Meet Louise Houghton from Kent, UK who moved to LA less than a year ago to pursue her career as a host and producer.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
Even before I came to LA I knew it was a place I wanted to live. I have had the opportunity to live between London and Berlin for the last six years as I was working for Deutsche Welle, an international TV channel, but Berlin never called to me like LA did.
I grew up by the coast in Kent and went across the country to the coast of Wales to Aberystwyth University. It was only after moving to London that I realized how much I missed being by the water. Having the chance to live in a city where I could pursue my career and have the ocean in my life, was a dream come true. Every time I visited, before I got my visa, it felt like home and I couldn’t wait to settle in.
What do you miss most from home?
So much more than I ever thought I would actually! Whilst I was so keen to come here, I never once contemplated how hard it would be to move across the other side of the world. I knew no one! I had met some people on my previous trips so it was nice to know a few faces but I missed my friends and family so much. The support, encouragement, laughs and ability to be 100% myself was gone after 2pm and those back home were in bed! The time difference is the killer but, I am sure that is something all Brits have to tackle and it gets easier with time. You find a rhythm. I now have very entertaining breakfasts on Skype/Facetime/WhatsApp – whichever one decides to work!!
Apart from that, I miss food with less sugar and salt!! I used to have low blood pressure but moving to LA has sorted that out! Oat milk is the best in coffee and you can’t get that here easily. Other than that it is not really the usual things I miss. It’s not Cadbury’s or PG Tips (I bring those over with me!) – it is crumpets and oat cakes and German bread! And strangely tinned mackerel! Weird I know!
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since?
I loved how relaxed I always felt being here before I moved. To me it was always a place where I felt so positive and motivated. It’s amazing how quickly the relaxed holiday vibe fades when it becomes ‘home’ though and you have to deal with all the usual stresses and strains of daily life. That being said, I do still love the positive energy in LA. I always find it inspiring to meet people who are being proactive and pursuing their goals and it provides me with an extra push to get out there and follow the ‘American dream’!
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus EUROPE?
Well, aside from the obvious comment of the weather, I think the size of the city is a massive difference. It amazes me every day how big the streets are and how long it takes to travel just a few blocks! For a place that seems to be all about the lifestyle, you really have to make time to exercise here too, I’m realizing that! In Berlin and London, it was easy to live an active lifestyle. I would walk or cycle to most places in Berlin. I lived on the 5th floor of an apartment building without an elevator. It was just normal to walk. In London, I lived a 15-minute walk from the underground station. It was again normal to walk 10,000 steps without even thinking about it. Here, you have to make time in your day to move your body and it wasn’t until I started getting issues with my back that I really noticed the difference!
The other big realization was the cultural change. Although we speak the same language, there are so many differences! When I arrived I was constantly being misunderstood and also misunderstanding what others were saying to me!
I was also used to the Germans being very direct and the American’s are quite the opposite. I took everyone at their word when I arrived but I have now learnt the American lingo and can order a glass of water or regular/normal milk quite easily!!
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
I live in Venice and the canals are a beautiful sanctuary to me. I also love being by the ocean and on the top of the mountains. The views on the Paseo Miramar hiking trail are amazing but I’m sure a lot of people will have already explored that trail if they like hiking.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
I’d say that is a great idea to visit before you land on that plane! Everyone I met on my recce was very friendly and helpful and this certainly made me feel like I had a few connections when I came over, which was comforting.
The previous visits also helped give me an idea of where I wanted to look for an apartment and they helped me feel like I knew where a few things were when I moved over. I’d also suggest when you arrive to just get out there and do things. I signed up to Bumble BFF, MeetUp, BritsinLA, and other groups which provided a great way of having fun and meeting new people. The bank balance took a bit of a hit but it was worth it to experience new things and establish a relationship with the city and the people in it. I love now being able to walk down the street or into my local café or yoga studio and know people. That sense of community is important in making it feel like home and the quicker you feel that, the less you will miss the previous one!
Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom – what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
No Matter what you do, hold on to your dream. It is called the land of opportunity for a reason.
My advice would be to always trust and listen to your intuition.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you ? Are you working on anything at the moment?
Being a creative person, I have so many projects in development! I have heard that that is normal here and it is very exciting. At Christmas, I will be back hosting EUROMAXX, the daily lifestyle magazine show for Deutsche Welle I will continue to work for them from LA around award season, so you can look out for me on the red carpet. I am also developing a series with them featuring many of the world’s prominent figures but I can’t say too much on that right now. The music show, Balcony TV that I host though, continues to showcase top new music from LA’s rooftops and you can also find me as the MC at screenings around the city, grilling the cast and crew during the Q & A.
To add some wood to the fire, I have also been cast in a feature that is shooting next year. Then, of course, if I am not baking, you can find me on social media – where many of us spend too much of our time! My website louisehoughton.com is always up to date with info too.
You tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LouHoughton