Velour set: Lilly Pulitzer (c/o) (top,, bottom), black (top, bottom), and navy (top, bottom) / Boots: FitFlop (similar, UGGs) / Juicy Tube / LV bags: borrowed from friend / Tiffany replicas necklace/bracelet Amazon / ** For the record I did Photoshop my brows for the early 2000s look. They probably should be thinner but hey let’s not go too overboard. *wink*
I want to take you through my LA life with you, it was short, I was only there for under two years, but it packed with so much going on, lots of celebrity interviews, gossip and well this blog post got REAL long really quick because there is so much to tell you! It was an exciting time in my life, those early 2000s and I couldn’t imagine a better place to live at that time when Hollywood was SO on trend in the tabloids and E! was at the height of its popularity. I also want to mention I was not a Christian at the time, it’s worth mentioning and important that I say so because when I look back I still think some of my behavior was not exactly a role model 100% of the time so as I share these memories or thoughts with you and you think it’s a bit out character of who I am today, it is, and it was. xx
Life in Los Angeles in early 00s
On weekends you could find me on Sunset Blvd., usually at the Sky Bar. I got in without waiting in line or renting a room at the hotel because I had a much older friend named Andrew who was a regular and knew the bouncer.
When you’re that young, you just cut the lines. Yeah I was that girl, sorry if I ever cut in front of you, but I think most girls went through that phase.
I belong to the Paris Hilton (more about my interactions with her later in this post), Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson era, like we’re about the same age, I’m a year younger or so if you’re wondering. I never really talk about age because I find once you graduate from college and the older you get, the less important it becomes as you relate to people older and younger than yourself and you’re not just in a college bubble (within four years). I remember one of the KNBC reporters telling me during my internship to enjoy college because it’s the last time I’d be around people my own age and going into the real world would mean working alongside others who were 10, 20, 30 years older than me. That made me realize how much college really is a bubble – but it was so so good.
I don’t even remember the names of people in most of my photos in LA – they were such short lived friendships – they were more like weekend friendships. I also don’t have a ton of photos because it required bringing out a point and shoot camera (although once I was so happy I did when a cop gave me a ticket and I was parked totally fine, I refuted the ticket and won thanks to my picture).
Kitson on Robertson was the celebrity hot spot sighting – often you’d see paparazzi waiting to catch one of the latest young pop stars coming out of Kitson wearing a velour tracksuit of course. Us Weekly seemed to report right out of my backyard! It went to the Beverly Center to shop, and spent weekends at the beach. I had a lot of casual friends and I don’t really remember their names today, but that was the phase – meet, swap numbers, hang out a few nights and move on to other friends or move away. It was fun for the phase but I could never do that now.
Celeb Spotting and where I lived in LA
It’s in a great location located across the street from the outdoor mall, The Grove, there’s also a Farmer’s Market attached. There are so many times there were events at the Grove, cast members promoting their show, entertainment shows hosting at that spot.
I recall seeing Nick Carter and Paris Hilton leaving the movie theater as I was going in one night, it was late.
The few of us around were in disbelief we saw them (no paparazzi) and of course no cell phone cameras that were good enough to take pictures. This was before MySpace and right when Facebook was launching but only to those with an .edu account. I think Friendster was available but not a place anyone was really on. I would drive around the city and see Jason Biggs driving (back when American Pie was not too old yet), and cast members from the MTV Jackass show at the grocery store, or Amazing Race contestants at the farmers market. It was just normal and not a big deal.
I moved a few blocks north to newer apartments but it was so quite tiny but I lived right around the corner from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, just by Hollywood and Highland. I loved how clean it was and the location was just as good, central to everything. My life in LA has impacted where I live now in Phoenix – I live in the Biltmore area which to me is like a Westwood area of LA. It’s central, it’s busy, the coolest restaurants and spots are around, it’s close to the airport and it’s a desirable location. Living in the middle of where things happen is important to me.
Working as a PA in the entertainment industry
I was told by a contact from my internship at Extra she had contacts for The Ellen Show and Sharon Osbourne show, both about to start their first talkshow season. I wonder to this day if I had thought about a life at Ellen (I didn’t even apply!) if I’d still be in LA now.
I wore a red power suit from my college pageant interview days, to the interview with the Paramount executive who was the executive producer at The Sharon Osbourne Show. I got the job as a production assistant. In other words that meant you’re the show’s gopher but also slave and expected to pump out creative ideas for the show, the job description is endless. You could be calling to book guests, arrange for travel, ask companies for samples, buying gifts, shuttling guests around (I once picked up a woman who was incarcerated for killing her husband who was abusive), I was terrified but she was the nicest person, to making sure the guest in the green room was comfortable.
