This paper examines practices and narratives of hustling in the creative industries. We draw on two illustrative cases: independent female filmmakers in Nairobi, Kenya, and independent female fashion designers in Toronto, Canada, with a combined 69 interviews. Taking a comparative, intersectional approach, we explore both the practices and narratives that entrepreneurial creative workers construct. In doing so, we contribute to ongoing conceptual debates regarding the contemporary nature of work in creative industries. We define hustling in the creative industries as entrepreneurially navigating precarity to build and sustain creative businesses. We argue that hustling is not merely a “stage” of work and life to be moved past or overcome, but instead an ongoing, entrepreneurial creative practice. This fact has implications for how we think about success and creative work: hustling is not a deviation from the good life, but a way of making a good life in precarious circumstances.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 08 October 2022.
- Creative work