Meet Waleed Elgadi from London who moved to LA four months ago to pursue acting.
Waleed also won the prestigious 'MonolgueSlam' Award last month.
How did you end up in Los Angeles?
I came out to LA in 2013 to dip my toe and see if me and the city got along. I was seduced by its charms very quickly, especially after meeting industry folk who where encouraging and said I should get my working papers and make the move. I set about getting here much earlier but work in the UK kept me busy on that side of the Atlantic which I was grateful for. I then had a run of jobs which were all US productions so it seemed to make sense that I should be in the US. Last year I finally buckled down to getting my papers and here I am.
What do you miss most from home?
The usual, family, friends, and I never thought I’d say this but the underground! I was in NY recently with work and it was so nice to be able to get anywhere in the city so quickly on the subway. Although I uber/lyft everywhere here and it’s nice to be able to take in the sights of this beautiful city rather than having to worry about missing your turning on the 101! Also the theatre, I miss the theatre back home a lot.
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since ? If so why?
Opportunities seem to be endless here – that hasn’t changed. The industry will take you at your face value rather than your pedigree. If you can do the job and you are a fit for what they are looking for, you will book it. That’s refreshing. Also I really believe in kismet and I’m constantly astounded by the randomness of this city and how it seems like there is a certain energy that’s pushing it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and the industry over here already but I also realise I’m only just scratching the surface. Also my first impressions where that this was a place that you had to work hard at, that hasn’t changed, but I’m also learning to have fun and enjoy the ride a little more rather than just being a workhorse. A colleague once told me ‘LA is not so much a city but a big office where everyday is casual Friday.” I think that’s so true, learning to strike the balance is key.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London?
Everything is different. The weather, the people, the architecture, the sense of humour. Mostly I’m glad for it although sometimes I miss Sunday Roasts by a pub fireplace and then wrapping myself in a coat before going out. The grass is always greener I guess…
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
Not sure I’m an authority since I’ve been here for such a short while, or whether any of these will be particularly hidden but if you haven’t been to the Broad Museum yet, go. It’s like the Tate Modern on steroids. Then go to Grand Central Market after for foodie delights. That’s a nice day out downtown. I live in Silverlake and I’m a bit of a foodie, so wonderful discoveries have been Pine and Crane for out of this world delicious Chinese/Taiwanese (get the Dan Dan noodles – you’ll thank me). Musso and Franks in Hollywood has the best Spaghetti Meatballs and Lemondrop Cocktails I’ve ever tasted – its also apparently the oldest restaurant in LA and is full of history and old Hollywood glamour. The sunsets at Venice to the soundtrack of the drums circle is a pretty special experience too.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
Do your research well. Decide why it is exactly you want to come here and then do it. LA is an unforgettable experience.
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?
“The things that we say to ourselves in the mirror we wouldn’t dare say to our worst enemy” Be kind to yourself. In LA especially it’s really important to remember that.”
Lastly, how can we find out more about you?
My website is waleedelgadi.com and you can follow me on twitter @waleedelgadi Instagram @waleedium or my FB page https://www.facebook.com/waleed.elgadi/ . Currently I have a movie playing in US theatres called ‘A Hologram For The King’ where I play the character Sayed alongside Tom Hanks.