Olivia Grant’s LA diary

Brit Starlet Olivia Grant is off to break America - she shares her LA diary with Marie Claire

Brit Starlet Olivia Grant is off to break America – she shares her LA diary with Marie Claire and tells us what she REALLY thinks of life in La-La Land…

My first impressions

‘Okay, so this is my first trip to LA and I’m more than a little excited! We arrive and head straight for West Hollywood (WEHO to those in the know), which is packed with gym-honed bodies sipping caffeine free cappuccinos (!) and discussing film treatments over Apple Mac Pros. Seeing as most people are in sweatpants and it’s 11am on a Tuesday, it seems pretty safe to say that no one has a proper job in this part of town. Despite this, there is a definite sense of urgency about the place, as if everyone has a 4pm ‘meet’ which is a MASSIVE deal but they’re hanging out for now because they foresee it being so stressful. But this is my home for the moment so I’m off to do some exploring.

Celeb spotting

‘The West Hollywood Soho House is similarly extraordinary. Sharing a lift with Jennifer Anniston (who is so tiny! I literally tower above her) the bar here is like you’ve walked into the Green Room on the set of the latest Paramount movie. And with Nicholas Hoult propping up the bar and Sigourney Weaver munching on a pizza you’d be hard pushed to notice that it’s also a beautiful venue. Wicker lanterns hang from indoor trees flanked by floor to ceiling windows which overlook the whole of Hollywood. No one is drinking though. Even a glass of wine feels sort of naughty here…I have a white wine spritzer and compromise (one foot either side of the pond if you will…)

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Venice Beach

‘Only 40 minutes from West Hollywood by car it could LITERALLY be the other side of the universe. Gone are the three storey buildings and antiquated neon signs to be replaced with powder blue beach huts akin to Wendy houses weaving down towards the sandy coast. Similarly absent is the low-level hysteria of WEHO and instead there is a sun-baked bohemian vibe which makes it very hard to care too much about anything. By extension, if one did want to do a guerrilla photoshoot against some exuberant graffiti tagging there is no better place than Venice beach. With a jazz musician freestyling next to a clown in silver face paint, no-one even batted an eyelid as I strode across the sand in four inch heels.

Runyon Canyon

‘I’ve never really been an outdoorsy kind of girl but there is something about the weather here that makes it impossible to stay in. Dreading the gym, as always, I’m beyond grateful when a girlfriend picks me up to hike Runyon Canyon (even if it is at 7.30am!) A favourite of the West Hollywood crowd, the Canyon is a stone’s throw away from the Sunset strip but couldn’t be more of a contrast. The foliage becomes ridiculously lush and the views stretch for miles. But this is basically irrelevant because something else is going down here. EVERYONE IS IN FULL MAKE-UP. My friend failed to tell me that this is like no hike you’ve ever been on before. Instead of studenty hiker types with slightly scrawny jack russells the trail is awash with highly coiffured glamazons hitting their stride for ultimate fat burn with pooches trotting beside them with a look in their eyes that speaks of an busy morning grooming schedule. Oh yes. And Rufus Sewell is here too. Delighted that I’m breathless with my hair scraped back in a ponytail…

Downtown

‘Too much time sipping wheatgrass shots can make you soft so I head south for the ‘Downtown Art Walk’ a festival held monthly in L.A. Downtown is much more built up and looks a bit like a budget New York with its skyscrapers and large trash cans. Despite Downtown’s recent decline (home now to the infamous ‘Skid Row’ which is awash with L.A’s homeless in dirty tents) South Broadway used to be the hub of L.A’s entertainment scene with twelve movie theatre within six blocks in the thirties The area now has a sort of haunted eeriness to it as you can still see the outlines of dilapidated fluorescent signs above art deco buildings now doubling as restaurants or book shops. Fortunately the festival drowns out some of the decay and there are steel drums on street corners, food trucks and a conspicuous individual dressed as Jesus…just because. After we’d done our fair share of appreciatively murmuring over young artists’ prints exhibiting in make shift art spaces we snuck into ‘Bottega Louie’ literally THE chicest eatery; basically a mash up of Soho’s Barrafina meets Kings Road’s Saatchi gallery. This place is right up my street if only to share a ridiculously stringy pizza whilst watching everyone else from West Hollywood escape the crowds and similarly commit carbicide in the festival spirit…Oh and I jaywalked! Unwittingly yes (who knew crossing a street when not officially indicated to do so is a punishable offence?) but it still felt super naughty. Oh the thrill of it. Simple pleasures in L.A xxx’

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