What’s Los Angeles Really Like? An Ode To and Takedown of the City of Angels

So, what’s Los Angeles really like? Ever since the Netflix show You and the movie Marriage Story (written by New Yorkers, just saying) have made it a point to highlight the lowlights of the City of Angels, it’s a question I get a lot. But it’s not a new question. Los Angeles is a strange place to have chosen as a person from the Netherlands. Don’t get me wrong: moving abroad as a Dutchie is perfectly normal. To London. Or Paris. Or Madrid. Even New York or Boston. But choosing LA is a little out there. Choosing LA says something about your personality. Because LA is Hollywood. LA is plastic surgery. LA is everything Amsterdam is not. It’s big, perpetually sunny, spacious, mountainous, has no real city centre, a grid-like layout, sparse public transportation, mostly post-19th Century architecture, and the car as the main form of transportation. It’s where people dream big and loud. Amsterdam is rainy, small, flat, has one city center, a circular maze-like layout, the world’s best public transportation, mostly pre-17th Century architecture, and the bicycle as the main form of transportation. Oh, and the motto is “just be normal, then you’re crazy enough.”

I’m sure the fascination behind the question “what’s LA like” therefore is part sincere. But the other part, perhaps, is the expectation of the answer that You and Marriage Story have provided. That LA is fake and shallow. A cultural wasteland. A tacky summer postcard inhabited by botoxed Barbies and imported palm trees. A smoggy suburb of full freeways and empty souls.

And relax, I’m not here to climb into the role of Defender of Los Angeles. As many LA transplants do, I both hate and love LaLaLand. Sometimes simultaneously. Honestly, I could write a book about LA and it inhabitants. But alas, I will not, since I am busy being an Angeleno cliché: working on a screenplay. I will attempt to condense my thoughts to a Millennial cliché though: a blog post. Here it goes, assumption by assumption…

So what is LA really, like, really, like?

January 14th, 2020|Categories: Los Angeles||6 Comments

This is What Having Your Breakthrough Looks Like: Sunnyside Actor Samba Schutte About the Immigration Struggles of Foreign Actors, Almost Quitting Acting and Getting the Job of Your Dreams.

I’m not quite sure how we met. Probably because it was digitally. On the Dutch in LA Facebook Group or through my blog or something. I do remember the first time I met Samba Schutte in real life though. It was in some cafe in Hollywood where Samba was kind enough to meet me to indulge me in my anxiety and answer the many questions I had as a new fellow Dutch O1-B actor in LA. I remember being taken by his kindness. LA can be soul-crushing, consequently turning a lot of sensitive artists into embittered assh– unkind souls. I also remember making a pact with myself to do my best to pay the kindness forward.

But enough about me. As some of you may have deducted from my previous article about what happened to the many actors I met in LA during the 12 years I’ve known them, Samba recently booked a series regular role on an NBC sitcom. In other words: Samba is now likely having his proverbial breakthrough. Make no mistake though: Samba is not an overnight success, as this interview will make clear. I first interviewed Samba in 2013 after I had just moved to LA. We were both struggling actors and though I quickly switched to writing, I always kept following Samba. I ran into him at workshops, Dutch in LA events, attended some of his stand-up shows… He put in the work, and he put it in with a smile. It therefore warms my heart that I can now interview him about his success. Me having just cycled in the rain for 35 minutes in Amsterdam, soaked to the bone marrow, him walking about in sunny Los Angeles.

September 26th, 2019|Categories: Los Angeles, Other Actors|Tags: , , |0 Comments

12 Years Later: What Really Happens to All the Aspiring Actors in LA

I was 18 when I first set foot in Los Angeles. I was on a road trip with my family and I didn’t see much but the horrible tourist sites, yet I knew I’d be back one day, to pursue my dreams of being a Hollywood actress. And I did go back. At 19 I took off on my own to spend a summer in LA doing acting classes. I had the time of my life and returned at 20 to do the same thing. At 22 – after attaining my BSc and working full-time for a year – I returned again, this time for eight months in pursuit of an agent and O1-B visa. It didn’t work. At 23 – after one final three month trip and nine months of waiting – I finally moved to the promised land.

