In exactly one week I will have lived in this great city we call Los Angeles for a whole YEAR. Wow, I blinked and it was gone. There have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs, I have made some incredible friends and unfortunately said goodbye to some old friends as well. I got an agent, lost an agent, booked some really cool acting gigs, got invited to join the Screen Actors Guild, went to the Grammys & The kids choice awards, went an Oscar after party, The ESPYS, partied at Drake's house, attended an insane amount of club/bar/restaurant openings, wrote a webseries, & hiked every mountain in town. But it still feels like just yesterday I was packing up my car from Scottsdale & driving to my first LA apartment in Mar Vista, yet so much has changed since then!
When I first got here I was excited, so happy to be in my DREAM city pursuing my DREAM job! Everything was going so well at first, and then it wasn't & I have had to pick myself up and pull myself together about 1000 times this year. Los Angeles is mentally and physically draining in so many ways. After a year, I, like most people I know in this city, have mixed feelings about LA. The events, the gorgeous people, the opportunities that the city presents to you are like none other, & I have had ALL OF THE FUN experiencing everything I have been given so far.... OH & HELLO we have the BEACH, which is my HAPPY PLACE; On the other hand, the traffic is WORSE THAN THEY SAY, like.... INSANE. Which makes it sort of difficult to maintain friendships & relationships, the city is incredibly spread out, going to the West side from DTLA is a whole day adventure, everything is EXPENSIVE not so much like, $30 drinks in Miami expensive...it's more the little things that add up, such as the fact that parking is rarely free, parking tickets are given out the second street cleaning starts, gas is always over $4 a gallon, and rent is probably more than your parent's mortgage; which sort of makes you feel like this sometimes:
Those things COULD be a really bad thing if you let them affect you negatively- but I've chosen to see some of them in a positive light, because I know that the people in my life really WANT to be there, I know this because they just drove 45 minutes to see me just to grab a $6 latte or a $15 beer, then dropped another $5-$20 on parking and THAT is some dedication guys!
So in honor of my one year anniversary in this hot & cold relationship I've been in with Los Angeles I am going to make a quick list of things I wish I knew before moving here in hopes that it will somehow help those of you who are making the move- or even thinking about it.
* You are NOT ready to move here: Now, hear me out: When I first moved here I thought I was THE SHIT, I had some money saved, my parents had given me some Whole Foods gift cards, I found a cute beachy apartment for basically pennies & I had just signed with an agency in Beverly Hills. I didn't have a job yet but I am personable, I work hard, & I have plenty of cocktail serving experience, I would get a job in NO TIME! I thought I was good to go! WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW was that every cute girl under 30 who is pursuing acting, modeling, singing, and dancing needs a cocktail serving job- this meant that every interview I went on there were over 100 girls in the waiting room with me. Eventually I secured a job, but it took 2 months & by that time I had drained the savings that I had & I was almost back to square one. At least I still had my agency right?? Wrong. After 3 months of being out here the agency went bankrupt & I was back to submitting myself for roles and managing my own career, all while working a serving job, going on auditions, and filming the roles that I did get. Well..at least I had my cute beachy apartment right?? Nope, I ended up really disliking my roommate & moving across town to Los Feliz, and then 6 months later got my own loft downtown...yup, I moved THREE times in the last year.
*Insert Oh shit what have I done? Face here*
Now- I am NOT saying this to discourage you, COME TO LA, CHASE YOUR DREAM!! I am simply saying that there will most likely be unforeseen scenarios that will be thrown at you, so be prepared to learn how to roll with the punches.
Download WAZE: Waze is an app that gages traffic conditions by asking the people who are already on the road. For example: if I'm on the 405 and it is completely standing still, I would report that on Waze & if you were about the get on the 405 in the same direction, it would re-route you to a less congested street. It's not always perfect, but it saves my ass more often than not. It also alerts you of accidents and cops ahead. You're welcome.
Join Meetup Groups: There are tons of these! A friend of mine runs a site called Crushee.com that posts fun meetup events all the time, and there are also facebook groups for jsut about every neighborhood in LA. These were CRUCIAL for me because you get to meet like minded people and go to fun events. Creating a network and a support system is so important in this city.
Don't wait, MOVE!: If you've been thinking about moving to Los Angeles for a while now but you're waiting to save enough money or whatever- stop. Stop putting off your dreams in hopes to give yourself a sense of security in this city upon arrival. I applaud the sentiment, but refer back to my first point. No matter how much you prepare, things are going to change! I'm not saying to have to move here homeless and shit broke but I in fact know people who did that and are now fine, living in totally decent apartments and working totally decent jobs. Sleep on a friends couch, live in a motel for a week or two, if you want to move here, make it happen. It's easier to find jobs and apartments once you're actually HERE.
Learn the city layout: I REALLY REALLY REALLY wish I had done this before moving here. There's a great quote about how LA is "72 suburbs in search of a city" & that couldn't be more accurate. Please realize that the beach is roughly 30 miles from Downtown LA & between 3-8 PM that will take you over an hour. Each neighborhood is different too, which is actually GREAT NEWS because that means there really is a place that is right for everyone.
Join a gym: Or a yoga club, cardio barre, whatever. Stay in shape, because everyone else is & it will make it easier to meet people and get jobs. Plus it makes you look and feel great!
Parking: You need it. You will rack up parking tickets if you don't have it at your apartment. No one enjoys getting up at the ass crack of dawn to move their car to the other side of the street for street cleaning. If you can even find a spot at that point. No thanks.
Know when you need a break: I see a lot of my friends literally burn themselves into the ground working and picking up odd jobs and what not. I admire the hustle, it's important- especially when you're chasing an artistic dream. But know when to call it quits & drive down to Laguna & have a mimosa. It's good for the soul.
Alright my dears that's all for now! Kisses!