Leaning Into Uncertainty

As methodical as I've become over the last few years, I have seen the benefit to allowing for spontaneity. With this year being one in which I turn 24 years old, I wanted to look even further inward and challenge myself. This year's theme, "Leaning Into Uncertainty", has actually been pretty fruitful so far. In doing so, I managed to cut off my locs, travel the country solo several times, and as of recently I spent my birthday in a place I've only seen on TV and films. Let's dive a little deeper into my experience in Los Angeles!


LA LOVE

I was warned about LA. Almost like when you hear rumors about people you've never met and they start to get to you. However, you cannot live off the assumptions or experiences of others. Instead, you must go and experience life for yourself. With each passing day I found myself falling in love with the idea of moving to the warm, laid back state that is California. When I set foot at the airport I already have a list of things to try and see. By the trips end, that list had only doubled. In my short time there I managed to ride bikes on Venice Beach, walked all of Hollywood, took a tour of the Chinese Theatre, hiked to the Hollywood sign, and checked out some spots from Issa Rae's "Insecure" TV show. It's always a good trip when I go home with more than I left with; mentally or physically.


A NEARLY MISSED OPPORTUNITY

I'm going to be very honest with you, timing is everything. For this opportunity to have happened when it did, it wouldn't have been possible any other way. I had just put in my two weeks at my former job and was looking for a way to get to NYC and start exploring more while being a young 20 something. On the very last day of work, a director who I have been in contact with for nearly 2 years, reached back out to me to ask me if I wanted to continue our conversation on set. This particular set was in LA and I'd be paid for my time, as I'd have the opportunity to shadow her and learn first hand what it's like to be a director of this caliber. Initially I hesitated...but then all the logical reasoning in my mind went silent once I remembered, "this is my year to lean into uncertainty". With no job requiring me to come in for the next few weeks, no clear direction on what LA was really like (as I had never been up till this point), and no real friends on the west coast, I said yes and took a leap of faith not knowing where I'd land. For those who know me, this risk wouldn't have been something I'd even consider a year ago. I started traveling solo via plane in October of 2021. After I figured out how to maneuver the airport alone, my limitations were limitless.


FEB. 12TH, 2022

Birthdays come and go, but it's the memories you make during and in between them that truly count. There have only been a few birthdays in my recent memory that stand out to me...24 is definitely now one of them. At this point in the trip, I'd had already been 6 or 7 days deep on the exploration side of things. However I was determined to maximize this day, as it was a weekend and I was in a new place. The day started with me and a MAIP 2020 alumni friend of mine having a top tier breakfast and coffee at Issa Rae's cafe spot, "Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen". Next we took a drive up to the Griffith Observatory and were able to get some high quality images of the famous Hollywood sign. During this part of the adventure we saw some gorgeous natural beauty and true LA culture; a massive wave of bikers flooding the streets and riding up the hill to reach the observatory. After these breath taking views were fully captured, we drove all the way out to Inglewood to pose by the famous Dunes apartments sign, a well known set location from Issa Rae's "Insecure". The day was ended by going to a recommended restaurant from a film friend of mine, who was planning on moving out this way soon. This was unlike any other birthday; where I'd been surrounded by people I knew well and in a space very familiar to me. Instead this day was spent in constantly exploring, learning, and taking in new experiences. I aspire for this to be the standard in which all bday celebrations reach. The feeling was unbelievably freeing.


Cookie Monster Hustle


Directors In Charge

A top the hills of the Hollywood sign is Griffith Observatory. It's definitely a site to see. Oh and the Cookie Monster was up there hustling us for pictures he insisted we'd tip him on. Funny story behind this image. A kid walked up after we just got our picture take and he gave us his sell on why we should pay him. "Cookie Monster" then tells the kid to wait for his turn...guess the big blue cookie obsessed creature needed money to buy more cookies.






Picture of myself and the Director & DP duo, Lalou & Joaquin.





MAIP Magic




Asha and I had been virtual friends due to MAIP for over 2 years now. I started a weekly meet over the last Summer where myself and other MAIPers who loved film would give our take on the nature of being in our 20's, films, and TV shows, amongst other things. This was our first encounter in person. Asha works at Sony as an intern and explored much of LA with me.




Want to see more pics from the trip? Check it out here.

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