Last August 17 I turned 31. That means I now have known many aspiring actors in Los Angeles for over 13 years. This realization more or less coincided with the news of one of them booking a series regular role in a sitcom. Of just one of them having that elusive proverbial breakthrough. I started thinking: what has happened to all the other aspiring actor friends I’ve met over the years? What do the lives of these dedicated dreamers look like after 10+ years in LA? Wouldn’t that be interesting to share? We read the succes stories of actors who made it plenty. But that’s not a very representative sample. What happens to the the ones not in the news? To the other people that packed up their lives into their car and drove from Ohio to LA? The other people who went through the im-migraine-tion process to get the O1-B visa? The other people who left everything they knew behind for a chance to be a working actor?

Of course, I can’t claim to bring a completely representative sample either, as I’m sure I myself have been a biased selection tool while navigating LA. A Dutch girl on a pink motorcycle with ladybug helmet isn’t for everyone, after all. On top of that I switched from acting to writing pretty quickly after moving to LA.

But I can give you a more complete picture than what the stories of successful actors in the news paint. I can tell you what happened to the people I met in all those acting, improv and audition classes. The people I bunked with in dorm rooms of dingy guest houses. The people I met at casting director workshops, networking events, or through Facebook groups. Even on OkCupid dates.

I can tell you what happened to my friends.

So, here it goes…

August 19th, 2019|Categories: Amsterdam, Los Angeles|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Why I Stopped Blogging, Acting and Living in LA and Yet This is A Happy Post

Hi! Remember me? Maybe not since it’s been two full years + nine days since I’ve posted, and I’ve accumulated some epidermal wisdom aka wrinkles in the process. So what the f took me so long? Well, various things. I started this blog as a 21 (!) year girl who wanted – correction: was obsessed with/desperately needed – to move to Los Angeles to become an actress. I started it during a time when blogs were fairly new and not everyone above 11 and their dog wrote op-eds on TV show episodes yet. I chronicled everything from visa drama to acting classes to motorcycle accidents, and tried to help other artists who wanted to move to Los Angeles. Fast-forward and I’m now a 29 (!!) year old woman who lives in Amsterdam, is not pursuing acting anymore and has a lot more perspective and mental stability – most of the time anyway. So, what’s the story? Have I become a bitter quitter and is this gonna be a “just give up already” post?


This is gonna be a “know thyself” post that will help you find true happiness and eternal bliss. Kidding. But if you’re someone who’s die-hard pursuing something it might help you reflect and make yourself a little more content. Still a lofty promise, perhaps, but lemme explain…

April 9th, 2018|Categories: Amsterdam, Los Angeles|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Why You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Breakthrough

Once I have my breakthrough, then I’ll  spend more time with my family. Once I have my breakthrough, then I’ll take ballet classes. Once I have my breakthrough, then I will start traveling again. Once I have my breakthrough, then I’ll be happy.

It’s a philosophy many ambitious aspiring anythings (including myself) subscribe to. Especially in LaLaLand. Because once you have that breakthrough, you’ll have money. And job security. And a feeling of accomplishment that eliminates jealousy and brings on a constant state of contentedness. Right?

Obviously I can’t speak from experience since I haven’t had my own personal breakthrough but I’ve seen and heard things. And I’d like to think I can empathize pretty well. I am a writer after all. So sure, while professional success does usually come with more money and a higher degree of being able to do what you love, here’s why breakthroughs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…

February 17th, 2016|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: , |5 Comments

On Becoming an Actress: A Confession

Forgive me, acting Gods and blog readers, for I have sinned. You see, although I’ve had a faint inkling for the last year and a half, the past six months have solidified a long standing hypothesis of mine into a full fledged, life changing truth.

