Los Angeles, Los Angeles. You’ve been good to me. But I’m comfortable, and that’s why I’m leaving your almond milk latte filled city to head to the capitol of tacos and tequila.
Let’s take it back to the beginning. I grew up in Mansfield, Connecticut, probably the smallest and prettiest town you’ll ever step foot in. Only 2 hours away from the capitol of wealth (if you know Connecticut, you likely only know Hartford, Greenwich or Fairfield) Mansfield was where my story began. It’s in my childhood bedroom where I ran up the stairs to escape from school and blog everyday that my ideas really began. The evolution of my career, something I’ve shared step by step on social media and Life Unfiltered since the beginning, has been nothing but unusual. I moved out at 17 to Bedstuy, Brooklyn, and then landed in Boston for three years. I got bored in Boston and convinced my (at the time) best friend Gabe to try out LA with me.
Being from the East Coast, Los Angeles was always the last city I said I’d try. Half the time when I was in LA I was trying to convince myself I wasn’t crazy that I was moving to LA after living in many of the top cities in the country, and the other half of the time I was sketching myself out to where I was in such disbelief when I landed my Radio Disney show, Fearless Everyday. Do people who come from nothing really become something, or does that only happen in the movies? I’ve always struggled with looking at my life as a third person. Because I’m so deep in stress, anxiety and obsession most of the time with my career, I rarely realize how privileged I am to be able to tell you I’ve crafted my dream life by working my ass off. Often times, I’m only reminded of that when I connect with a college student or someone who is in a talk I’m presenting who reaches out to me after a few months and tells me how I helped them land their dream job or quit the job they hated.
Long story short, I never anticipated staying in Los Angeles longer than I had to. The happiness and calmness I feel in Boston is a feeling I’ve never had in LA. LA is the place everyone moves to be someone and that’s what makes it so special. That also makes the competition so high, and the lack of depth and authenticity in people so extreme. I’d certainly say New York and Boston are a completely different place than LA on the topic of people. Making friends and keeping them in California was and will remain difficult. If you’re not from there, it’s hard to find your place.
When the pandemic hit, instead of leaving, I signed a lease on my dream apartment in Hollywood Hills and hit the ground running. What I didn’t expect is what would eventually transpire in LA from 2019-2020: people dying every minute, immature young adults hosting COVID parties at their mansions, and top tech companies moving out of California to save money, especially on taxes.
Something over the past 5 months has shifted for me. Maybe it’s because we ended the season of The New Unfiltered earlier, or because many of my friends have left LA, but I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice my own happiness to stay in this city anymore. Austin has clean air, amazing people, great food, and a happening scene. There’s also so many resources there for small businesses – something I’ve never found in LA is a community of entrepreneurs who want to bring each other up and not down. I’ve got influencer friends, but I way prefer to be around my friends who own their own companies because I thrive in that environment.
I’m not giving up my apartment in LA until I know if I like Austin more than LA, but I have a strong feeling I’ll feel right at home in a world of tacos and tequila.