Rhegan Coursey found success creating TikTok videos and now has over 4.5 million followers. When she first blew up on TikTok after a viral video posted in March 2020, “moving to LA was at the top of my (her) mind. 

In January of 2021, Coursey visited Los Angeles, and in the span of three days, found an apartment and signed a lease. After having recently turned 18, this was a decision Coursey made “behind my parents’ back”. 

Upon arriving in LA, social and economic pressures caught up with the young creator, peeling back the idealised and glamorous layer the city once presented. “On my very first night in LA, I got blackout drunk. I’m not mad at myself for that, it was my first night. But then I did it for three months straight. Every single night, I was drinking, going out. I lost all motivation for content creating.”

“A lot of people are struggling financially because it is so expensive. They want to live this celebrity lifestyle so they can post on social media that they spent $20 on a smoothie at luxury grocery store Erewhon. You’re pretending to be someone that’s not you, and then you lose yourself. That’s the cycle of LA. That’s what I did.”

In just three months, Coursey was robbed three times in the city, even once at an airport missing a flight to attened a family funeral. “All of this snowballed into a feeling of unease. Los Angeles feels dark. It never feels homey. As a 21-year-old woman living by herself, I rarely feel safe.
The more I connect with my followers and work on myself, the more I’m realizing that there’s so much more to life than getting blackout drunk until 4 a.m., going home and sleeping in until 5 p.m., and doing it again.”

Don’t get me wrong, this is not an LA-bashing article but simply a highlight on why LA is not an essential location if you want your social presence to thrive. If anything, the beauty of social media is that it allows you to build an audience, and a monetised audience, from literally anywhere in the world. 

“Not everyone I met in LA was a bad person, and I did build some meaningful connections. I love the nature in LA and I have a beautiful apartment. But despite the pros, I don’t want to be just another LA girl.”

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