Exactly one year ago today, during Easter weekend, I packed my bags and drove halfway across the country. I was following a dream and taking one of the biggest risks of my life. Would I make it in LA? Or would I come crawling back to Texas? I chose to leave my home, my family, and friends to pursue a career in entertainment journalism. I wanted to be the girl who interviewed celebrities at movie premieres. I knew that I needed to be in Hollywood.
It hasn’t been easy. AT ALL.
James Cameron, the director of Avatar, lived out of his car when he moved to Los Angeles. Even though I haven’t had to rough it out like James, it’s still been tough. I don’t really like talking about it because I hate being a stereotype. I also don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. However, if my year in review gives you the inspiration to follow your dreams, then I want to share my experience.
About two weeks before making the big move, my boyfriend and I didn’t know where we were going to live. I’m serious. We were almost homeless. No one in LA wanted to rent us a place because we hadn’t seen the apartment beforehand or because the landlords hadn’t met us. It was extremely stressful and I had so many breakouts (and breakdowns) during those two weeks. Luckily, we found an affordable apartment that was in a great area (by affordable I mean $1600 for a one bedroom/one bath. WELCOME TO LA!!!).
When I first arrived, I was really nervous. I don’t have any family in California. I only knew a handful of people, and most of them had already made their own friends and connections. It was a weird couple of months. Even after a year, I’m still not used to LA. To be honest, there are times when I don’t think I made the right decision. Sometimes I feel like I came to LA too early in my career. There are moments when I feel incompetent. Even worse, I still get insecure. However, I’ve learned that you can’t compare yourself to others. You just can’t. The more you focus on other people, the more you set yourself back.
The worst feeling in the world is thinking that you’re so great at what you do, and then you meet about 1,000 people who are just as great. I feel like Homer Simpson when he tells Bart, “No matter how good you are at something, there’s always about a million people better than you.” It can definitely feel like that when you live here. I have to remind myself that I’m just as good, if not better, as anyone else. My motto is – “Why not me?” If I don’t believe in myself, what makes me think someone else will? This is a tough business, so you have to give people a reason to take a chance on you.
I’m not gonna lie, until Feb. 2016, money was tight. Thank the Lord for blessing me with an incredible job!!! But for a whole year, I was pretty much broke. I felt like a loser most of the time. I didn’t have the money to go out for brunch or hit up clubs with friends. If anything, when I did do those things, it was considered a luxury. People asked if I saw any “cool” places in LA, but the truth is I didn’t have the money to explore. Thank God my parents helped me. I don’t think I would’ve survived without their support. Money was so tight I had to prioritize my spending – Did I want to spend money on $8 drinks or did I need to use that money for tampons? I know people have it way worse, and again, I feel blessed that my parents helped me, but I definitely had to limit my spending. I wasn’t living a glamorous life AT ALL.
I learned so much about myself this past year. I appreciate the little things, and feel so blessed to have a job where I don’t have to worry as much. I’m not banking, but I’m definitely not penny pinching.
I’ll never forget that I was able to meet and interview Gina Rodriguez. I ran into Jamie Chung at my grocery store, and saw Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis at my UPS store. I also attended the same event as Kim Kardashian, and worked at several star-studded parties. I even got hit on by Jeremy Piven. Those are just a few cool experiences I’ve had, and I can’t wait to make more memories.
A year later, I’m feeling so blessed to work with incredibly talented and fearless people. My bosses seriously inspire me everyday. I’m proud to say that I’m actually an entertainment writer. I’m doing what I love and it makes me so happy. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my boyfriend, parents, best friend, and every person who kept encouraging me. I truly appreciate everything y’all have done for me.
Things I’ve Learned (and I’m still working on):
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone!
- Be confident in whatever you do.
- Help others because you will need help.
- Follow your dreams, no matter how challenging it can be.
- It’s okay to cry – but crying isn’t productive, so you have to make up for lost time.
- Always be kind.
- Keep challenging yourself.
- Keep working on your craft.
- Never stop looking for the perfect tacos.
- Dream big!
Despite facing several challenges my first year in LA, I wouldn’t change it for the world.