30 Reasons To Look Forward To Your 30s In L.A.

Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pennie
Everyone knows L.A. is a city where youth is power, right? A city where anything is possible, as long as you have an ingénue’s face, a hustler’s spirit, and the stamina to party hop until last call in five-inch heels? Hardly.

In case you haven’t heard, it's a pretty fantastic time right now to be a woman over 30 in L.A. Those in their fourth decade (and beyond) are launching companies, creating art, and effecting social change in massive numbers — with a sense of confidence and clarity that few 20-somethings can fathom. Even the notoriously age-obsessed realms of film and fashion are bucking the ridiculous idea that youth deserves all the attention. To wit: Cher, Joni Mitchell, and Jessica Lange are fronting coveted fashion and beauty ad campaigns, while this summer’s breakout cinematic talent wasn’t a wide-eyed gal of 22, but 34-year-old Trainwreck writer/actor Amy Schumer.

For further proof that life in this town gets way better after 30, we turned to some of the city’s most inspiring and successful women. Their stories and insights prove that getting older L.A.-style is most definitely not the curse it was previously made out to be — in fact, it can actually be quite fabulous.

1 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Meyer
Jennifer Meyer, Jewelry Designer

“I remember my 20s feeling like the perfect blend of independence and security. And while living in L.A., it didn’t really feel as though life could be more fun — I lived it up. I was also really fortunate to work for some amazing people that have inspired me as a person and in my career. I really don’t have many regrets, aside from wishing that I had worn more sunscreen.

"It’s not as though I hit 30 and acquired a new wealth of wisdom and perspective, but as the years have gone on, I’ve gained an appreciation for all of the lessons learned in my teens and 20s. I have clarity on the parts to laugh off, and the things, and people, to hold close. I’d say that, as a 30-something, I am more confident and have a better understanding of who I am and the most important things in life — family, friendship, happiness, health, and love.

"So far, my 30s have been my favorite chapter yet — I have been able to watch my babies grow, build my company, and still have fun. A lot of fun! I still manage to work in a night out here and there (although my recovery time has doubled!). Nothing is better than showing my kids this beautiful city, and it’s incredible to experience some of my favorite places through their eyes.”
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2 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Erin Falconer
Erin Falconer, Cofounder of LEAF.tv and Editor-in-Chief of Pick The Brain

“My 30s have really been a ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario. It’s where I found my focus, and as a result, my voice — or was it the other way around? I’m not sure how, but all of my unadulterated bliss for life and adventure without a serious play towards a game plan somehow (miraculously) came together in my 30s. It was not only guiding me to the right path, but I was feeling prepared, for the first time, to become what I was supposed to be. While I do believe in trying to map out your course, I also am a firm believer that you should be open to what the world has in store for you. Lead, but also be led. My 30-year-old self gave me the courage to allow that to happen, and I have never been happier.

"Oh, also, two words: Bullshit Meter. I apparently didn’t have one before I turned 30. Being able to both identify BS and have the confidence to call it out has been extremely liberating (and a lot of fun).”
3 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Ara Katz
Ara Katz, Cofounder & CMO, Spring

"Your 20s are about thinking you know who you are, and your 30s are about knowing who you are. Most call it your Saturn Return, but I call it coming home. Here’s what I learned the hard way:

"1. Let go of what doesn’t serve you. Do it so often it becomes your strongest muscle.

"2. Choose people and jobs and experiences that fill you. Anything that doesn’t feel right probably isn’t.

"3. Jerry Maguire was full of shit. No one completes you.

"4. Save draft. Don’t send that text or email. Most often, it’s just for you, and they have already told you everything you need to know.

"5. Worship your physical body — it is the only one you get.

"6. Expectation is the enemy of joy.

"7. Have empathy and compassion. You have no idea what is going on with someone else. Sometimes they don’t either.

"8. And be kind to yourself, too. Nothing productive comes from beating yourself up."
4 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Kendra Bracken-Ferguson
Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, Cofounder and COO, Digital Brand Architects

“Is youth truly wasted on the young? I’m unsure, because I’m in my 30s, and I still have incredible youth in me. Sure, in my 20s, life was firing at a rapid pace. Sometimes that speed was glamorous — traveling every other week from city to city. But sometimes that speed was just fast, always rushed, and hurried. Then came my mid-30s. I had my daughter, which anchored me like never before, and you know what? I hit my stride. Having her was the longest stretch — about five months — that I stayed put since 2002, and it was beautiful.

"I took time and experienced L.A. I learned patience, and peace, and welcomed the calmness this city brings with it. I take it day-by-day and hour-by-hour, pausing to restart and recharge. I still take every opportunity to take on adventure, but it's more calculated, more mindful, and more intentional. I've learned life is full of things you can't control, like traffic (especially here!), and other people's behavior. But I’ve also learned how to react and respond to it all — I’m flexible and enjoy every moment.