I have discovered something about myself that in hindsight makes so much sense, yet took a lot for me to accept considering the last five years of my life and, well, the entirety of this blog. So behold here a baffling revelation and some brutal honesty (which I may regret when the effects of this glass of wine wind off…)

September 9th, 2015|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: , |9 Comments

Los Angeles: Expectations Versus Reality

The end of 2014 marked 1,5 years in Los Angeles for me, or halfway through the stay my O1-B visa allows. People often ask me if LaLaLand is what I thought it would be. After going through all that trouble to get here, does it live up to expectations? Well, I’m still not married to a 90 year old producer/sugar daddy, so I guess it’s been a major letdown…I kid!

No, in al honesty, it’s a bit of a difficult question, since I kind of gradually eased into LA. I visited Los Angeles as an 18 year old tourist with my family in tow, as a 19 and 20 year old University of Amsterdam student escaping the summers to take acting classes, as a 22 year old to chase a visa for eight months long, and as a 23 year old to try one final time. So I guess the proper way to phrase the question is: How did the final move to LA and hustle to become a working actress compare to the one that had been playing in my imagination all those years? Well, tell you I shall…

February 23rd, 2015|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: , , |20 Comments

I Went To My First Hollywood Premiere And This Is What it Was Like

As an actress, there are certain moments you dream and wonder about. What would it be like to work with Annette Bening? What would it be like film on location somewhere interesting? What would it be like to attend a Hollywood premiere? Or the Oscars? Last week, I got the answer to one of those questions: I went to my first red carpet Hollywood premiere. Movie: Interstellar. And to demystify premieres, I thought I’d share my experience with you. Plus, how fun would it be to look back and compare once I am an actual part of the premiered movie?

November 2nd, 2014|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Here’s Some Honesty About An Actress’ Life in LA: Eating Disorders, Depression & Living The Dream

“If you pull the string too tight, it will snap. If you leave it too slack, it will not play.” So said Buddha. At least according to the movie Little Buddha which I watched for no other reason than my gigantic teenage crush on Keanu Reeves. The message stuck though: moderation is important. And something I’m very shitty at.

I never just like a TV show; I love and obsess over it until it consumes my every waking thought and I start writing fanfic. I don’t just start ballet classes; I practice until I literally can’t sleep for days because my legs hurt so much. I don’t just want to become an actor; I uproot my entire life and spend three years and all my money to try it in Hollywood.

I either overcommit or behave like a spoiled child that’s forced to do something it doesn’t want to. For me, it’s usually all or nothing. And that, while at times incredibly awesome and productive, can also be quite problematic.

I’ve hesitated a long time to write this post. I put tremendous value on honesty – probably to a fault. Yet I couldn’t see the point of writing something sad or negative. Because even on my darkest days, I always know the sun is waiting to come out from behind them clouds, a lesson is waiting to be learned. And those are the things I find worth sharing. I wanted to wait until I had some sort of clarity, found some deeper purpose for putting my heart out there in the open. But I think I found it, so here it is: some raw honesty about my life as an actress in LA – for your education, or perhaps entertainment.

March 18th, 2016|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: |17 Comments

Three Ways My Acting Journey Made Me A Better Person

Sometimes I ride my bicycle uphill to my apartment, straight towards the Hollywood sign, and I’m just in awe of what my life has become. Of the fact I actually spend my days working from home and coffee shops, doing auditions, discussing movies, meeting new people… The fact that riding a hot pink scooter through the Hollywood Hills is part of my weekly routine, that the words Los Angeles are in my address. I think about where I was 5 or 10 years ago, and I’m not so much proud of how my environment has changed, but how I have changed. I am such a different person. Granted, each person goes through a ton of personal development in their twenties , but there are certain things I credit my dream of becoming an actress with. This ongoing journey – while crazy and sometimes soul crushing – has definitely made me a better person…

November 12th, 2014|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: |3 Comments