Cole Walliser (BA’05) is a Hollywood filmmaker, music video director, television host, and TikTok sensation, who has been living in Los Angeles for the past 14 years.
What three words or phrases best describe Los Angeles?
Vibrant. Melting pot. Sunshine.
How did you come to live in Los Angeles?
After I graduated from UBC, I decided I wanted to try my hand at a career in entertainment. Back then, there was no YouTube or social media — you really had to go to Los Angeles. Yes, there is a big film industry in Vancouver, but I wanted all of the opportunities available, so I really had to relocate to LA.
What do you like most about living there?
I love connecting with like-minded and driven individuals. It also just seems like everything is possible out here. Planning outdoor activities literally any day in the future is also nice.
Describe your favourite neighbourhood.
I live by the beach in Santa Monica. So that ranks pretty high. There’s so many cool pockets in LA, like Highland Park, Silver Lake, and downtown. They all have their own unique vibe.
If you could change one thing about Los Angeles, what would it be?
No more traffic.
What might surprise a visitor about Los Angeles?
That everyone else you meet in LA are just long-time visitors of LA.
What are your favourite hidden gems or activities that only locals know about?
I think with social media these days, everybody knows about everything. A lot of hidden gems are tiny restaurants, local cafes, and mom-and-pop shops. They are still around, and when you get a good recommendation for one, definitely check it out!
What’s the most over-rated tourist hotspot?
All of them? Lol. But often they are things you probably should do. Santa Monica Pier is super busy and has some tourist traps — but then what is a trip to LA without seeing the beach or the iconic pier? Same goes for the Hollywood Sign… like, did you even come to LA if you didn’t go check it out?
How easy is it to meet new people?
I found it fairly easy because I knew a few people in LA before moving here, and I met a lot of great people inside their friend circles. I know a few people who moved out here who really had a difficult time meeting people, but I say just pick an activity you want to engage in and go find groups to go do it with — if you don’t get out, you won’t meet anyone.
What issues are particularly important to the people of Los Angeles?
Being like really, ridiculously good-looking? Lol, that’s important to a lot of people in LA, but in all seriousness, I think housing and homelessness are huge issues right now. People are also generally concerned with the environment and mental health and wellbeing.
What is one local custom that every visitor should know about?
LA is such a melting pot of cultures and people I don’t think there’s one prevailing custom. I guess maybe street tacos? Or like fancy brunch in Beverly Hills — that seems pretty LA.
Looking to connect with your UBC alumni community?
If you live outside our campus communities in the Lower Mainland and Central Okanagan, visit the Global Alumni Network page to see if there’s an alumni ambassador or social media community where you live.
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