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Is Anything in Los Angeles Real?


I was in a clothing store on Larchmont and a customer asked if the purses were real leather. They weren’t. And I heard the sales gal say “More and more people in LA aren’t buying anything real.”

This statement lingered in my mind the rest of my Sunday… People in LA aren’t buying anything real…. Actually, I think people in Los Angeles are paying top dollar for “real” and they are going outside of LA to find it.

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the country, possibly the world. Artists, storytellers and creators come from all over to Los Angeles to tell their stories. Recreate. And what happens when you get an abundance of people who are observers (writers, directors, designers) or facilitators (models and actors) – you have a community of people watching each other waiting for something to happen.

The town itself is made up of studio lots and sets that replicate real life. Writers are writing characters that aren’t real; actors pretending to be in scenarios that aren’t real, lighting designers working their asses off to recreate the sunshine that is literally O U T S I D E – so on and so forth with the goal of recreating a truth of some kind, ideally an emotional truth. But when most of the people around you are developing a point of view about life through observation, it leaves a void of folks actually living life. If we’re all commentators, where’s the substance?

I think Los Angeles is like a hall of mirrors. When something new and fresh enters the frame it’s startling, captivating, devoured then discarded; relentless World War Z viral consumption of authenticity and it’s our responsibility to take care of our own integrity of spirit. The strongest of people struggle to maintain sanity when surrounded by all this ambiguity. Fake buildings, fake boobs, fake Tinder profiles it’s no wonder our instincts become numb and the norm becomes a perpetual state of non-plussed disguised as Zen.

…I want to blame someone or something for this phenomenon. But there’s no blame when something just is. This IS what it IS here. Pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away. Acceptance and finding alternatives is the answer. At least, that’s the answer for me. Some people love the game. I don’t.

More and more people in LA aren’t buying anything real.

The people that make things happen in this town, are STARVING for shit that is real. I don’t find life in LA interesting or fulfilling. The struggle is real people, but the telling of that story is common, boring and doesn’t interest the people outside of LA. and that’s who the studios are trying to connect with. The industry isn’t making it’s money on the audiences of Los Angeles (hello screeners) The industry is trying to reach those beautiful and wacky people back in the towns you left. Outside of the city, outside of entertainment industry, outside of the circuitous world of networking and social media upkeep, real life is happening. THOSE are the real people and you are their ambassador, for better or worse. So keep it REAL and get out of the city when you need a dose of reality; People living their ‘regular’ lives that is filled with uniqueness they are immune to because they are just in it. That’s where the good stuff lives.

And next time someone back in La La land says, ‘We should have lunch’ – I dare you to answer with a dose of real vs ‘I’ll call you.’

*photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

Katie Wallack

About Katie Wallack

Katie Wallack is a professional actress and active union member. She serves on SAG-AFTRA’s Commercial Performers Committee and Commercials Contract Standing Committee, and partnered with the grass roots group Union Working. Katie began graduate school in 2017 at Claremont Lincoln University pursuing a Masters Degree in Ethical Leadership. She received numerous scholarships including the John L. Dales Scholarship from SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Her undergrad degree is in Theater and Dance from Trinity College. Katie’s recent film projects include “Mum” for Shoot ‘Em Up show, “Stillwater”, and “Wight Christmas” shot on location in her hometown – Anchorage Alaska. In addition to her theatrical credits, she has been seen in numerous commercial campaigns over the years, including McDonald’s and Ford Service.