How Am I Still Alive After LA?
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
When I posted my super long caption on Instagram about starting a blog, these are the first DM's that came to my inbox: Aspiring actors and actresses contemplating whether or not they should move to LA and begin their career. This blog is the story of me, the actress, who has moved to LA and returned back in one piece and my testimonials about how I survived. This blog will serve as the introduction to many detailed testimonials in the blogs to come.
When I went to Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) I was faced with a huge, huge decision to make three weeks before winter break. Throughout the whole semester no one really knew what I was going through, except for two amazing teachers I now give the title as my mentors; who helped me devise this move to LA. I moved to California on February 5th.
(First of all I will start off by saying, no I am not still in Los Angeles and Thank God.)
After leaving Virginia Tech, I worked my part-time job for five weeks while also completing my extensive research on the industry and on the art. Studying things like... how to get an agent and Stanislavsky. I always loved studying acting so I have bookcases full of the greatest acting teachers and acting methods and of course my parents gifted me books on how the industry works. My parents are in full support of what I do, however just like any parent, I know they fear the cruel world of the industry. So with as much money as I could gather (my entire savings) and a brain full of acting and industry intelligence, I moved alone to California, eager to start my career and train at the best acting studio in Los Angeles.
It is a common misconception that I do not attend school anymore. Many people look at me as a college drop-out, however, I am in year round training constantly and I moved to LA just to do so. Los Angeles opened me up to a world of training I had never before seen. I studied at an amazing studio and my commute was anywhere from 1.5-3 hours due to LA traffic.
I am from the DC area and I grew up in bad traffic. My commute to high school was sometimes an hour long. DC is nothing compared to LA. Due to the traffic and the fact that everyone is in a rush, if your car gets hit, no one will stop to see if you are okay. It is very common for someone to dent your car and speed up and pretend nothing happened. Even Lyft drivers have done this to me. In fact, the one time someone did pull over after hitting me was right after they t-boned me from their texting through a traffic light. Once they made sure their car was okay, they hid from their insurance so she'd never have to pay up her dues. My passenger side car door cost $1,000 to fix and no insurance was there to help me. That isn't even the extent of people hitting me and never 'fessing up, but those are stories for a different time.
I attended training for three months while also receiving piano lessons and running to auditions and working on sets. This was possibly the best way for me to learn about the industry... to get out there and do it. Some weekends I flew to Louisiana to audition and work on sets as well. While I was in Los Angeles, I kept extremely busy and I was constantly reading and studying the art of acting. Thanks to #MoviePass I was able to go see a movie every night for virtually free. Every single night. Yay free research! I ended up finding jobs that would pay me a very small price to go and be an audience member at the Warner Bros. Studios or to go to exclusive viewing premieres. I found a way to make everything work for me so that the loneliness and mentally taxing world of Los Angeles would not eat me up. Eventually, I couldn't out run it.
After about a month of living on the coast of California in Huntington Beach, I decided it would be a good idea to decrease my rent and move to Los Angeles. The only option I had in regards to my finances was to move into a house of 40 people where 8 people slept to a room and there were only three showers. Great idea.
The people I lived with for a month and a half right near the Dodger Stadium, were of a different caliber than anyone I have ever met. These people were aspiring actors, writers, musicians, DJ's... anything entertainment industry related, you name it. They were also all vegan. That was very new to me. Tofu. Everywhere. When I moved there I was given a boxed-in twin sized bed on the floor. I lived in this small box. Here I kept all my storage, my possessions, and my very very uncomfortable bed. I got ready in this box, I ate in this box, I did homework in this box, I cried in this box, I don't think I ever smiled once in that box. Depression crept in. I would leave the house constantly just so I didn't have to be there. I didn't end up making any friends and I lived in a very very unsafe area. Here is when I learned the effect mental health as on physical health, but like any good story, that is a story for a different time.
Living on the sunny west coast forced me into the psychological dangers of isolation, and the psychological powers of motivation. Despite the times I got fake parking tickets I couldn't afford, despite the times creepy men followed me home, despite the times I realized I will not know when my next meal will be, I never once questioned why I was doing what I was doing. I never felt the desire to give up, to turn around, or to quit. When I felt my mental health deteriorating, I found myself signing up for more acting classes, giving myself permission to fail in auditions, and doing anything to find success. I let things hit me, hit me hard, but I always knew what I was there to do and nothing would stop me. In fact, any bad experience I've stored for character development. Acting any chance I had, any place I could, was the only light shining over the deep hole I was in. I suppose that I had come to a point where I figured nothing could get worse so I just let myself fall victim to my fear of failing, and once I gave myself that permission to fail is when I truly succeeded.
Next week I will be elaborating on the topics I briefly mentioned and talk about how I've ended up surviving through it all. Let me know what parts of my story you guys want to hear the most! Comment below!