As the movie capital and an important economic center of the world occupying a sprawling landscape without a defined central hub, Los Angeles is a huge metropolis that really defies easy description.
In order to help us dig beneath the surface and get past the glamour, the glitter, and other commonly held notions about the "City of Angels", we turn to Whitney English, a Hollywood reporter with a genuine passion for healthy food and fitness who is "living for adventure, love and great brown rice sushi."
As you begin to read her blog, Whitney's personality immediately wins you over and the content draws you in with savvy lifestyle advice interspersed with celebrity news and interviews. Thus, she was a perfect candidate to provide a fresh perspective on living in LA; and she has gracefully accepted to be interviewed for this story.
I started out by inquiring as to how many cities she has lived in. "Just two", she replied. "LA and Tucson, AZ where I was born and went to college."
Whitney moved to LA right after graduating from college with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Arizona.
When I asked what had brought her to relocate to Los Angeles, she said it was because she wanted to be the next anchor of E! News like Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest. Having interned there over the summer, she had been offered a job working as an assistant to one of the TV reporters, Ken Baker. " I figured I would work my way up!" she added.
"What was your initial impression?", I questioned. She answered, "I was completely enamored with LA. There was just so much to do. My hometown had a gorgeous natural environment, but LA had all that, and more. From the beautiful coast and rugged mountain ranges to the diverse arts and entertainment scene I was never at a loss for something new and exciting to try."
I wanted to know whether that had changed for her since. "It hasn't", she replied. "I'm constantly wowed by LA. Just when you think you've seen and done everything someone tells you of a secret spot you have to check out. And, just when one trend dies, a new one comes to town. It's impossible to be bored in this city.
I asked, "What have you discovered since about Los Angeles that you couldn’t have known at the onset?" She said, "I think people have this idea about LA that it's all about Hollywood and celebrities, and everything is so glamorous all the time. But there's so much more to this city. As I mentioned before, there's tons of great places to hike, art exhibits to check out, beach volleyball tournaments all summer long, and food and music festivals galore. Yeah, you might run into Jennifer Aniston at a restaurant (it's happened to me!) but she'll be in jeans and a t-shirt like a normal person, and not sporting a floor length gown like you see on TV awards shows."
Living a positive life and keeping her mind and body happy and healthy are the most important things to her. Whitney loves spending time with her family and her dog outside in nature, and LA has plenty of spots to do that in.
In reply to which aspects of the Californian city she would want to be different, she wishes there would be better public transportation; and then added, "New York and San Fran are so easy to navigate using the subway or metro, but here in LA you have to drive everywhere. Luckily, I live in an area with decent walkability, but it doesn't compare to many other cities."
Regarding the importance of understanding LA’s various neighborhoods, our urbanite said, "LA is a very diverse city with many subcultures within the main city. I'd advise someone come visit and check out the different areas to see which fits their lifestyle best. Is walkability important? Try Santa Monica. Like being close to great restaurants? Maybe West Hollywood. Nightlife important to you? Hollywood is the spot. Are you a little alternative or, as they say here, a hipster? Head over to Los Feliz or Silverlake. Want a big house and a yard that doesn't cost millions? Cruise over the hill to the valley. Got millions and want a view? Hollywood Hills it is."
Providing still further insights, she went on to say, "Traffic is horrible, which most people have heard of, but once you know the shortcuts you'll do fine. We're also a good base for traveling to tons of other cool vacation spots. The desert is just two hours away. It’s two hours in about three different directions to wine regions. It’s two hours to San Diego. And it’s three hours to the most breathtaking coastal views."
As a celebrity blogger, Whitney has had some memorable moments. She recalls, "Meeting and interviewing Jennifer Aniston stands out in my mind. I’ve always enjoyed her T.V. shows and movies and admired her dedication to fitness. Mid-way through our interview, she asked me if I practiced yoga and complimented me on my necklace, which I thought was pretty cool.
Another surreal moment was one Halloween when a friend and I snuck into Paris Hilton’s costume party. We ended up in her infamous indoor nightclub complete with a stripper pole and were dancing with her and my former boss, Ryan Seacrest. That was definitely one of the more wild times I had when I first moved to LA.
Also, the time I interviewed Jude Law. We were at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and he was ordering lunch from his staff, quickly before our 4-minute interview. I suggested he get the Butternut Squash Soup and he apparently thought I had good taste because he canceled his order and got that instead!"
"Is there another city in the world which you would also like to live in, perhaps as a secondary residence?" I proceeded to ask. She replied, "Wow this is a tough one! I LOVE to travel so I'd rather just visit a new city anytime I get a chance, rather than keep going back to one spot. So far I've been to Italy, South Africa, Thailand, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, and France. Cape Town and Positano were two of my favorites, though, for their amazing coastal views. Next trip, I'm hoping to visit Brazil."
Summarizing her thoughts about LA, "In the words of Tupac, whose song 'To Live & Die in L.A.' inspired the title of my blog, 'It's the place to be'", she concluded.