STEREOTYPES ABOUT LA - TRUE OR FALSE? (PART 1)
OK guys, today will be a fun one! I realized recently that I've spent so much time in LA in the last few months... And I wanted to do a post about it. Most of you might not know this, but I had never even been to LA before Sasha moved here. And in the beginning, I was NOT thrilled. AT ALL.
I had heard so many (negative) stereotypes about LA, and I felt like this was not a city where I'd be happy. I'm usually someone who doesn't pay too much attention to hearsay, and I love experiencing things myself before I form an opinion. But in this case, I have to admit, I let all the stereotypes about LA get the best of me.
In the end, it turned out pretty damn well, and I have to say I'm in love with this city, and actually, all of California (more on that below). It's actually a city that matches my vibe pretty well, and I really feel like I thrive here. Since I know most of my readers/followers aren't from LA, I decided it would be fun to do a quick "Stereotypes about LA debunked", hence the title of this post. So without further ado, here are some things I had heard about LA, with my new perception on them, now that I actually know what I'm talking about!
Please note that this is meant to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt... And it's also only one person's opinion. So don't take everything I say for granted. If you want to visit LA and see for yourself, I highly recommend that you do so. But in the meantime, here we go:
1- LA's REAL ESTATE IS CRAZY
This is definitely TRUE. LA has some mad expensive housing... Especially in West LA, which is anything even remotely close to the water. It's an internationally well-known fact that the cost of living in LA is incredibly high. It's even considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world, although that ranking changes every year.
Personally, before being in LA, I had never seen a 400 sq. ft. studio go for more than $2000/month, but in LA, that's considered normal. For the record, I had a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal that was almost twice as big, for which I paid right under $700. Let's just say the shock was brutal at first.
The interesting thing to note here is that rentals are way more overpriced than houses, in proportion. I mean, sure, you have some crazy expensive houses that sell for millions of dollars... But if you compare the price of a normal house to an apartment, it gets interesting. For example, you can get a cozy 2 bedroom/3 bathroom townhouse in Santa Monica for about $1M. Which comes down to about $4000/month in mortgage payments. Meanwhile, 2 bedroom apartments in the same city range between $3000 and $7000 a month, with lots of options around $5000.
I feel like this is because LA is a city where a lot of people come temporarily, not knowing when they'll leave... Which makes it risky to buy a property. So the renter's market is totally crazy, and apartment owners charge these prices, just because they know they can.
2- THERE'S HOMELESS PEOPLE EVERYWHERE IN LA
TRUE. Not literally everywhere, obviously, but in LOTS of places. And a lot of them. There's also a considerable amount of people living in cars and vans... Which I guess technically means they're homeless, even though they don't live on the street. This is due to a plethora of reasons, but I feel like after going over the price of housing, it's not that hard to understand why.
I also feel like if you're gonna be homeless anywhere in the US, California is one of the best places to be. Winters are not harsh, it almost never rains, most beaches have outdoors public bathrooms and showers... I'm not by any means saying it's fun to be homeless. It's for sure a problem that we should tackle more seriously as a society. All I'm saying is, I understand why so many of them choose to be here. LA (SF too) is also a sanctuary city, which means no ones kicks out homeless people. That's also why you have areas like Skid Row, downtown LA, that are full-on tent villages because homeless people "camp" there.
No matter where you go in Los Angeles (yes, even Beverly Hills) you'll see homelesspeople. That's just part of what LA is. But I feel like it's important to mention that even though homeless people are often feared and judged, they're not all dangerous. Yes, certain areas downtown can get pretty freaky after sundown... But if you take Venice, for example, that also has a LOT of homeless people, it's a totally different vibe.
People there are allowed to sell almost anything on the boardwalk, and a lot of the artists are actually homeless. That way, they can make a bit of money selling their art. Obviously I don't know their stories, so I don't want to pronounce myself on it... But let's just say they're so far from the "crazy homeless" stereotype.
3- IT'S ALWAYS SUMMER IN LA
FALSE. This couldn't be more false, I feel like that's one of the biggest false stereotypes about LA. And guys, I'm sad about it. Before, I thought LA weather was like Mexico weather. And well.... It's NOT! While there's no snow in the Winter and it never, ever gets as cold as Montreal or most European countries, there's still a Winter. And a Fall.
