I’ve slowly been hopping around the West Coast. I’m from Bellevue, Washington and then moved to San Diego for college. My parents moved down to Mission Viejo, California after my first year at SDSU, so I moved in with them in Orange County last year after I graduated. Two months ago, I moved to Los Angeles and I think I’ll be here for a while! Yes, I am new to the city, but I know a few people who live here and have been easily making friends. Here are 11 observations from my first two months in LA. I would love to hear if you agree with any of these points or would add anything!
- It’s true: most people here want to be in the entertainment industry
“Hi, nice to meet you. What do you do?” “Oh, I’m an actor. What about you?” “OMG I’m an actor too!” “Oh, what have you been in?” “I was just an extra in this one show and had one line!” I’ve heard a ridiculous amount of conversations like this! I don’t know if I would live here if all the studios weren’t here. It’s a land of opportunity and people move to LA to “pursue their dreams”. Everywhere you go you see people filming and casually pass by major studios (I live right by Sony Pictures) and this city is basically run by the entertainment industry. Many people here, though, get stuck in other jobs outside the industry because they need to make money somehow and this industry is a tough one to break into. I think it’d definitely help for everyone to set goals and work each day towards that goal.
- Everyone uses “Waze”
If you haven’t heard of it, just go ahead and download it. There’s Apple Maps and Google Maps, but Waze is what the vast majority of Angeleno’s use. Since there is always traffic here, Waze takes you the absolute fastest way even though it might be down some random streets. Waze even notifies you when there is an object in the road ahead, when there are police ahead, or if there is a car stopped on the shoulder ahead. If you’re not already sold, I have saved one of my favorite features for last: Waze lets you “plan” upcoming drives and see how long it typically takes to get to a certain destination if you input a specific time. I love having an idea of when I need to leave my house by so I love this feature. Oh, and lastly, you can see little emoji-things of who else is on Waze around you and when they joined Waze. I always see a little “beep” icon next to them but I’ve never been able to click it! Maybe you have to be completely stopped to “beep” at someone because that could get messy…
- It’s easy to meet people and to network
I know a few people who go to professional networking events where you bring your resume and all that fun stuff but I have yet to do that. I, however, have met so many people in the most random ways. I don’t know if it’s because people are just extra-friendly here, if I’m just lucky and have some magnetic people-pull, or if I am putting out the “happy to have just moved to a new city” vibe, but it has been so easy to meet people! Some of my newer friends comprise of a girl I met in an uberpool, a “shot boy” I met at a bar, and some awesome Serbian’s I met at an 80s-themed speakeasy when I decided to go out alone on a Wednesday night. So random but you really do meet people in the coolest ways if you are friendly and open to meeting new people! Of course, all these people are in the industry/want to be actors. Of course. The majority of the people I meet are also “transplants” who have just moved to Los Angeles too, and many of them have recommended meeting people on an app called “Bumble” which I recently downloaded and may check out. Also, make sure to have an updated resume and photos because you never know when someone will ask for your information!
- People go out every night
Speaking of going out on Wednesday nights; I don’t know about where you live, but that ain’t strange around here at all. Last month when I moved here, I went out 5 days in one week! It was ridiculous, but a good and fun introduction to a new city! There are just so many freaking people in LA and so many bars/clubs that there’s always something going on! Many people go out early and are back in bed easily before midnight. I’ve been to rooftop bars downtown on Sundays, bars overlooking West Hollywood on Mondays, and gay bars playing 90s throwbacks on Tuesdays (at The Abbey, one of my faves). There’s also a crowdcasting app called “Surkus” that literally pays you to go to different events, and the majority of them are at clubs or bars. From getting PAID $10 to get bottle service at an 80s speakeasy (Break Room 86) and at a Parisian-style club with burlesque dancers (Pour Vous) to going to movie pre-screenings, a lot of my social life is thanks to Surkus! If you want to download Surkus, use my referral code “Amory” to get an extra $5 when you attend your first event!
- There are SO many different areas of LA
Los Angeles is absolutely massive. There are so many different parts of LA that are known for different things, and I still am learning. West Hollywood is where all the gay bars are at, but last week I discovered there are some “straight” bars on the outskirts. Hollywood is where some clubs are and also has a ton of “hip-hop” bars, but the area can get really sketchy at night. North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Koreatown are where the more affordable apartments are, so I’d recommend looking in those areas if you’re on a budget. Even so, sadly LA is an expensive city so it seems that the average rent is about $1200 per person! You can be in one part of LA and drive down a street and it suddenly becomes a whole new world. I was driving downtown with my friend last month by some nice rooftop bars, and then all of a sudden it turned into blocks filled with homeless people. There’s so much more to Los Angeles and there are so many different “sub-cultures” you will find but these are just my personal observations. I’m very curious what other people have to say about different areas of LA!
