You Know You Live Close to Hollywood When…



… You run into famous celebrities from time to time.  I have always been fascinated with the film and television industry, and it was like a dream come true when my parents took me to visit Hollywood for the first time during a vacation back in 1998.

While the Hollywood Walk of Fame may not be the prettiest and cleanest attraction on the planet, during our trip I was fascinated by it.  I loved seeing the names of famous people from various fields of the entertainment industry framed in pink stars scattered along the streets.  Little did I know that I was actually going to see an actual celebrity just the next day.

We had tickets for the Universal Studios Hollywood. It was a warm summer day, and the park was packed.  While we were waiting in line for the Jurassic Park ride, my mom was looking around and faced the back side, where the actual film studios are located. She suddenly let out a gasp and announced that Mr. Pretty Woman aka Richard Gere just drove by on the studio lot.

I quickly turned around, and there it was, my first major celebrity sighting. Even though I just caught a very short glimpse of Richard scooting in a golf cart in between the sets, it was still something I was very looking forward to telling my High School friends back in Germany.

My next major sighting occurred a couple years ago at LAX airport, also known as “celebrity central” (nah, I just made that up, but it suits the location.)  I was on my way to visit my best friend in Dallas and was hanging out at the departure gate for my flight.

As it was getting closer to boarding time, I stood up and walked closer towards the boarding area.  While I was standing close to a pole and checked my phone, I noticed two women standing close to me, one of them looking very familiar.  I took a longer peek over, and then it dawned on me: There, only a few inches away from me stood Kirsten Dunst.

She seemed so normal and no one was bothering her that you wouldn’t have noticed her. She and her girlfriend were just standing there talking to each other.  I kept glimpsing over, but since I am generally not the type that walks over to ask for autographs or pictures, I didn’t want to bother her.

What a fun coincidence it was that she was on the same flight as me.  But what stood out to me the most was that, instead of sitting in first class and participating in priority boarding, she actually joined the “normal” crowd and sat in Economy Class. This was by far my favorite celebrity moment and showed me again that, at the end of the day, Hollywood stars are just like us.

My latest celebrity experience occurred in 2014 in Laguna Beach.  It was on a Sunday, and a couple of friends and I had just finished a hike around the Laguna Canyons when we decided to grab some food.  We went to a burger place close to the beach.

I didn’t even notice it at first when we entered the restaurant since all I could focus on at that point was food, but two of my girlfriends started whispering to each other.  All I heard them saying was, “there is Batman.” I had no clue what they were talking about and just raised my brows, then put my attention back on the host who was guiding us to our table.

When we all set down, my friends kept peeking over towards the entrance of the restaurant.  Since I still hadn’t figured out what was going on, I leaned back in my chair so I could glimpse past them and then realized why they were so excited.  There, at one of the tables on the other end of the restaurant, sat Christian Bale with his family.

I was a huge fan of The Dark Knight Rises, and so were my friends.  While I was just enjoying being in the same restaurant as the latest Batman actor, my two girlfriends were arguing to go over and ask for a picture with him or not.  I was totally not up for it, obviously because I am always too shy to ask and second because he was there with his kids and wife.

My friends eventually decided against it and we just indulged our food until it was time to pay.  Christian Bale and his family had already left, but our waiter was pretty excited about the whole situation as well.  When he came to give us the check he blurted out, “Did you guys just see that Christian Bale was here?!” We all started laughing and then asked him a million questions about how it was to serve such a famous actor.

So whenever you are going on with your life in Southern California, be aware that around every corner a celebrity could be awaiting you.



Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at) and place her name in the subject line.



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