We partnered up with Toyota Camry to ask VIAA — an R&B Songstress on the come up — and Hollywood — a legendary dancer/choreographer — for their takes on how city that never seems to go out of style inspires and drives their passions.
The narrative of the young person traveling from the Midwest to Los Angeles with hopes of being discovered isn’t a new one. In 1937, it was enough for Lana Turner to sit demurely on a stool at a soda fountain sipping a frothy beverage through a straw. Nowadays, people have to make things pop, but they don’t have to do it alone. The very city they live in buoys hopeful artists with camaraderie and empowers them with the resilience they need to succeed. For choreographer Hollywood and singer Viaa, Los Angeles is not only a place to achieve their goals, it’s a force driving them.
Hollywood started dancing professionally in his 20s, when he entered the intern program at Broadway Dance Center in New York. He needed the break on class prices in order to get the dance instruction he wanted, so he did whatever was asked of him — even if it meant cleaning the bathrooms. The training he received paid off when Lil Mama hired him first as a dancer and then as the director of the video for her song “G-Slide.” That was the only confirmation of his talent Hollywood needed to prompt a move to Los Angeles in 2009.
“I didn’t have a plan B. I went for it. I just let everything go,” Hollywood narrates. “I knew the second that I couldn’t breathe without it, the second that I knew it was my therapy, that I was going to do anything in my power to keep dancing.”
Once he started building a career in L.A., the city began to shape him — offering opportunity after opportunity. At this point, Hollywood has been featured in Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” video and helped choreograph her “Last Girl on Earth” tour. Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj utilized his talents. And, he contributed to both the Teen Choice and American Music Awards. But, it isn’t just the jobs that the city provides or even the connections. There is the motivation.
“I would describe this city as hot, iconic and motivating,” Hollywood says. “And, the motivating part really describes me because I’ve been very motivated to tackle my dreams and my goals to get to the next level in life. Of course, being in Hollywood makes you want to become iconic in your field. L.A. is iconic when it comes to turning people into stars.”
Viaa has found herself similarly driven by the city. The child of parents in the Air Force, she was lucky to have avoided constant relocation, though she did grow up in both Germany and Ohio. She never felt any sense of community in these places, instead experiencing a sense of isolation. It made her insecure and eager to please, which held her back in her singing and her life in general. Los Angeles gave her the community she needed to galvanize her creative dreams.