Boy, oh, boy guys. Where do I even begin? When looking for pictures to post for this story, it took me back to the day I first came out here as an adult - June 9th, 2014. This is about to get really personal, so hold onto your horses kids.
This new chapter of my life began less than a month after my Grandma Donna died. She was the woman my brothers and I spent almost every day after school with for twelve years. My grandma was the light of our lives and the backbone to our family. Losing her has probably been the most difficult thing I've ever gone through; but if she didn't teach me to see the light in even the darkest of situations - I may have never come to Los Angeles. That leads me to say, everything happens for a reason, and my grandma's passing in a way was her giving me permission and the golden ticket to start the most rigorous, defying, and most rewarding chapter of my life so far.
Okay, so that may have been just a smidge dramatic (this is theattreee after all) but hey, moving to Los Angeles alone and at nineteen is no joke. Going from Rio, a place of 938 people to one of the most populated cities in the world that’s 4,000 times its size – yeah. Woah. You can bet your sweet cheeks I haven’t seen a cow in sight, yet.
Not to mention, my family was 2,000 miles away, I was gambling my education from one of the top universities on the globe in a degree that could land me hundreds of jobs to be a part of the inaugural class at a college that hadn’t even been accredited yet, anndddd I had little to no experience in film (except that I had learned at Relativity Workshops, which is really where this story begins, but I’ll leave that for another time to leave you intrigued) ….any who, back to having absolutely no history in film AND I WAS GOING TO FILM SCHOOL!!! Holy toast, what a risk. But fear not my dear friends. I’ve made it through. I’m alive and well, and must say – I’ve come a long way.
I’ve had lies told to my face on a daily basis, been cheated out of deals and scammed, was almost expelled from school because someone didn’t want to take responsibility for their actions, I’ve been to the emergency room three times now with no one by my side, I’ve walked through skid-row almost every day on my way to school and have had reality hit me like a lighting bolt with some of the things I’ve seen happen right outside my front door, but….I’ve also created some pretty fudging cool films, have met some absolutely amazing people and lifelong friends (I’m actually texting them all right now to say hi), have had insane memories and opportunities that on any bad day, I would never trade anything for.
The amount I’ve learned by living out here in these young years of my life is absolutely priceless, and though it’s not always the divine place everyone imagines Los Angeles to be, it’s a world of its own compared to anywhere I’ve ever been, and this crazy place filled with discovery, superficiality, glamour, and a rawness you can’t believe, is the place I call a home for this chapter of my life.
And furthermore in making this blog post far too long for it’s own good, from a small-town Wisconsin girl, this is what I’ve learned in short (haha funny – I never make anything short) about life and living in the City of Angels:
By: Mary Gabrielle Strause