La La Land.
The Golden State.
City of Angels.
Whatever you want to call it. I
like love this part of the world.
To be honest, knew I would love it before I even arrived.
I guess Hollywood has always called to me. Through film, tv, music, fashion.
So naturally, it was always going to be a place I would want to see for myself. (Luckily my partner Mark shares my love of America so that made things easier when holiday planning!)
We visited LA for the first time in September 2015. Mark and I wanted the full LA experience so here’s some of the things we did… Rode the rides and watched the shows at Universal Studios, saw the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hiked up to the top of the Hollywood Sign, took an open-top tour bus ride to spy on the celeb homes, strolled around like royalty in Beverly Hills, rented Segways in sunny Santa Monica and ate at as many American restaurants as we could find!
Just under two years later in May 2017, California was calling again so we decided to return, this time to see a different side of LA. We decided to stay closer to the coast, in fact – right on the coast, away from all the Hollywood tourists this time! We stayed in the Ocean View Hotel in Santa Monica. We had a perfect view of the Pacific Ocean with the iconic pier and souvenir shops only a short walk away.
We wanted to do some beach activities! So we went parasailing in Marina Del Ray, 800ft in the air! We also rented a power boat and drove it out to sea. On another day we took an Uber up to Malibu’s Paradise Cove for tropical-themed cocktails. (We were going to go surfing too but there several Great White Shark sightings in the area at the time so we decided to give it a miss!) So instead we walked up to the top of Point Dume for an amazing view of the West Coast.
Even though we were still in LA, it really felt like a different holiday second time around. I loved and still love Hollywood, but I have since realised that California is much more than just the celebrities and the parties. In fact, I’ve heard that very few famous people actually live or visit Hollywood itself as it’s full of tourists. (Saying that though, we did spot Mark Zuckerberg having an early morning run along the Walk of Fame one morning!)
California has many beautiful, picturesque places you can visit. Plus, I love the general laid-back attitude of the locals in comparison to perhaps those who were bought up further inland. There’s more appreciation for sport, health and nature over perhaps work or money.
This is one of the reasons why I was dying to model for a photo shoot on the West Coast. To try and inject some of those Cali-vibes into my modelling portfolio which would be very different to my other photos. After a while of sifting through #LA photos on instagram, I came across Nikita Rusanov a professional photographer from Fun Lovin Camera company:
I loved Nik’s style of photography, so I emailed him to organise a shoot. (This wasn’t the first time I have arranged a shoot on the other side of the world… I also did one in New York but that’s a different story!)
Anyway, Nik and I (plus Mark) met on the Venice Boardwalk, next to Muscle Beach. (The place that Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other famous body builders have been known to train at) We then walked the short distance to the beach to begin our shoot. Here are some of the pics we got…
Los Angeles really is what you make it. Whether you’re dying to experience the hubbub of Hollywood or would prefer a more chilled trip along the California coast either way it’s one of those cities that you will never forget…