My Life IS ART (LA) ...The first 5 of the top 15 things i did in my first 2 years in LA that worked for me
That's me on the far right and I'm with my two best friends Ellie (left) and Gioya (pronounced Joya, middle) in LA. This was taken the day we went to go listen to Corrine Bailey Rae live and for free, because that's just the kind of thing that you can do in L.A right? Her song "Put Your Records On" is the anthem to my childhood dreams! Anyway back to my friends. Ellie and Gioya pretty much some up my life in L.A for the past two years (2014 -2016). They are the people who always had my back, and you need a support system if you're living in the City of Angels. I'm a South African girl living, studying and working in L.A (I'm currently in South Africa, on a short break before heading back to LA in a couple of weeks). It has been an absolute dream come true but it didn't come without it's ups and downs. Anele, my name means "enough". Me? A girl from the small mining town of Klerksdorp in the North West province in South Africa going going to work in L.A and live the life she has envisioned in Hollywood? You wouldn't think so right? But hey, it happened.
If you watch L.A hair, you know who that is. Anthony Pazos, he is a celebrity hairstylist and reality star on "L.A Hair", he works in Kim Kimbles hair salon in the show. If you don't know who Kim Kimble is let me fill you in, she's a celebrity hairstylist and her regular clients include Beyonce...need I say more? The funny thing about meeting Anthony is that it was completely random. I attended a bloggers event in L.A where they happened to be introducing new products and he was there. I told him that I watch him sometimes in South Africa on Vuzu channel 116. He couldn't believe that their show actually reaches such a global audience. He's a cool guy. And that's L.A, you sometimes get to meet people who you've seen on your TV screen on the journey to your own life dreams and goals. That kind of interaction is so much fun and helps you realise that even though Anthony is not in the kind of career that I am working in, meeting him was a fun reminder that anything is possible. Sometimes being in a city like L.A means you are constantly on the grind so you sometimes forget about the beauty, fun and blessing of the whole experience. Today I am going to tell you about the beginning of my L.A experience by explaining the top 15 things that I did in my first two years in LA that worked for me. I'm going to start with the lighter stuff.
1. IT'S OKAY TO WANT TO LIVE IN LA
I used to be so shy about telling people that I wanted to live in LA because I thought that they would think "Who do you think you are?" AND "Oh so what's LA got the SA doesn't?" I thought people would think I'm trying to be something I'm not, when in all honesty I just wanted to learn from an industry that has had a HUGE part in making acting what it is today. I said that I'm moving to LA before I knew for sure how it would happen and the constant affirmation lead to me taking actions in that direction because telling people MADE ME ACCOUNTABLE TO ACTUALLY DOING IT. I'm a trained actress and I trained in? L.A! I wanted to learn the characteristics that make an international artist successful. I learned exactly that. I now proudly say that I'm an actress, and that I live in L.A no matter how many of "us" there are in Cali. I do this because it's a huge admirable step to give up everything you know to move to a different country and go get your dream. Speak your dreams into fruition and you encourage others to do the same.
2. DON'T BE ALL AND ONLY ABOUT YOUR "ACTING BUBBLE"
Get out out there! Meet people! Do stuff, be a human with other interests. Ultimately that is also what makes you an interesting actor. It took me a short while to learn this lesson and put it into practice because I am a huge introverted extrovert. You will hear casting directors preach this too and it's some really good advice not just for actors but life advice in general. Having interests outside of your career will lead you into amazing life experiences just as much as your career would. The people I went to school with had amazing house parties and I met all kinds of international students and learned about different cultures all in one room (depending on how big the house was). I also went to events where I would connect with producers and directors around L.A. Going to the beach might connect you with an engineer or a lawyer, who knows? But getting our there and doing stuff or meeting people brings a different perspective to life.
3. LIVING IN CALI IS NOT CHEAP
Don't come to LA without a plan. It's that simple. Unless you're okay with hopping from couch to couch or living in your car for a while. I know people who have and that's totally fine if that's something you're willing to do for your dream or vacay...whatever you're coming to LA for. My point is don't be fooled by the gram and facebook posts. Living in LA is costly, you don't know how, why or through whom "so-and-so" , got that handbag, was having a night out at a roof top party, is at Coechella, or got that trip to Disneyland for the day. I mean from the Starbucks at the corner of your street to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, The Grove. It's all going to cost you and what you should do is budget. Don't be fooled by people's so called "lavish" lifestyles. I mostly lived off of what my parents gave me because starting out in LA is TOUGH. My first year out of school was met with a lot of sacrifice on my part and my family's part but I always made sure that I had a good balance in how I spent my money. Know your limits and don't do things and spend money because that's what everyone else is doing. If you can't go out for dinner that night. Just don't, that night will pass anyway and there will be other dinners. I've always been pretty good at saying no, and I practiced that even more while at school and after school. For the most part I have awesome friends who spoiled me occasionally, like the girls' day in Disney that we had. See what I mean? You just never know how it happens so don't be fooled. Picture below: "Hangin' out with Walt Disney and Mickey"
4. LA HAS NO TIME FOR LAZY PEOPLE
This should be obvious but it's not. Many people have traveled from all over the world to come to LA to be lazy. If you're on vacation, great! Do that! Be on retreat, do what you feel like. If you're in LA for work and to get a dream that is your calling. Then for lack of a better emphasis YOU BETTER WORK. Nothing will be handed to you, you won't meet someone, who will introduce you to someone and then bam! That CAN happen but only if you are prepared. That kind of thing happens to hard workers, people who put themselves in a position where someone would want to introduce you to someone influential who can help you and get you into the rooms that you need to be in. I always made my work as an artist a priority and it worked well for me. Together with my actor friends we raised over $10 000.00 in funding on Indiegogo towards our short film which we produced. That achievement speaks volumes to how dedicated we all are to our careers. People in LA have time for people who care about their craft. Experienced people who are out there doing something, ANYTHING to be a force in your chosen field. You'll find that there are so many people working hard at one thing or many different things in LA. Don't be left behind watching Netfilx and chilling, get up and do something, who knows where your dedication might take you. (Me modeling in LA: Pictures Below)
5. EAT, WEAR AND WATCH WHATEVER YOU WANT
It's easy to get sucked into changing your diet, your style, what you watch and even the way you speak when living in Cali. Everyone is so creative and edgy that it makes you want to be seen as an "artist" too so shouldn't you be creative and edgy and know every single movie ever made? No. I always knew that I would meet people who are more intriguing, more knowledgeable and even healthier than I am. And that's okay! It doesn't take away from who you are. Not everyone likes the same things. Don't do because others do. BE YOUR OWN PERSON. Are you doing what interests you and makes you happy? Then good. The only time you should ever want to change is if YOU want to. That way the change is more impactful. I know that I changed how I engaged with people by being more of a listener instead of a talker and that has been huge in how I understand different personality types so that I know how to approach different situations in my writing and life in general.
These are only 5 of the TOP 15 things I did in LA that worked for me. I will be sharing the next five a week from now. Still to come:
6. Take care of your inner life 7. It's okay to ask for help 8.Make friends who add to your growth 9. Keep your eyes focused on the bigger picture, don't take every "opportunity" 10. I'm a foreigner so that means I worked towards my artist visa. 11. Take lots of pictures 12. Set goals that are in line with now and the future 13. Agents and managers 14. Auditions 15. Believe.
Please let me know if this has been helpful at all. I'm also on Instagram: @anelemorris and Pinterest. See you in a week! Xx