I returned to Los Angeles with a different mentality. I love my craft and my artform more than I ever have. Spending time separated from ‘Hollywood’ changed my outlook on the business though. I wasn’t blind; I always knew it was a business, but I didn’t always treat it like a business. I do now. Two of my idols growing up were Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Two of the best ever right? But they both went through periods in their careers were they were considered straight up poison in the industry. So I’ve always felt if it can happen to Brando and Sinatra, clearly it can happen to anybody.
My first years in L.A. were a perfect storm of a young bachelor in his 20s with a barn of oats that needed to be sowed. The first Hollywood party I went to, a table of models, (literally, they were models) started cheesing at me as soon as I came through the door. In the words of Henry Hill, how could I go back after that? I can’t fault anyone, man or woman, who gets in the fast lane out here and decides to never settle down. The married life has to be something you really want and are willing to put in the work to have (I know that’s true everywhere, but it seems to be moreso true here).
I know of course of L.A.’s rep as a superficial place, and I see (and despise) that side, but I see so much more. If I had to give a single reason as to why I love it here, my reason would be there is no single reason. I’ve been here almost a third of my life and I feel I haven’t even come close to doing all I want to do in this city. When you first get here you get all the touristy stuff out of the way (Disneyland, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive). But then, like anywhere else, the unique things about the city become what you become invested in, and turn into your things. You care about USC football or UCLA basketball, you know the names of all the Lakers, you get to the Getty once in a while, you take up golf because you can play it (or any other outdoor activity) pretty much year round. L.A. becomes home.
The true sign of whatever ‘home’ is to you of course is the people you share it with. There’s the people I sat in class with for two years of course. Since leaving school, my Trojan family has extended in part through business and in part because of friends of friends. The Colonel is here so I can still relive and occasionally recreate the Musketeer experiences of my 20s. Antonio is here so I can talk about anything from USC to KU to the Chiefs to just growing up in Wyandotte in general. And that’s not including my Muslim friends, my movie geek friends, the people I work with on a daily basis, and the women I can hang out with depending on the situation. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to be doing from weekend to weekend, I just know I’ll be doing something fun with someone I enjoy spending time with. Why would I think of living anywhere else?