What It's REALLY Like Living in Los Angeles
When I left Memphis, Tennessee, I left behind some of the greatest friends I have ever met. One of these friends includes a gal named Emily, who I didn’t get super close with until just about a year or so before I left the city, but whose friendship I value so much.
When I mentioned that I was going to start writing a blog, Emily requested that I write about what life is REALLY like living in Los Angeles. And boyyyy…is this a topic I could write a novel about. So Emily (and anyone else interested), this one’s for you.
First things first – LA is honestly just like any other city in America. Yes, there are a lot of residents (including celebrities), tourist attractions and parking tickets, but at the end of the day, it’s just like any other major city in the country. Nashville has country music; New York City has high fashion; Orlando has theme parks; but they’re all just cities when you break it all down. And LA is no different.
What drove me to Los Angeles was the determination that people who live here have. I’m in the entertainment industry, and this is one of the few cities in America where people can actually have a career in dance and the arts. And the best part is that people in LA don’t ask you what your real job is when you tell them you’re a professional dancer!
What I WASN’T expecting was how horribly expensive it is to live in this place. All of my bills practically doubled when I moved to LA. Rent, car insurance, groceries, you name it. It all went up immensely. People aren’t exaggerating when they say this city is expensive, and I don’t think I was fully prepared for the amount of money I would have to drop once I moved. If you ever want to move to LA, I highly suggest saving at least three months of rent before you even move out here. Bare minimum.
People also tend to ask me how many “famous people” I’ve met since moving. Yes, many celebrities live in Los Angeles, but what I find most beautiful about that is that this is their home. Seeing celebrities is cool, but at the end of the day, they’re people too, and this is the city they can (try to) feel the most normal in. Working in entertainment, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many celebrities, but the experience is like meeting a major CEO of a company. They’re typically the boss, and they have a mission to accomplish, and they can also fire you in a heartbeat. If you treat them like the human they are, while still showing them respect, it’ll more than likely be a really positive experience.
Speaking of the industry, there are a lot of myths that I’ve had to debunk since moving to LA. You hear all of these rumors about how the industry is and that Hollywood is this glamorous thing, but most of the rumors are only half true at best. The entertainment industry functions like any other business’s industry does. You audition (apply for the job), get callbacks (second or third round job interviews), train and take class (continuing education) and perform (do the job). Entertainment is typically a freelance industry though, so you have to continually be looking for work. This is why many dancers and entertainers have agents. Think of agents like a recruiting company.
And Hollywood…omg. Hollywood. I hate it. First of all, Hollywood itself is just a tourist trap. The actual industry work happens on sets in other neighborhoods around LA – Studio City, Burbank, North Hollywood, etc. (And yes, North Hollywood is different from Hollywood!) But yeah…Hollywood just ain’t it. It’s always overcrowded, the parking is bad, it doesn’t smell great, and it’s pretty overpriced.
Now I know, I know…you’re probably reading this and asking yourself if I even like living in Los Angeles. I just had to get the bad stuff out of the way first. Living in LA has a TON of perks that really do make it worth living here! And yes – I do love it!
One of the coolest parts about living in LA is that you can see the mountains and the beach at the exact same time. My favorite spot in the entire city is Zuma Beach in Malibu. It’s quiet, usually not too busy, and has an incredible view of the mountains behind you while you can watch and listen to the waves in front of you. It’s something unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I love to go out there and journal, do puzzles, read, or just sit and enjoy.
Okay, now this is the paragraph that will make all of my close friends reading this post roll their eyes at me. Another perk about living in Los Angeles is that I’m just a short drive away from Disneyland! I grew up going to Disney World in Florida with my family, and it became something that, in a way, defined family for us. When I moved to LA, I moved over 2,000 miles away from my family, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, I can go to Disneyland and feel a sense of connection to something I miss doing with the ones I love most. And who doesn’t love riding rides and eating Mickey Pretzels all day?!
As for the REAL reason why I’m in Los Angeles, something that no other city can beat LA on is the amount of opportunities that exist here. Any dream of yours that you want to achieve can be achieved in LA. I feel fortunate to get to wake up each day and be able to pursue a career in dance. And that isn’t just for us entertainers; it’s for anyone. You can come out here with dreams of working at a top tier accounting firm, or wanting to become a full-time content creator, a chef, a doctor, YOU NAME IT. The opportunities that flow out of this city are reason enough to stay here!
Now, earlier I mentioned the myths I’ve had to debunk since moving here, and I have another one that I’ve proven false over time. Everyone always told me to be careful who I became friends with out here because LA is full of fake ass people who use you to move forward in their careers. Have I met people like this? Sure. But no more than in any other city. For the love of all things in the world, I was a college sorority girl in the south. All jokes aside, I’ve actually met some of the most intentional and genuine friends since moving here. I have a group of people who truly want the best for me and check in on me despite the busyness and uncertainty of adulthood, and vice versa. Reciprocal friendships can be found anywhere if you take the time to find the right people, and LA is no exception!
So there ya have it. This is life in Los Angeles, California. However, this is just MY personal take on it. Each and every person is bound to have a different experience living in ANY city in the world. I mentioned in my first blog that at first, LA was not at all for me. But in time, I grew to love the city, despite all the parking tickets and weird smells. I get to live in a city that actively allows me to pursue my dreams, so what more could I ask for at this point in my life?!
I do miss my friends from Memphis, including you, Emily. And I miss ALL of my friends that don’t live in this city. But another perk about living in Los Angeles is that it is a tourist city, and we can always visit with each other. And we do. And then we learn more about what makes LA, LA.
What’s your favorite city you’ve ever lived in?