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: , , |11 Comments

Intuition & Life Outside The Orbit: Choosing Between Safety and Uncertainty

There will be certain moments when you’re faced with a choice that can really affect the course of your life. These choices may not feel life-altering. Perhaps we tell ourselves we can always revisit them later and make a different decision. Perhaps they don’t even feel like choices. But they are, and I would like to share with you something I’ve learned recently after facing a difficult choice myself, so that maybe it can help you with your future life decisions, or at least help you see things a little bit clearer.

May 1st, 2019|Categories: Amsterdam|Tags: |2 Comments

Oh, Dear LA Actors: Why Casting A Voice-Over Made Me Sad

This week I was casting for voice-over actors in Los Angeles and it left me feeling sad, bittersweet and whole mix of conflicting emotions that may or may not have to do with my impending period and certainly have to do with my having been an actress in LA myself. Why would finding an American voice-over actor ever make one feel sad, you may wonder – periods aside? I shall explain.

September 6th, 2018|Categories: Amsterdam|Tags: , , |1 Comment

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?

Nuh-uh!

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

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

Actors Leaving LA & Why Success Doesn’t Equal Happiness

On May 31st was my first LA anniversary. Yup, it’s been one full year since I stepped on the plane in Amsterdam and left my old life behind. It was little different than I thought it would be, since May was possibly the worst month of my LA life so far. In the span of just one month I got into a pretty bad accident with my one month old motorcycle, had to deal with the financially and emotionally draining aftermath, got hit by a car on my bicycle, slipped with my new motorcycle and both my phone and laptop died. But what matters is that my LAnniversary made me think of all the people that come here, and then leave within one or two years. And the people that come here, and stay. For years and years, sometimes without ever  “making it.” It made me wonder which of these people I would belong to…

June 20th, 2014|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: |17 Comments

Lanterns & The Meaning of Life

Let me tell you the tale of a lantern. I’m sure you’ve never heard a more exciting introduction but bear with me, this is one of those posts where I go deep, yo.

When I came back from Los Angeles in September last year I was still waiting to hear from a really big agency that I met with days before flying back. All I could think about was getting that agent, applying for my visa and moving back to LA again.

Shortly after my return in the Netherlands I celebrated my birthday with some friends and family, and one of my aunts had gotten me one of those Thai wishing lanterns. When night fell we went outside to the garden at my parents’ place, and as we lit the fire of the lantern I silently made a wish. Everyone knew what the wish was of course, but then something happened…

July 22nd, 2013|Categories: Los Angeles|Tags: |23 Comments