Why a NYC Actress Fell in Love with LA
Los Angeles has been treating me real nice as of late! I've gotten to work with some really wonderful photographers while being here in this short month and a half. It feels like I've lived here my whole life yet I'm brand new to the city. For two years in NYC (and don't get me wrong there's a definite soft spot in my heart for NY) I yearned to feel at home, to feel a purpose there, to have peace and it never really happened. After a while I was content with the fact that it was my home but I didn't have to love it. That sometimes God calls us to places that don't feel right or make us feel uncomfortable. And that sometimes there just as much a part of the journey as the places that make us feel at rest. LA does that for me! I definitely don't miss the crazy hustle and grind of NYC. Yes, it helps you be productive but I'm a pretty productive person on my own. I didn't like constantly feeling stressed, closterphobic on the subways, COLD...let me say that again...COLD! Maybe my least favorite thing about living in NY. Yes, with the right gear it can be fine but when your standing outside with 50 other actors at 5 am at an open call you start to rethink life and your love for the winter.
Here's a few things I've discovered about why I LOVE living in Los Angeles vs. living in NYC as an Actor:
1) THE WEATHER MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Some people love the cold and other people hate the cold but tolerate it and then the last group...the one I'm in is the group of people who hate the cold and it affects their happiness! Sound dramatic? Maybe so but weather can be such a huge factor in your mood or spirit; especially when you have that same weather 8 months out of the year! And yep, I'm referring to New York. Most of my NYC friends love when it snows...honestly, it's so pretty but I hate the aftermath of snow. Slushing through it; getting my apartment wet, pushing strollers through the slush. Yeah I'm not a fan. I can't tell you how much my mood changed just by the change in weather when I moved to LA. Yes, it's bright and sunny and the 70 degree weather can't be beat but time also feels a little stagnant. I had a friend tell me recently that it's hard to track time during the year because the seasons don't really change. So I think I'll miss the fall and spring of NYC. Those are definitely my favorite months there but although I'll miss the leaves dropping nothing beats a more positive atittude/everyday routine like the weather in LA.
2) THE PEOPLE: I learned very quickly after living in NYC that people are blunt but NOT rude! Ok, some people are rude. There are rude people EVERYWHERE but I learned the difference between southern hospitality and just being nice. You don't know southern hospitality till you've lived in the south and you only realize how real it actually is when you leave the south. Upon moving to NYC I realized that New Yorkers are generally nice. They are helpful when you're lost; they take of each other in times of crisis but don't expect a long answer or conversation when you're on the go. Although I learned to appreciate it and understand the hustle of New Yorker's lives I prefer the laid back and down to earth mantra of Californians. I like that the city doesn't feel as daunting as NYC because although there's tons of people that live here it's spread out so it doesn't feel like your one in a million. When you're surrounded by skyscrapers and you encounter hundreds of people a day in a city like NYC you can easily feel small and alone. In Los Angeles, although I have a small friend group, I've never felt more content with my schedule, my community, and my life. Although my favorite person isn't here...my hubby; I've learned to find joy in my own path separate from marriage. That has been something I've struggled with in the past. In the past two years I've really struggled to hold it together when Chris get's a theatre gig that takes him away from me. I tend to get very depressed and I shut down and eat lots of cookie dough! I always chalked it up to being in love and missing my hubby, which is definitely part of it, but as time goes on and life in LA continues to feel in step with God's plan I realized that owning my own individuality outside of marriage is a choice. I have to be content with not just what God gives Chris and I but also what he gives me, the good and the bad. No person, although Chris brings me such joy can fulfill you fully.
3) THE ACTING INDUSTRY: The LA acting industry is similar in a lot of ways to NYC and SOOO different in others. As an actress who auditioned for mainly theatre in NYC; I was getting up at 4 or 5 am most mornings to attend an open call (Equity Principal Audition or EPA) audition to be exact. I would get there between 5:30 or 6:30 am and wait in a line for hours to be seen for a one minute monologue. Don't get me wrong I have a huge respect for people who drill it out every day and year to be at every EPA their right for but for me it zapped my energy and burned me out. In Los Angeles it's really hard to get any kind of noteworthy audition without an agent which is different than how it works in NYC. You can easily get into theatre auditions without representation but getting into film and tv auditions is a whole other story; especially here in LA. So my suggestion to anyone coming out to LA is to focus on getting content for your reel, getting in front of casting directors by taking classes with them, and get involved with your local theatre. The representation comes with time and to focus on that right off the bat can really deter you from making any real progress.
4) EVERYDAY LIFE: While living in NYC everyday life was no picnic especially in those brutal winter months. Going to get groceries and running to the bank becomes such a big event during the day. I had to math out a certain amount of time to make sure I could get on the right train or walk 15 blocks to Trader Joe's and get my grocery home in a Lyft, and I haven't even mentioned getting them up flights of stairs into my apartment. I loved NYC and all the magic that goes into that crazy playground but everyday is definitely easier in Los Angeles. For me I prefer the simpler, calmer daily life of living in LA! Besides the traffic it's just so nice to be able to run errands and do it without dreading the snow and trying to make a train. For me, the ease of my daily routine results in a happier more positive attitude in other aspects of my life like my acting career. I find myself feeling less stressed so I can focus and be passionate about my goals as an actress.
5) FOR THE STRAIGHT ACTOR: For the straight actor this really is the perfect place to be! But NYC is really thriving right now in television so I won't say that NYC isn't the place; there's tons of work in both cities for straight actors but for me LA fits so much better. I felt so small and looked over in a lot of my auditions when competing with musical theatre actors for straight play auditions. Meaning, there's just so much more work for all types of actors that the pool of people is so huge! That was tough; I felt unsure of where I fit in the city as a straight actor who just wants to work in film in nothing else. Here in LA I've never felt more empowered to create content, write something and direct with other actors, and work with my community of people. I'm so inspired by the creative outlet that this city holds. There's so much new work and films being created here that it's contagious. It's a great place to thrive as a straight actor and I couldn't feel more at home.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on LA vs. NYC and my perspective on both cities. For those who have ever thought about LA and definitely encourage you to keep and open mind, plan a visit, and come see it for yourself! But NYC is so special and I can't imagine ever shutting the door on living there, especially since my hubby is musical theatre so I have a heart for it. I think wherever God has you right now you have to find the positive and wonderful parts of it and focus on that and pray that where he leads you next is the right fit. You never know where you might find yourself! Possibly at the beautiful Santa Monica Pier.
Photography By: Ryan Holl check out his IG HERE! His photos are to die for!