Lights, Camera… Happiness

Welcome to the Jungle

By Lauren Harper

photo by Lauren Harper

Honesty is always the best policy.

Well sometimes… but from what I’ve learned and experienced in Los Angeles thus far, it ain’t the case the majority of the time. The fascinating fact is many people don’t want honesty and are much happier being told a blatant lie.
Of course the truth hurts, but it won’t make you bleed. On the same level, a lie won’t make you bleed either… so pick your poison. Believe me, there’s plenty to choose from in this town. 

With that being said, I’ll be honest. I didn’t know what to specifically write about this time around. So, here are a few thoughts, statements and everything in between that has been brewing in my mind.

Each moment in Hollywood is the polar opposite of the previous second, hour, day, and so forth. One minute you had an amazing audition, next you order an iced soy latte, then you open an email, and learn you’re minus a friend on the social scoreboard.

Up, down, right, left, yes, no and maybe. You don’t need a few cocktails at Bar Marmont to get hit with the spins in this town, since it can happen at any moment during your day.

Juggling a career and a social life is hard for everyone, unless your life IS about getting paid to be social. If this were the case, we would all be very wealthy, walk on a red carpet everywhere and need two BlackBerry’s to handle our ever growing address book.

Obviously, that’s not the case for everyone, including me. I’ve found that you have to find out who you are and learn what does and doesn’t work for you by trying on many “hats.”

For example, when I first moved here, I tried on the party hat for size. It fit for a bit, stumbled out of Teddy’s a few times, mingled with the wrong crowd and the façade looked pretty decent. However, it clearly wasn’t working for me, and I knew it. I willingly threw that hat out.

Also, for anyone who lives here and is in the entertainment industry especially, the moment you land you need to accept the fact that LA will slap you in the face eventually. That initial sting is your wake up call to know that the rest of your stay you have to slap LA right back until you get what you want in this town.

I got slapped, bruised, and pushed around a few times (of course metaphorically since I would never let someone hit me… I’m from New Jersey-fuggedaboutit).

A few months after moving to West Hollywood, I was burglarized. The one thing that echoes throughout my mind often has actually helped me on my solo journey in Hollyweird. That “one thing” is a statement the police officer said to me before driving away that night I was robbed.

It was nearing 4:00am, and I followed the officer out of my apartment and to his cop car while discussing the final details of the robbery. The officer said he’ll be in touch and slid into the car. Before he shut the door, he poked his head out, paused then said with a smile, “Welcome to the jungle, baby.”

The moment I heard him say that, I knew I got slapped. Time to wake up and realize I wasn’t in college anymore, my mother is now a plane ride away and I could get shot when the sun goes down. This is Los Angeles, I’m pursuing a hard as nails career and the people here are animals. Time to grow up. Time for a new hat.

Essentially, no matter what town you live in, what career you pursue or whether you drink decaf instead of regular, it’s easy to get caught up in your personal cobweb that’s intertwined with what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and what hat to try on next or if it’s even the most suitable one.

The good news is the fact that Life IS about trying on those hats.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Just be ready and embrace the inevitable slap in the face in order to change, move on and blossom into something bigger and better than before.

New hats and sudden slaps… that’s life. So, welcome to the jungle, baby.



Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Lauren Harper is an L.A. woman with East Coast blood. Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, she is an actress and writer residing in the heart of Hollywood, California. Lauren graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in French and Francophone Studies. Fast forward to 2012, she has continued to work, successfully carving a niche for herself in the entertainment industry. Lauren is excited to contribute to Happiness Series with Lights, Camera…Happiness and her interview series, Lights, Camera…Interview. Lauren hopes to further enlighten herself and you with each entry. Find out more about Lauren Harper | Twitter: @TheLaurenHarper | Official Site: | e-mail: [email protected]

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