I feel like people think it's always Summer in LA because the beach is always there... But guess what, the beach never goes away, even when it's fucking cold, ha! And while, yes, you can still go on the beach in the Winter, you don't go to the beach. You better dress warm, because the beach gets windy and cold, even in the summer, at night.
On colder Winter days, I even wear my Canadian Winter jacket. But I'm literally always cold, so... Don't take my word for it. Also, I have to say that we live by the ocean, so it's also a lot colder than inland LA. In the Spring, for example, we went to the LA zoo, downtown. I dressed without looking at the weather there, and I wore jeans and a sweater... Because it was pleasantly chilly. Well when we got there, it was SO hot that I told Sasha I just could't do it. There was no way I'd survive the day in a sweater. We had to get me a t-shirt at the gift shop, just so I wouldn't sweat my head off.
All that to say, LA definitely has seasons, and you can feel them. But I'm not complaining, because the weather here is pretty damn sweet. And it also almost never rains. Which is fantastic, because if there's one thing I hate more than cold, it's wet feet. Also important to notice, California has some pretty hard to believe micro-climates. As I mentioned in my little zoo story, the weather can be drastically different from one place to another, even if it's just a few miles away.
4- "OH, YOU LIVE IN LA, SO YOU'RE ALWAYS AT THE BEACH!"
Well... No. Not exactly. This statement is obviously FALSE. Just like it would be false to assume that French people visit Versailles everyday. For comparison, just think about the principal tourist attraction in your country... Are you always there? Do you even see it anymore? There you go!
The beach is also ideally enjoyed during the day. And shockingly, all of LA isn't on a permanent vacation. Most people work hard, therefore they don't have time to always be at the beach. They work, go to the grocery store, watch a movie, pick the kids up from school, etc... Which leaves just as much time for the beach as any other outing.
Personally, I went a lot in the first few weeks I was here, because I couldn't believe this was my new situation. But after I while, I honestly started going to the pool more on my days off. There's no wind, you can BBQ, drink champagne, and it's right downstairs. Although we literally live 5 minutes away from the water (by foot), the beach isn't always the most convenient thing. In the Summer, it's also PACKED with tourists. It's actually impressive how empty the beach is once tourist season comes to an end.
So even though everyone loves the beach, and it is way more accessible than almost anywhere else, Angelenos aren't always at the beach. It's more like a fun weekend thing to do... If you don't have other plans. But truth is, there are SO MANY events and things to do in LA, and the beach is always there, so it kind of comes second.
But I'm not gonna lie, it is indeed fun to be able to take a morning walk on the beach, or watch the sun set over the ocean once or twice a week.
5- HOLLYWOOD STARS ARE EVERYWHERE
Out of all the stereotypes about LA, this is probably the first one people think about. And it's actually FALSE. First of all, most people assume that stars hang out all day long in Hollywood... And this couldn't be more wrong. Aside from the walk of fame and a few other super touristy attractions, no one really wants to be in Hollywood. It's kind of a seedy neighbourhood, and it's really not anything glamorous or classy.
And while technically the odds of seeing Hollywood movie stars in LA are higher than, say, in Kenya, they don't spend their days walking around the street, waiting for people to take pictures of them. Most of them live in the hills and don't mix with commoners (!) because they get harassed by paparazzi, and people are annoying... I get it!
In about a year on and off, I've seen one star (that I know of). It was Russel Brand, and I think he doesn't even live here. It was at a tiny coffee shop in Venice, and I'm a huge fan of Russel Brand. But I didn't wanna bother him so I didn't say hi. And frankly, no one else did. I know a few people here who have seen someone famous, but it's definitely not something that happens every day.
That's all for today, guys! I hope you enjoyed this post! If you live in LA, I'm sure you've heard some of these things before... And if you don't, I hope it helped you get a better understanding of what it's really like over here!
There's gonna be a part 2 to this post, with 5 more stereotypes about LA. So stay tuned if you enjoyed this one! In the meantime, I'd love to know what stereotypes about LA YOU've heard of you think are true! It can be anything, and I'll give you my take on wether I think they're true or false!
You can always leave me a comment below, or you can come join the chat on Instagram, where I'll be asking you guys to share your stereotypes about LA... And about the city you live in! I feel like there's misconceptions about every major city, right?
Talk to you soon!
Love, Jenny xx
Photos taken by Raul Bernal for Bad Bitch Bandits. You can see my previous collaboration with BBB right here, on this post about feminism.