Gold has such an allure. The infamous Gold Rush brought people from all over the world, while gold rushing had actually begun fifty years earlier in North Carolina. During youthful science field trips or Girl Scout outings, I recall vividly panning for gold in special riverbeds of North and South Carolina. The tiny gold flakes glistening in the sunshine made me starry-eyed enough to squat for hours until just a few more minuscule specks of gold could be sifted from the sand and minerals. Even though I’ve personally preferred wearing silver most of my jewelry life, golden brilliance stands out.
When I was still being called a kid, our family trip to the Golden Coast of California changed my perception of lifestyle forever. I distinctly remember one particular moment of driving south along the notorious Pacific Coast Highway. It wasn’t just the shining sun striking the tanned bodies of beachgoers and surfers along the blue ocean waves vista. I swear to this day that we passed a sleek red convertible perched cliffside, atop which was none other than One Day at a Time TV star Valerie Bertinelli smiling her best doing a photo shoot! For a burgeoning brunette teen to see one of her brunette beauty idols in the flesh, in such scenery, sent my future mind in high gear. I started wishing for my future gilded California life.
It helps being raised on epic doses of James Bond. Especially so if one finds themselves landing in west coast Hollywood after growing up in the rural sticks of a small-town farming community southern east coast. To say my dad was a Bond fan is not giving it fair worth. The dashing meets professional, mixed with mystery, glamour, magnificent women, intrigue, and always closing in classic triumph all accounted for a superbly rich education of sorts for me. I doubt my more traditional professor father’s point of view would agree that his love of the Bond series would ever be thought of as a learning tool for his eldest daughter. Mind you, this is a hefty bit of hindsight computing. But being into Bond gifted me a then-unknown insider look at the habits of golden guys and gals -the rich and famous, along with their shady counterparts. Of honorable mention, it also gave me all the more reason to aim to parade around in bikinis and red-carpet-worthy gowns by way of all the stunning Bond babes I admired, from Honey Ryder onward.
So many hit the golden jackpot in California, why not me too?! My somewhat secret and rose-colored glasses plan to call California my own began with the same beliefs of those gold rushers of yesteryear. I heard the stories, which traveled from far to near. I’d seen the people in real life having the times of their life in front of me on our family adventure. I’d watched the stars on the ‘boob tube’ (as my mom fondly still calls it at times), therefore I had faith they were really living the golden ticket life in California. If they were living that way then there must be room for me.
Gold isn’t merely about the element and mineral or the rings and bling. Gold represents a feeling, a thought process, a state of being of sorts. To live richly was very material in many ways for me at surface level growing up. Present day, the opulent lifestyle I harken to believing with all my heart lies moreso with the “stay gold” motto. This gold nugget of wisdom focuses on being true to you. Mining what wishes you truly seek, and retaining your innocence to recognize beauty in the things that matter most to you. I want to keep my childish dreams alive, feel the warmth of the same California sun rays as when I first set foot in “The Golden State”, and never give up the opportunities that great work equates to great play. As often as the golden hues drift around the landscape of my current resting place, I’ll take my wealthy mentality with me everywhere I go and seek to keep paying it forward.
I just marked twenty-six years of Cali lifestyle. I’ve called California my home base for more years than I logged in South Carolina developing the gumption and personality that has kept out west. While you’ll never be able to remove the graceful gritty, and beloved southern belle from my persona, I’ve got enormous pride in my wish come true to become one of the ‘California Girls’. I often tell people “If you’d told me what my future life would be full of when I was in my teens I would have looked at you like you were totally crazy.” I wanted to work in the movie biz and see my name in lights, as they say. My choice to give California a whirl has afforded me awesome opportunities. Specifically, I’d heard Hollywood could eat you up and spit you out, or it could be very good to you. I’m grateful every day to have received much more of the latter for all my hard work. Because of my California wish, I’ve landed an array of golden experiences, such as:
- Age 22, my summer arrival into fall caught me working as a receptionist for a company selling Star Trek memorabilia, which occasionally saw the likes of more childhood TV heroes popping in the office from Nichelle Nicols to ‘Jimmy’ Doohan or DeForest Kelly and Walter Koenig.
