The idea of “Los Angeles” has always lived in my mind as an intangible, scary, cutthroat, yet glamorous place full of celebrities, opportunities, and misfortunes. I remember driving through on a family road trip a decade ago. I was in third grade and really into the magic of the entertainment business. Knowing I was obsessed with pop culture and the entertainment business, my mom bought that silly celebrity home map with the tape as a tour guide…you know, those things they sell on every corner in Hollywood? We hopped in the suburban and drove all through the hills, stopping to gawk at Cher’s mansion and Michael Jackson’s estate. The idea of being an entertainer was at the forefront of my mind, and I wanted to submerge myself in the high society of Hollywood.
Until I traveled back to LA this year, I had kind of lost touch with that magic I found so incredible as a pre-teen. It was easy to get distracted with the training and auditions to really remember WHY I chose to pursue this career path in the first place. I feel like my time in Southern California this semester has helped replenish my artistic identity, and helped me see that this crazy goals and dreams I have in my mind are actually attainable. You just have to work really, really hard to get there. It’s all about the meeting, mixing, mingling, and relationship building. Through my internship, dance classes, and even personal friendships within the Elon in LA program, I feel like I have already started to build my professional network.
I love Elon because it is a remotely located university with a fantastic, concentrated faculty. My time in Los Angeles has contrasted nicely with the home-y environment of Elon, because it is the complete opposite. I have learned to become much more self motivated – and to act in accordance with my goals. It is hard to take anything for granted, when at any moment I can look up and see the Hollywood sign. Just last night, I was in a dance class and I looked out onto Santa Monica Boulevard, with the sun setting to the west and the Hollywood sign staring directly at me.
I’ve also learned that sometimes, it’s not about being the best person in the room, but it’s just being yourself in the room. Showing up is half the battle. There are so many people in this townwho just want to “make it”, but now I see that the only way to truly “make it” is to motivate yourself to a happy and positive place that will encourage professional growth.