City of Anglos: From the Opera singer to the acrobats, it's not just actors who flock to Hollywood in search of glory


Event meets the cream of British artistic talent...

OPERA SINGER: 'I retain my British traditions - I'll have a cuppa while catching up with my mum on Skype. I listen to the BBC via podcasts,' said Summer Watson

OPERA SINGER: 'I retain my British traditions - I'll have a cuppa while catching up with my mum on Skype. I listen to the BBC via podcasts,' said Summer Watson

It’s been the call for ambitious Brits for decades: head west, young man (or woman), and find fame and fortune.

Britons have taken LA by storm in the past few years, whether it’s on the small screen (Damian Lewis and Hugh Laurie) or the big screen (Robert Pattinson and Rosamund Pike).

But off-screen, there are thousands of unknown Brits happy to pack up and start afresh 5,400 miles away.

Photographer Dawn Bowery moved to Hollywood in 2011 from London and was instantly struck by the diversity and passion of those unsung Britons.

She began taking pictures, now turned into a book, California Dreaming: Real Life Stories Of Brits In LA.

‘It takes a certain type to up sticks and move to the other side of the world,’ she says.

‘It’s more than just sunny weather and the promise of fame. The common thread I found among those who’ve made a life here is determination, tenacity and self-belief.’


THE OPERA SINGER

Summer Watson (pictured above)

‘I showed up in 2011 with two suitcases, a pair of sunglasses and some music scores. I’d made No 2 in the Classical Chart in the UK with my debut album, but I knew nobody in LA. Since then, though, I’ve recorded for Dreamworks Films and sung for the Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I retain my British traditions – I’ll have a cuppa while catching up with my mum on Skype. I listen to the BBC via podcasts. I’m proud of my roots but America’s the land of opportunity – you can be whatever you want.’


THE ACROBATS

Andi and Kevin Atherton

THE ACROBATS: 'We toured the world for years with Cirque du Soleil and LA was always a favourite place on our travels,' said Andi and Kevin Atherton

THE ACROBATS: 'We toured the world for years with Cirque du Soleil and LA was always a favourite place on our travels,' said Andi and Kevin Atherton

‘We toured the world for years with Cirque du Soleil and LA was always a favourite place on our travels. So when they set up a permanent show here, back in 2011, we jumped at the chance to sign up. What do we miss the most about our time in Wigan? That’s easy – the English humour and a pint in the local.’


THE FASHION DESIGNER

Zandra Rhodes

THE FASHION DESIGNER: 'California was not so much a destiny, but fate... what I do with that is up to me. One area that opened up unexpectedly was designing costumes for the opera,' said Zandra Rhodes

THE FASHION DESIGNER: 'California was not so much a destiny, but fate... what I do with that is up to me. One area that opened up unexpectedly was designing costumes for the opera,' said Zandra Rhodes

‘You become more exotic away from home, but my American clients like the “Britishness” of my creations. I moved here in the mid-Nineties. Some people come for the weather but I’m like David Hockney… I love it when it rains! California was not so much a destiny, but fate… what I do with that is up to me. One area that opened up unexpectedly was designing costumes for the opera.’


 


THE TV PIONEER

Marc Conneely

THE TV PIONEER: 'I moved to California in 2010. Why? It was the ideal place to work in TV: the sunshine, the people, the creative Hollywood atmosphere and the can-do attitude had me hooked,' said Marc Conneely

THE TV PIONEER: 'I moved to California in 2010. Why? It was the ideal place to work in TV: the sunshine, the people, the creative Hollywood atmosphere and the can-do attitude had me hooked,' said Marc Conneely

‘“Travel broadens your mind,” my dad would tell me while I was growing up in Huddersfield. “Jump at every opportunity to have the sun on your back.” I launched MTV in the former Soviet Union and then into the biggest market in the world – China. But having seen the rest of the world, I moved to California in 2010. Why? It was the ideal place to work in TV: the sunshine, the people, the creative Hollywood atmosphere and the can-do attitude had me hooked. The most surprising aspect of living in LA is the sincerity and depth of many of the people. Maybe it’s because people seem to have already lived a life before they move here and have a better understanding of what they want.’


THE PAINTER & SCULPTOR

Caroline Jones

THE PAINTER & SCULPTOR: 'It's been great for my work as a painter and a sculptor... This is a place where everyone has a story, is writing a story, is living a story or is making a story,' said Caroline Jones

THE PAINTER & SCULPTOR: 'It's been great for my work as a painter and a sculptor... This is a place where everyone has a story, is writing a story, is living a story or is making a story,' said Caroline Jones

‘I was in London, where I got a degree in stone carving. I had my children there (they’re seven and nine now) but I wanted them to grow up experiencing all the wonders I’d found in this sunny place, so we moved here a few years later. The light and the colour in the skies make the most rundown barrio a visual delight. It’s been great for my work as a painter and a sculptor – I’ve had a number of shows in LA and around the U.S. since I came. This is a place where everyone has a story, is writing a story, is living a story or is making a story.’


THE SCREEN HAIRSTYLIST

Martin Samuel

THE SCREEN HAIRSTYLIST: 'My wife Mary and I moved back here for good in the early Nineties. We love the weather and the general positivity - I don't understand it when people put it down,' said Martin Samuel

THE SCREEN HAIRSTYLIST: 'My wife Mary and I moved back here for good in the early Nineties. We love the weather and the general positivity - I don't understand it when people put it down,' said Martin Samuel

‘My wife Mary and I visited LA in 1970 as tourists and hated it. But in 1975 we worked with David Bowie on The Man Who Fell To Earth and we loved it! I’ve worked on everything from Burlesque to Pirates Of The Caribbean, which resulted in two Academy nominations and a Bafta award, which was the proudest moment of my life. We moved back here for good in the early Nineties. We love the weather and the general positivity – I don’t understand it when people put it down.’


‘California Dreaming: Real Life Stories Of Brits In LA’ goes on sale on May 1. britsinlabook.com


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Los Angeles: City of Anglos: It's not just actors who flock to Hollywood