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Before writing The Descendants, and before indie-film-world-big-deal-director Alexander Payne turned her novel into a George Clooney movie, Kaui Hart Hemmings worked at Westword, selling classified ads. In 1999, right out of Colorado College, the Hawaii native got her first job with us. "Had no idea what the hell to do with an English degree," she says. "So that was my first real job. I was good at it, and didn't really want to be.

"Every day I called people and tried to sell them help-wanted ads. But I hated to talk on the phone, so I did a lot of faxing. I'd write these sales pitches. then mass-fax. Fuck, I'm old -- I faxed," Hemmings confesses. "I have to say, I really had a good time. Classified sales people are a cool, smart, hard-drinking breed."

"I remember that I liked her.... She was smart and more on the serious side, I think," says former classifieds cohort and current Westword senior multimedia account executive Amy Camera.

In her downtime, Hemmings kept the writing dream alive by applying to MFA programs; she eventually headed off to Sarah Lawrence. But she might not be done with Colorado for good. She's currently working on a book and script set in Breckenridge, Vail and Colorado Springs. And where better to do research for that project than the Centennial State itself?

"I'm dying to get back to Colorado," Hemmings concludes.

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Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.