from Comedy to the CIA


CIA SpyGirl Emily BrandwinWith an expensive education from Washington University under my belt, I followed the time-honored tradition of moving in with my parents. I spent days working for my father in his office and nights performing comedy at various local clubs. Armed with little more than a degree in theater and an overweening enthusiasm for daytime television and celebrity gossip, my resume’s most impressive skill was the fact that I could fend off hecklers in dark comedy clubs. I was looking for a job where I could parlay my unique skills into a meaningful career. So I took the obvious next step: I joined the CIA and became a spy. No, really. I did.

With the not-so-gentle prodding from my not-so-subtle spy-obsessed mom, I answered an online job ad for the Central Intelligence Agency. After a year and a half of job interviews, meetings with ninety-year-old Agency shrinks, archaic medical exams, mounds of paperwork and background investigations, I was hired.

What followed was a six plus year career working at the country’s most secretive organization, the CIA. My first position was as a disguise officer, outfitting spies working in the field (think wigs and mustaches). After a year in that division, I was recruited to work as an Operations Officer (aka…a spy. Think Alias but without the killer wardrobe.) My background in theater gave me the perfect foundation to work in covert operations. I was working on the biggest stage.

I was fortunate to have amazing adventures all around the globe doing work to further US global objectives overseas. During that time I was privileged to work alongside the most talented, exceptionally skilled and highly intelligent people in the country. I trained at the “Farm,” was the recipient of several Exceptional Service Awards and was lauded by the Director of Operations in a speech in front of the Agency. It was a unique time in my life and I will forever be honored to have served with incredibly brave and dedicated men and women.

After six years, I resigned from the CIA to pursue a very different career path, creative writing and performing. Now I live in Los Angeles, writing and occasionally taking the stage.