Brianna Karp was raised in Orange County, California, the daughter of an abusive, mentally ill mother and a father who left the family before she had any memories of him.
She got her first job at age 10, a legal work permit at age 12, and supported her mother and younger sister by working multiple jobs from age 12 to 18, when she left home for good.
She enrolled in community college and worked her way from entry-level, minimum-wage jobs into administrative and legal-secretary positions upward to an executive-assistant position at a major corporation, where, within a few years she was earning $50,000 and living a comfortable life until being laid off from her job in 2008.
Still looking for permanent work and shelter as the recession drags on, she has become a passionate advocate and spokesperson for the homeless.
She lives in Riverside, California.