be actors, and actors who have to be waiters—all of whom would off a grandparent to trade places with Greenberg and Rasuk. But despite their prime gig on TV’s most prestigious network, they say the business of showbiz is never truly over. “It feels like the same grind, just a slightly different kind of hustle,” says Rasuk, calling back to his character. “For these guys, it’s for fashion, but for us, it’s acting. And there are so many people trying.”

“It’s tough,” says Greenberg, chiming in. “I know a lot of great actors who don’t work.  Sometimes it’s the best that rise to the top, but that’s not necessarily the case. In our show, it explains that you may have the best product, but it takes a lot of hard work to be successful.”

STORY Ben Barna PHOTOGRAPHY Phil Knott FASHION EDITOR Maddy Simpson

From our Room 100 print magazine.

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