Gina Scarda from Cop to Comedian

Gina Scarda from Cop to Comedian

by Sherri Daley ~

Gina Scarda’s career as a New York City police officer provided her with an opportunity to act like someone she’s not.  For nine of her twenty years on the force, she patrolled Coney Island undercover as a prostitute. She, of course, not being a prostitute herself, had to be a darn good actress. And considering the oxymoronic position she was in, she had to have a sense of humor.

Most policemen and women come from generations of law enforcement officers, but Scarda had only one family member as a mentor: her brother-in-law Joe. When she said she wanted to be a police officer, he told her to go for it.

“I think my dad would have been happier if I had become a teacher or nurse,” she says.  “He thought I was too much of a lady to be a cop.”

Her brother-in-law may have inspired her, but a friend of hers made it happen.  The friend encouraged Gina to take the test with her, they both passed, and they entered the academy together.

But taking a test is just what gets you in.  “The physical workouts at the police academy were grueling,” she says. “I’d come home in tears, and my boyfriend Tom said I’d never make it.”

That’s just the kind of thing she needed to hear to make her try even harder. “No way was I going to fail.”

And she didn’t.

Sadly, her father never got to see how truly like a lady she looked in her uniform. He died three months before she entered the academy.

Boyfriend Tom saw that he should never let this one get away and married her. They had a daughter and then a son. Her life was good; her years as a police officer were rich with experiences and personal growth.  She was
promoted to sergeant, she says she had an “amazing” career, and in 2007, she was eligible for a full pension after 20 years on the force.

Then there she was – an amazing woman with time on her hands.

SCARDAShe became a personal trainer and a holistic nutrition counselor.  She ran a food business so successfully that she was voted among the top 50 most influential women in business on Long Island. She enrolled in a stand-up comedy course, just for the heck of it.

Then she got a surprise.  She got a call from Maryann Maisano, creator of the Italian Chicks, a group of funny, talented women who perform a variety show at dinner clubs and private events.  Maisano had found her on MySpace, that precursor to Facebook, and she asked Gina if she would be interested in joining. Scarda said, “Sure.”

The first time she stepped on stage as a comedienne, Gina knew she’d found her passion.  Her tough, endearing, and lively humor onstage has made her an indispensable member of the Italian Chicks. She powers up onstage and is nothing like a cop. She’s an entertainer.  “It’s easy,” she says, “Life is funny. Just take something true and exaggerate it. Growing up Italian, being married, being a cop …It’s all funny.”

She expanded her interests to acting,currently working on a film by Johnny Greenlaw, called Mommy’s Box. “A very unfortunate title,” laughs Gina who plays the title role.

Gina has also joined the staff of teachers at the Essence of Life retreats, a program that brings world-wide travel to new levels of consciousness.  But if retreats that offer yoga under a swath of eerie Northern lights or contemplation of the Inca civilization in Machu Picchu doesn’t work for you, that’s ok.

Gina Scarda will make you laugh, and that’s worth a lot.

 

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