The Keanu run-in story (or not a story)
My plan was say hi to Keanu once he looked at me so I didn’t technically bother him.
Keanu is so shy as many of us have seen during his interviews and is a true gentleman and he walked by and didn’t look at me and looked down. UGHHHHHHH he kept walking. He probably didn’t want to start a conversation with anyone while all I wanted to do was tell him how much I loved him or say hi, or say anything to say I met him and I missed my chance.
This will forever be my life regret, so always go for it when you feel the urge with someone you love! I don’t care if you get fired or arrested (mmmmkkk) because I ended up getting canned anyway a few weeks later. It would’ve been a better story if I had just hit on Keanu and gave him my number and then got fired right after LOL at least that would’ve been a much better story than me telling you I missed the hallway opportunity to meet. He did cough and I tried to breathe in trying to get sick so I could say I got sick from Keanu LOL, ohhhhh a 21 year old!
Getting let go from my first job in Hollywood to go to E!
Well, my friend who worked there, Jen, told me her former boss at E! was looking for an assistant, a red carpet ghostwriter. I also heard the show’s HR Wendy had to fire her own producer boyfriend who lived with her at the time and she had someone else do it. Tough job.
Most people don’t want to talk about getting let go, fired or whatever, but who cares! It’s part of what happens in life and careers, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Companies downsize, and in the television industry, you’re pretty replaceable. Some companies look at employees as very replaceable and can find an eager person to take the job for pennies. When done door closes another one opens, and I probably would’ve overstayed and been miserable opposed to finding another job so it was the best thing to happen to me.
Working the red carpet as a reporter for E! and all the celebs
This is when The Apprentice was just starting also, The Simple Life, and America’s Next Top Model and Desperate Housewives were starting up. I mention these shows to remind you of the time period of those early 2000s.
My boss, she was primarily on E! Online with her own weekly live online (yes chat rooms were still the thing!) and she would answer questions with her reporting and a mix of my reporting scoop I’d collect around the web for her. She would also be on E! News so I was pretty much the ghost reporter as there were so many events in Hollywood every night and she couldn’t go every night so I’d get assigned the events she couldn’t attend.
I was the ghost writer with an “additional reporting by” byline at the end. I interviewed Arrested Development actors, Paris Hilton a few times, she was so sweet and realized Nicole Richie and I were at UofA at the same time and lived in the same apartment complex (Starr Pass at Moonrise). We had a conversation about scorpions and she said she was used to them in her apartment in college and then we went into that.
One of the sweetest humans was Scott Wolf. Piercing blue eyes. When he said goodbye to tell me it was nice to meet me even though it was literally a hello, he locked eyes with me and I swore it was deep in my soul to tell me it was nice to meet me before he left. I will never forget that. I met Paula Abdul which was a HUGE deal to me and probably left me the most star struck. I interviewed the cast of Arrested Development, For the Love of Money, The Apprentice cast, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grays Anatomy and North Shore. My favorite girl was Brooke Burns who was a joyful gorgeous beauty!
I would show up to an event, find my “E! Online” printed out on an 8.5″ x 11″ paper taped down on the red carpet and stand in my spot with my mini tape recorder. I had kept those tiny tapes for a while until I realized I just didn’t know why I would ever listen to them again because I wouldn’t. I maybe should have kept them for fun. Oh I have a hilarious story…
When I would secretly NOT record an interview on the red carpet
Here’s the thing – you can’t say no to that. First, you may not want to hear any quotes because no one at E! or who watches E! is wondering what’s coming up on said show but I also 1- Didn’t want to hurt the tiny adorable actor’s feelings and 2- the publicist may eventually rep the next hot star I need to interview or show when I need that exclusive interview. So you gotta play nice and SMART!
So I would say yes, and ask some questions and I would slide the “pause” button up so the red light still looked like it was recording (seriously guys, tape recorders LOL) but the tape wouldn’t be rolling or capturing any of it so I didn’t waste tape and I still looked the part. No one taught me to do that, I just did it.
Think what you will but I thought it was pretty genius so I didn’t have to forward it later when I had to transcribe the interview.
When I was told to ask a Survivor contestant about her sex tape
My boss gave me a list of questions to ask at the event and if I saw this particular contestant to just “ask about her sex tape.”
