Emily Brandwin | Former CIA Agent & Improv Comedienne

Emily Brandwin

Former CIA Agent & Improv Comedienne

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Emily Brandwin

After spending several years performing in dark nightclubs as an improv comedienne, Emily took the next logical career jump and joined the Central Intelligence Agency yes, that CIA. While never quite achieving that sexy Angelina Jolie spy look, Emily did have some amazing adventures traveling the world. Unfortunately, Emily can't tell you where she traveled, so don't ask. She was involved in several important covert missions, but Emily can't tell you about that either.

Since leaving the CIA, Emily has appeared on Nightline, FOX's "The Independents," BBC and most recently can be seen on FX.com in a digital series for the hit television show "The Americans." She's been profiled in Cosmopolitan, St. Louis Magazine and her writing has been featured in Marie Claire, The Guardian, Medium among others. You can follow her @CIAspygirl where she tweets about espionage, CIA, Intelligence and occasionally about "The Bachelor."

Emily Brandwin
Featured Videos

Current: Speaker Reel

Time 01:52

More Videos From Emily Brandwin

Speaker Reel
Time 01:52
Quantico: The Recruits - Inside the CIA
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Emily Brandwin: Spy Training
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Emily Brandwin: The Mcgraw Show
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Emily Brandwin
Featured Keynote Programs

From Mid-West, Missouri Comedian to the CIA

What does every twenty-something out-of-work improv comedian do? Join the Central Intelligence Agency, of course. Emily Brandwin found a career in disguise and covert ops through the most unconventional route. While the CIA plucks Operations Officers from the military or the foreign service, Emily was the first spy to come from the Comedy Clubs of St. Louis, Missouri. She didn't speak a dozen languages or even harbor a burning desire to be a female James Bond. But Emily was different... very very different. It was those differences that made the CIA take notice and ultimately led to her success at the Agency. During Emily's keynote address, you'll hear her completely unique, outrageous, funny and inspiring story of how she became the CIA's most unlikely spy.

*Emily will be happy to host a post speech Q & A where students can ask questions about Emily's career, her experiences and the CIA.

The Stand-Up Spy

From Comedy To Espionage: The Unbelievably True Story About Becoming a CIA Operative

Armed with a fresh outlook and a theater degree, Emily Brandwin was ready to conquer the world. She pounded the pavement and found less than impressive work performing improv comedy in dingy smoke-filled comedy clubs. Emily's mom (a spy fanatic) found a job ad for the CIA and made her daughter a deal: apply to the Agency and she can continue to live at home...rent free. Assuming she'd never get the job, Emily applied and much to everyone's surprise, was accepted into the CIA. Sound like a far fetched Hollywood script? It's not...it's the unbelievably true story about how Emily Brandwin went from improv comedy to being an Operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. With humor and insight, Emily will tell you her story that will leave you laughing and with a deeper understanding of how the most secretive agency in America operates.

Emily Brandwin
Featured Articles & Resources

What's real and fake in 'The Americans,' according to real-life spies

Although the FX series "The Americans" has been praised for its nuance, it creates a cloak-and-dagger world where tools never fail, master plans almost always work out and the...
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The C.I.A. Doesn't Need To Be On Twitter; It Needs A Public Makeover.

My most impressive career skill used to be fending off sleazy hecklers in smoky nightclubs, where I performed improv comedy to half-drunk crowds. So I took the obvious next...
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24: Live Another Day - Jack Bauer is as unrealistic as ever, and that's ... OK

The show returns with Snowden-style leaks and drones upon drones. But trust me: that's enough non-fiction. Real spy work isn't nearly as exciting. As a former CIA operations...
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Emily Brandwin

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