- People really care about their health
Living in San Diego these past few years, people are always gyming it, going to Pilates, kickboxing or whatever floats their boat. It can randomly get up to 80 degrees in freaking January in California, so you always have to attempt to maintain a “beach bod”. Moving to LA I have noticed the same mindset, but people are WAY stricter about the gym and dieting here. Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by people who are out of college and still trying to work off the Freshman 15…I don’t know. But LA is a whole new level. I’m Celiac and this is probably one of the best places in the world to live a “gluten free life” because it is a fad diet. You can find gluten free options at most restaurants, but also vegetarian, vegan, paleo, pescatarian, fruitarian, eggtarian (okay, that last one isn’t real). I’ve noticed even when it comes to drinking, the majority of people are cautious of the calories and an extremely popular drink here is Tito’s Vodka + Soda Water because it is gluten free and has minimal calories. Lastly, no matter how much someone may work during the week, they squeeze in working out because you never know when you’ll land an audition for some modeling gig or have a beach day. Speaking of which, I need to find a gym pronto.
- You won’t casually bump into movie stars
I mean, yes, it can happen. But you won’t be strolling down the street and see Jennifer Lawrence walk right past you then look into a coffee shop and see Paul Rudd. These stars are either busy filming or with press, or they are in disguise and don’t want to be found. I can’t imagine trying to do something like use a mall restroom and the paparazzi following you into the bathroom. Although it’s rare to casually bump into movie stars, there are so many events where you can see them! Red carpet premieres are usually open to the public so fans can watch from the stands/behind a barricade as all the stars roll up in their cars and come and greet the fans. I went to one for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in front of the El Capitan Theatre a few weeks ago and it was so fun, but very tiring! It’s so fun seeing cars pull up and wondering which actor was going to get out next. I find out about all these events from this amazing website right here.
- It ain’t as glamorous as you think it is
I’d already been to LA plenty of times before I moved here, so I knew what to expect look-wise. Yes, there are many beautiful parts of Los Angeles, but there are some not-so-beautiful parts also. There are so many freeways and one wrong exit can lead you straight into Compton (been there, done that). Besides having so many different areas of Los Angeles as I talked about on #5, some places you expect to be nice just aren’t nice at all. People expect to come to Hollywood and see stars walking down the street, wearing the trendiest outfit, shooting a movie scene. Well sorry to break it to you, but we aren’t living in a 1930s or 40s Hollywood film. Hollywood Blvd is filled with character impersonators, people shoving their CD’s in your face, and tourists taking pictures with the Walk of Fame stars and Chinese Theatre hand & footprints. I’m not saying this is bad; it is extremely entertaining. It’s just that most people’s perception is pretty off and they expect more. Television tapings also may be more “fake” than you expected, with signs telling the audience to laugh and with cue cards. They are still fun as hell though and it is another great way to see stars, plus they are always free! Just look at these ticketing companies here and here.
- There’s always something to do
The possibilities are endless. I personally go to this site and Thrillist to find out what events are going on in Los Angeles each day, week and month. Free museum days, “First Friday” events, Beer festivals, concerts and more. “We Like LA” also partners with many events/websites to give you discounted tickets so check them out! I got tickets to “Thrones! The Musical Parody” half-off, which was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen.
- Age doesn’t matter here
I don’t even know how old a few of my newer friends are; it just seems to be irrelevant. I’ve met many people who are around 28 years old and who are about to go and complete their Bachelor’s. I’ve met other people even in their 30’s who aren’t even remotely worried about getting married or even finding a full-time job; they’re just going with the flow of life. That’s what people seem to do here: GO WITH THE FLOW OF LIFE. It’s exactly my vibe. It’s never too late to change your career and you can do anything you want at any age, so “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.
So those are 11 observations from my first two months of living in Los Angeles, California. To sum it up: I love it here even though it’s crowded. It has a high cost of living but always has things to do. If you have any questions about LA or would like to come visit, feel free to contact me anytime! Hasta la vista, baby.