- Age 22–24, I was working my tail off from an intern to PA (Production Assistant), to Production Secretary with director Oliver Stone’s feature films and getting my wish to see my name in the rolling credits on a big movie theatre screen for the first time. Of the many other glorious highlights, meeting Robert Downey Jr. stands out. I was the first person to greet him as he stepped off the elevator coming to our office for a casting call for Natural Born Killers. His smile was infectious. He asked me for a copy of the crew list, as I was about to hand him the cast list. When I checked to correct him, he sweetly looked me in the eyes without skipping a beat and announced that he indeed wanted a copy of the ‘crew’ list please, but would also take the cast list. He explained he always liked to get to know the names of the people working to make him look good. What a resplendent example of how to be rich in form!
- Somewhere in those early twenties when dating an Alabama boy who was determined to teach himself to surf, I actually rode a wave standing up on a surfboard for what I think was at least 2 seconds along the slow curls of Seal Beach.
- Age 24–25, that same tushy was working as Production Secretary with director Martin Scorsese’s Casino feature film, after Oliver Stone had unexpectedly decided to take a hiatus.
- To the best of my memory, I stumbled into working a small documentary production and getting to meet two more childhood favorites of mine: ‘Fonzie’, Henry Winkler, and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.
- Age 26–28, I landed my first Personal Assistant gig with actress Sharon Stone, whose team I’d met that started to woo me on aforementioned filming.
- During the above glamour learning curve with Sharon, I touched my first Golden Globe Award the morning after Sharon won for her Casino role, only three weeks into my job with her. Plus, my time with her led to my first limo ride with a star and exit onto a red-carpet premiere with her.
- I’ve worked full time once on a studio lot as an Assistant with producer Mace Neufeld, then at Paramount Pictures.
- I sometimes sunbathe, swim in the ocean, sail, drive the coastline up or down and back again, go out to the desert for camping, into the mountains to ski or cuddle in a cabin, or stop to buy fresh strawberries, oranges, and more along the rolling hills or green valleys when peak season for edibles. California offers it all in one state.
- Age 30–36, I gained such adoration and artistic + photographic skills working as Personal Assistant + doing PR (Public Relations) with Dennis Hopper. I took my first private jet charters during this support time and stayed in swanky Vegas suites sometimes.
- I’ve learned meditation, found yoga, tried tantra and kept trying at times, sought more alternative answers to typical ailments or eating or exercise.
- I studied rituals of many kinds, resonating lovingly with the magickal Mother Earth pagan community, one specially first introduced to me being Circle of Aradia.
- I fell in love a lot and still do. I became educated in golden showers and why that wasn’t my thing.
- I’ve attended lavish mansion, estate, ballroom, event and location parties, meeting icons, celebs, politicians, finance gurus, and VIP’s across a myriad of dynamics and cultures. I’ve coordinated connecting with similar golden beings by hitchhiking, picking up hitchhikers, moving through shanty towns, slums, along homeless encampments, and all levels between.
- Age 42–47 Having been introduced by a mutual friend to the incomparable Julian Lennon, I had the pleasure to work Management with him.
- I’ve volunteered for oodles of non-profits. Each altering my view of how to stay gold forever.
- I’ve danced to music of so many varied beats, in wild locations from butte plateaus and old theatres to underground basement alleyway hidden spots and Speakeasies.
- I’ve stashed enough cash at times to travel the world racking up thirty-five countries so far, along with loads of travel back to see my family, while sitting in tons of Economy flight seats, but sometimes lucky to have upper Business or First Class.
Whatever your wishes, wild or mini, may you dig with the spirit of the first gold diggers until they do come true. Mostly because you believe it’s possible and partly so you may share such wealth when you strike it rich!