I don’t remember the contestant but I also remember thinking, oh great, how am I going to ask this without getting kicked off the red carpet or getting screamed at or looked at as some gossipy rude reporter? I asked her normal questions, how she was what she was looking forward to at the event, and closed with gently asking, “So how are you doing?” and I didn’t even have to say it. I just asked like a friend and she immediately warmed up and shared her feelings. Phew. I could not believe I pulled that one off but I really didn’t even want to ask! I don’t think I’d have the guts to ask a famous star but a reality show person who is a normal person was probably a bit more forgiving.
I had to ask a lot of questions about shows, gossip, personal life and it was fun and light to just talk about entertainment
When a (way old) actor hit on me and dating life
A guy from Gilmore Girls, he was way old, and I don’t want to type to his name but you can guess, he was a main character. He asked for my number or email after I interviewed him on the red carpet and he asked me out on a date. I immediately told my boss because I didn’t want to get in trouble. She told me not to go out with him and how that date was all sorts of bad. So, I never responded, hoping I would never run into him again needing to interview him because it was so awkward.
Dating in LA, well the guys I met anyway were incredibly lame, even if you met them at the Sky Bar (which is where I met most of them). One was an actor named Gill (I kept thinking fish gill?) who was handsome but also very self absorbed. All he would do is talk about himself on the phone and when we were supposed to go out he called like an hour before saying he had an audition the next day and had some stupid emergency like printing his headshot. I don’t know why he even asked me out if he didn’t want to go out. I never talked to him again.
Another guy was the same age as me, recent college graduate and waited tables at a restaurant at The Grove as he tried to be an actor. Very typical of LA. He said he would give it a year or two before he would do what he graduated in. He had a 5 second part as an extra with no speaking words in Seventh Heaven. He kept saying he was friends with Jessica Biel. He once got in a small bar fight and had a bandaid on his face and he said he couldn’t mess up his face because it was “his meal ticket”. He said that. He also had a small dog named Fiona and would walk her around the apartment and never pick up after his dog. What kind of crappy human are you where you don’t pick up after your dog takes a poop? He was. He also took like two hours to get ready for his shift thinking of his shift as an audition hoping he’d get discovered. I broke up with him after a few months over the phone because he made me so unhappy, he was a super bitter jerk about it but he was so rude and hardly seemed like he liked me anyway so I don’t know why he was so upset. It was probably more about the rejection than anything. But here’s the kicker – my friend tagged me in a Real Housewives IG post, I don’t know the lady’s name but she’s one of the originals, Vicky I think? And there is Tony is with her smiling, and the caption reads, “My favorite waiter at” whatever restaurant. Guess the acting didn’t pan out…. the guys were just not serious to settle down and just strange!
Why I moved to Phoenix
The stories are endless you guys, if you ever meet up with me and want to know more, I’ll tell you all of it.
I had photos and albums and press badges I used to hang on my oversized bulletin board in my home office, but they most are long gone. I am not a sentimental person when it comes to objects like I used to be. There were some celebrities I just adored that are still flourishing today as successful actors.
LA life was worth the experience. Whenever I would travel, people would ask how I liked living in LA and I would bluntly say, I love it but I also hate it at the same time. But there I was living a dream, my dream and some people don’t get that opportunity which is why I’m sharing mine with you so you can feel like you experienced it (minus the LA rent, traffic and taking way too long to find a parking spot at the beach).
There are pros and cons and living in every major city has them. I’m still 100% glad I did it because I know going to a school outside of where I grew up (thanks mom and dad for encouraging this) and moving around has made me who I am today.
I moved to Phoenix after E! Online did away with assistants. But I had a contact at The Arizona Republic who was trying to get me back there (I swore I would never ever return to Arizona, too hot, too…not California with the weather and all the things to do!) Never say never. Every time I do, that thing I never thought would happen, always happens. So I took a job in Phoenix for a year (I didn’t love the job at The Arizona Republic). I knew I could always move back to LA or anywhere – no one is ever stuck somewhere unless you make yourself stuck. And here we are, in Phoenix – and what makes this place great to me are the people. It really is my friends who are like family, the affordability, the conveniences, the freedoms we have here (not being closed right now) and we have great weather. I also think Phoenix is a great city to make it as a successful entrepreneur, people here love to connect and support small businesses.
Life will throw you so many adventures and you never know how long that ride will be, so enjoy every single moment. I believe in always learning all you can through experiences, and being present and going out at every opportunity. Experiences won’t kill you, you’ll adjust and go with the flow if you find yourself not where you want, and you’ll learn how what you like and don’t. And, you never know when those experiences will be memories you tell your kids one day, or blog readers.
Diana Elizabeth only wishes she lived in NYC before she settled down but that’s ok – she also never felt ready for NYC even though she’s visited five times because the subway was always confusing to her (it isn’t now). Is there a place you are so glad you had lived there?