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Chasing Acting Dreams: My Hostel Days in West Hollywood

Traveling has always been a part of my life, making me feel alive and in the moment. Growing up in a musical and artistic family in Copenhagen, my early travels were mostly around Denmark and neighboring countries like Sweden and Germany. However, my passion for acting took me much further afield, leading to some truly unforgettable experiences.

After finishing high school as an exchange student living in a small town in Northern California, I returned to Copenhagen with a desire to pursue acting more seriously. I applied to the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Los Angeles and got accepted. The excitement of receiving that acceptance letter was quickly followed by the realization that I knew no one in LA. Even so, I packed my bags and headed across the pond.

Arriving at LAX was a whirlwind. The city was vast and unfamiliar, but I was ready to embrace the adventure. My initial stay was at a hotel in Inglewood, but I soon moved to the Orbit Hostel in West Hollywood. This place on Melrose Avenue would be my home for the next several months, filled with an eclectic mix of people and experiences that would shape my early days in LA and impact me in many ways.

Living in a six-bedroom mixed dorm was an eye-opener. The hostel was a melting pot of dreamers, travelers, and those just passing through. On my first day, I met a guy called Magic, who, despite reeking of alcohol, was incredibly friendly and helpful. He and a few Australians were sitting on the terrace, discussing the local area and giving tips on where to find groceries and how to navigate the city. It was here that I first learned about the farmer's market down the street and the public transport system.

The Orbit Hostel was a microcosm of West Hollywood itself—vibrant, diverse, and sometimes a bit chaotic. The hostel's terrace became a regular spot for me, where I met people from all walks of life. Some were fellow actors trying to make it in the industry, while others were travelers with fascinating stories. Despite the occasional odd encounter, like the cab driver who offered me a vague job (which I politely declined) on my way to the hostel, these interactions enriched my experience.

One of the most memorable aspects of living in the hostel was the sense of community. Despite our different backgrounds and goals, we bonded over shared experiences and the common challenges of navigating life in LA. The camaraderie was comforting, especially on the many days when the city felt overwhelming.

Walking to my first day at the Lee Strasberg Institute, four blocks away along Hayworth Avenue, I was filled with a mix of excitement and nervousness. The classes were intense and the teachers were tough, but they were exactly what I needed. My teachers frequently recommended several plays to read, so a few of us would often head to Samuel French on Sunset to pick up the suggested books. These early days were filled with learning and adapting, both in my acting classes and in my new living situation.

In class, we worked on various plays every day and took full advantage of the great spaces and theatres within the building. I mainly studied scene work, script analysis, and on-camera acting. We also did a lot of improvisation exercises, one of which I remember clearly because it involved a scene of six of us actors driving an imaginary car using chairs, and me as the pregnant driver in front, suddenly having to give birth. One of the many reasons why I love improv.

A Crash Course in Focus

Reflecting on my time at the Orbit Hostel, I realize how these experiences shaped my resilience and adaptability—traits that have been invaluable in my acting career. Living with strangers taught me to be a bit more flexible and open-minded, skills that are crucial in the unpredictable world of acting. Being surrounded by people all day long, many of whom spent hours partying, drinking, and using drugs, was a real eye-opener. It was common to see fellow hostel residents preparing for a night out or recovering from one. Despite this environment, I never felt remotely tempted to join in those activities.

The constant presence of people and their varied lifestyles emphasized the importance of maintaining my focus and discipline. I learned to tune out the noise and remain focused, even when the surroundings were anything but conducive to concentration. This ability to stay grounded and committed has been essential throughout my career, especially in the unpredictable and often chaotic world of acting. These early experiences in West Hollywood were more than just a stepping stone in my career; they were a formative period that taught me about life, people, and the importance of community. As I continue to travel and work around the world, I carry these lessons with me, grateful for the unique path that brought me here.

Living with strangers in a hostel in West Hollywood wasn't just about finding a place to stay; it was about strength and building the resilience needed to navigate the highs and lows of an acting career. These memories remain a cherished part of my journey, reminding me of the vibrant, chaotic, incredibly challenging, and ultimately rewarding path I've traveled so far.

About me: I'm a Danish actress currently based in Copenhagen. Say hello on Instagram


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