California Dreamin'

When I was 20 I moved to California. It was something I had always dreamed of doing, and I finally got up the nerve and convinced my parents to let me go. But let's start at the beginning.

From the time I was a very young girl I loved to perform. I started dancing around the age of five and continued up until junior high. I was super shy as a child, but for some reason never had an ounce of stage fright. I eventually quit dance so I could focus on cheerleading (biggest mistake ever), but I've always regretted it. So even after I wasn't dancing anymore I still had an urge to be on stage performing.

I started acting around the age of 15, just taking acting lessons here and there. Unfortunately my school was so teeny tiny that we didn't have theater until my senior year of high school. And even then, I don't think it can actually be considered theater. The two plays that we did that year were "Santa Strikes Back" and "The Legend of Sammy's Swamp". No, I'm not kidding. I wish I was.

After high school I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I didn't want to go to college, I had never planned on going to college, but somehow I randomly enrolled in college anyway. I knew I still wanted to act, but I didn't have the confidence to major in theater. I started taking more acting lessons outside of school and auditioning for student and independent films here and there.

I stayed in school for about 3 semesters before I just lost all motivation. I had never really wanted to be there, I was newly single, and I was dying to move to L.A. and take the acting thing seriously. An acting coach that I had at the time said he knew a girl that was about my age who was also wanting to move there. She and I met up for lunch one day at Panera Bread, and five minutes into our conversation we had already decided that we would be moving in July and going before that to find an apartment. I went to my parents with the plan, and after some convincing they said I could go.


I moved to L.A. the summer of 2005 when I was 20 years old. Moving from a town with less than 3000 people, to a college town in Oklahoma, then to one of the biggest cities in America within two years was quite a change. For the first month or so I wouldn't even drive on the freeway. It was a bit of a shock to the system, but I loved it. I felt like for the first time I was where I was supposed to be.

While in L.A. I took acting lessons, auditioned, got an agent, and booked a few very small things. I also missed home more than I ever thought possible. All my life I had been dying to get out of the small town I grew up in...and then I missed it terribly once I was gone. I would call home on the weekends and my friends would all be together. If I were there I would have been thinking of all the amazing things I could be doing in California, but now that I was there I could only think about the fun I was missing out on back home. To make matters worse, my roommate and I weren't getting along. So I was all alone in a huge city, with no friends and no support system. At such a young age I just simply wasn't strong enough or secure enough to handle it.

That spring I got sick. More sick than I have possibly ever been, before or since. My roommate was basically living with her boyfriend by that time, and I didn't have anyone to take care of me. My mom had always babied me up to that point, so I was completely lost. I remember driving myself through L.A. traffic, from Studio City to West Hollywood where my doctor was, with a 103 degree temperature, crying because I just hated my life. I called my parents that night and told them I wanted to move home. Within the next couple of months, I was back in Oklahoma.

When I look back on my time in L.A., it's definitely bittersweet. I learned so much about myself during that time. I learned to take care of myself, to be alone in a huge city, and I overcame a lot of emotional stuff that I had been dealing with. I chased my dream, although if I had it to do all over again I would do everything completely differently. You live, you learn I suppose.

For a long time I regretted moving home because I felt like I gave up on my dream. I even was planning on moving back to L.A. in January of 2009....but luck would have it that I met this crazy Armenian guy who turned my world upside down in September of 2008. I honestly do believe that everything happens for a reason, and if I would have stayed, who knows what would have happened? I could have found some success, but never would have met Arsen. I wouldn't be living this amazing life that I'm living today.

The life that I have now is certainly nothing like what I imagined it would be, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'll take the life in the suburbs, the husband, the dog, and someday, the kids. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be completely satisfied with this type of life I would have called you crazy. But what did I know back then?


  1. I love this story Celeste! I also grew up in a teeny tiny country town and had dreams of moving to SoCal after high school, but I was too scared. Instead I followed some of my friends off to college across the state. I don't regret it because everything I've done has lead me to where I am, but I do always wonder what would have happened if I had the guts to just go for it. I'm so happy that you at least tried it out! If you didn't, you would always wonder. And you're still young! You still have lots of time to pursue acting, so I think you should continue to. Even if it isn't from LA. :)

  2. Aw Celeste, it was really nice getting to know more about you! You were a CA girl, even if it was a short lived run. I'm an extremely family oriented person so I can completely understand being homesick and wanting to be surrounded by people that love you and can take of you. Plus, how can you be sad with such a handsome hub and sweet life? :) But I do think you are GORGEOUS and could definitely give acting another shot ;)


  3. hi there- new follower from GFC. i remember the shock i went through moving from a small town to L.A. as well. i have figured it out now but it took some time. i lived in studio city as well for some time. im glad you gave it a try and had the experience.


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