Moving to Los Angeles
It's the age-old question: “How did you know you were ready to move to LA?”
My friends have asked me. My family has asked me. I even asked this to some of my friends who already lived out here before I moved. But the thing is…it’s a trick question. You’ll never be “ready” to move to Los Angeles. You just have to make the decision to fucking do it.
It was January of 2021 and I was freshly out of a really serious relationship (that I later got back into, then out of again…long story for another time) and I wanted ANYTHING but to be in Memphis, Tennessee. I lived in Memphis for about 5 years while I was in college and starting my career with the NBA, and after going through a really hard breakup, all I wanted was to move. I had been a dancer all my life, and I had always dreamed of Hollywood. The glitz and the glamour weren’t what I felt attracted to though. It was the people’s drive; their determination to make their dreams a reality invigorated me and assured me that LA was the city for me. I could leave behind the pain and heartache that Memphis was giving me and completely start over.
I spent about 2 months in Orlando, Florida, with my parents, contemplating if I’d move to Los Angeles or if I’d play it safe and truck it south to be with them. I had a long conversation with my dad because I was so torn. He told me, verbatim, “If you don’t move to LA, I’m gonna be so fucking pissed.”
GOSH, CORINNE. Two f-bombs in the first page of your first blog?! Chill! (Okay, fine. I’ll tone it down a bit.)
To give you some context, my parents and younger sister moved down to Florida (from Nashville) in 2020 after my sister graduated high school, but during the absolute hardest time of our lives. You see, my dad fought stage 4 colon cancer for 4 years (winning his battle and earning his rest on September 12, 2022), so that conversation that I had with him about moving either to Florida or to California was a really intense one. I could either spend the end of my dad’s life with him, or I could go live out my dreams 2,000 miles away. Family is so important to me, so of course my instinct was to move closer to them, but my family was also so supportive of me and my dreams that they couldn’t imagine me NOT professionally pursuing dance. It was the hardest decision of my life, but they helped me make it and I moved to Los Angeles in June of 2021.
This was NOT an easy move at all…and my first steps included quitting my jobs in Memphis. I left behind an amazing corporate job at my sorority’s headquarters that led me to some of my closest friends (still to this day!) and I left my NBA dance job with the Memphis Grizzlies. It was bittersweet, to say the least.
Then came the planning portion. I had to hire movers, get everything packed, find an apartment, and actually make the move out there.
Thankfully, one of my friends from my full-time job introduced me to her sister, a professional dancer in LA who just happened to be looking for a roommate. JACKPOT. Not only did she alleviate the stresses of trying to find a spot to live in one of the biggest cities in the world, but she also became such a great friend and mentor to me as I started to adjust to the city. You know who you are, and you should know how grateful I am for you.
I also needed to find a job in LA once I moved. For those that don’t know, being a professional dancer isn’t a super lucrative career path until you’ve booked a HUGE job, like a tour or a film. Almost everyone has to have a side hustle; at least at the beginning. I found a full-time job as an executive assistant, but once I actually moved out to LA, I quickly learned that that job wasn’t for me. I quit within only 2 weeks and found a backup job at the front desk at a fitness studio. It wasn’t long though before I found a new full-time remote job that worked great with my schedule as I started to get auditions and book dance jobs.
Okay, okay. I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have to get to LA. I hired PODS to pick up my one-bedroom worth of shit and lug it across the country, but what didn’t fit in my POD was my car. You guessed it – I drove my car from Memphis to Los Angeles. And before that, I took two road trips (one to Orlando and one to Nashville) to say “see ya later” to my friends and family before the big move.
My sorority little sister and I packed up my teeny tiny Hyundai Elantra and hit the road out west. We stopped in Dallas, Texas, on night one and Scottsdale, Arizona, on night two. Approximately 1,800 miles of beautiful views (and a random tornado in Texas), including seeing some of our country’s states for the very first time in our lives. We made it to LA on June 30th and it felt like I was living the best dream of my life.
FALSE. On night one, my car got vandalized and someone stole the lock off the side of my door. WHAT THE FUCK!? (F-bomb, count 3). Well, this sucked. I took my car into the shop immediately (as I was unable to open my driver side door), and $3,000, a rental car, and 11 days later, I got my car back. Nearly half of my savings ended up depleted.
In the midst of all of that, remember that executive assistant job I mentioned? That was also draining my account. I had to pay $50 for parking every day that I went into the office. I also had to buy things for the job and wait for reimbursement for days. I didn’t have enough money to buy food. I was starting to go hungry and the amount of money that I had been saving for months was draining FAST.
And THEN…I quit that job! So I only had the part-time income of that fitness studio I mentioned. Y’all, I was damn near broke. I cried every day.
It felt like I had made a massive mistake and that moving to LA was the dumbest thing I could’ve possibly done. I had moved with dreams of being a professional dancer, but couldn’t even afford to take class. What was the point of all of this?
I called my mom and told her I wanted to leave and that this was a huge mistake. My lease was a minimum of 6 months, so I had to stay until at least December, but I told her I was going to move to Florida because I simply couldn’t handle the financial strain that LA life was taking on me. But then…
I got a call from my agent in Nashville that I booked a job. And not just any job – a COMMERCIAL for the NFL! And it was with a choreographer that I had been inspired by for years! And after that, I booked an immersive theatre job too. The auditions and the jobs kept flowing in. I thought I had hit rock bottom, but in reality, I just had to be patient and settle into knowing that what was meant for me would come for me, and that as long as I believed in myself, I could make my dreams come true.
Fast forward to September of 2021, and I got signed by my first agency in LA. Even more auditions started coming in. I also started working that remote full-time job I had mentioned earlier, which helped me make enough money to pay my bills. Everything was finally starting to fall into place.
It took me a while to start to feel like I actually fit into this hodge podge of a city. Everyone here seemed like they had it all together, but the reality was that it’s all make-believe. In LA, everyone takes it all day-by-day, but the hustle never ends. It’s a work hard, play hard kind of city. But the work definitely brings in the reward.
I had always wanted to move to LA, but if you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would be where I am now, I would have told you that you were a liar. It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve moved out here, and I’ve accomplished goals that I would have previously never thought I could attain. I’ve danced for artists, I started working with a new NBA team, I’m in a dance company, and dance is now my actual full-time job. It feels like a fever dream, but it’s real. And I made it happen.
You’ll never be “ready” to move to Los Angeles. And even when you get to LA, shit can and will hit the fan. But you just have to consciously make the decision that you’re ready to put in the work, save the money, push through the adversities, and do whatever you can do to make your dreams a reality. It’s not gonna be easy, but in the end, it will be so worth it.
You just have to make the decision to fucking do it (f-bomb, count 4).
What questions do you have about making the move to the city of your dreams?