"In my 30s also came an 'Aha' moment. I looked around and I thought, ‘I don't want to be the smartest one at the table.’ So I developed a belief in a brain trust community, and became committed to having the smartest people around me. I didn’t want people who just took up space in my life...That real estate is way too valuable.

"But a few things haven’t changed. Integrity, kindness, and goodness are still the foundation blocks of my life, and ‘carpe diem’ is my mantra. And remember the youth I talked about in the beginning? I’m still part of the founding force behind a global digital agency. And you better believe that takes speed.”
5 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Kin Ying Lee
Kin Ying Lee, Chief Creative Officer, Lucky Brand

“Wow, my 20s feel so far away now...but, that doesn't bother me. In my 30s, I've learned how to focus on what matters the most — like spending more quality time with family and friends. My kids definitely help me stay curious, grounded, and humble. It's important for me to work on what I love, with people I love. Life's short, so I find it exciting to evolve and add new experiences to my life. Joining Lucky Brand has become a new source of inspiration for me and my work. I feel more empowered, confident, and most importantly, true to myself.”
6 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pennie
Nikki Pennie, DJ

“I loved my 20s — those years were unforgettable — but I'm incredibly happy to be in my 30s. I spent most of my 20s out and about, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life... I learned so much and made many mistakes. Now, I feel I'm in such a good place: wiser, confident, happy in my career, and comfortable in my own skin.

"Being in L.A. at this point in my life is amazing. The lifestyle here is chilled, healthier than being in New York or London, and you can dip in and out of the social scene (ironic that I say that, given I am a DJ!). It’s definitely a good place to be when you reach your 30s and you don’t want to chase a party anymore. Many of my friends my age in London and NYC are moving here (or would like to), as you can’t beat the L.A. lifestyle. L.A. is the place to be right now for music, fashion, art and film...it’s exciting to be here at this time!”
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7 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Kathryn Bentley
Kathryn Bentley, Jewelry Designer and Owner of Dream Collective

“I moved to L.A. seven years ago on my 30th birthday. I spent my entire 20s in New York working for artists, designers, and stylists. I moved seven times, had five questionable relationships, and worked eight different difficult jobs. Your 20s are your formative years — a time to stay out all night, work 15 hour days, date the wrong people, and make art that gets tossed in the trash.

Moving to L.A. felt completely liberating — a middle-finger salute to New York. I walked away with a wealth of knowledge. L.A. has been good to me; I fell into a community of amazing designers and supportive creatives. In my 30s, I opened my own business, came out to my family and friends, started making art again...all with self-confidence and tons of humility. My motto for my 30s is ‘secure is the new sexy!'"
8 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Anine Bing
Anine Bing, Blogger and Designer

“I wish I knew 10 years ago that everything will be okay. I was always so worried and anxious about the future, and I found it hard to be happy with where I was at that point. Having kids and turning 30 made me into a much calmer person. I feel like the older I get, the better life gets. I know who I am. I know what I love and what I don’t like. I am very focused, but also good at actually relaxing and enjoying the present.

"I really learned that working hard pays off. And that staying focused on a few things, instead of trying to be everywhere, is key. You can’t do a hundred things at once and still do a good job. Getting older feels great!”
9 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Heather Taylor
Heather Taylor, Designer, Heather Taylor Home

“While I had a lot of fun in my 20s, most of the decade was spent pursuing a career that I only felt half-hearted about. As I neared my 30s, it seemed more and more like I needed a change to create a more satisfying lifestyle. It took me years to work up the courage to make that change, and once I did, my vision became so much more clear. Now I have the job that I want, with the love and support of my family. With age has come much clarity and gratitude. I realized it’s up to me to enjoy my life and make it inspiring, beautiful, and productive!”
10 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Dubbeldam
Sarah Dubbeldam, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Darling Magazine

“In my 20s, I spent too much time being insecure, anxious, and depressed about who I was, what I would do, who I would marry and on and on … I kept wondering: ‘Will everything really turn out okay?’

"Once I hit my 30s, I had worked through so many of my issues that I finally felt comfortable in my own skin — I chose to embrace gratitude in the present, and not stress about the unknown. One of the most valuable things I did was take personality tests (The Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and StrengthsFinder) to discover all my strengths and weaknesses, and decide to be fully myself.

"In a city like L.A. that has strong pressures to look perfect, dress perfect, and ‘project’ perfect to the world, I have realized that ‘beautiful’ is actually ‘unique,’ it’s not ‘perfect.’ I now strive for the French women’s philosophy of ‘caring but not really caring,’ which always ends up being the most confident, most chic way of life.”
11 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Hedi Gores
Hedi Gores, Cofounder, Pressed Juicery

“In my 30s, I'm finding ways to nurture the things I believe in most. It's my genuine desire to help people become their best selves from the inside out. Creating Pressed Juicery — a company in line with my personal values of self-nurturing, health, and environmental sustainability — has been a dream for me. These values are now more important than ever as I watch my son and his generation grow up.

"My 30s have also been about becoming better because I can. Having the right intentions, relying on as much common sense as possible, and putting in the hard work with integrity can bring about some pretty phenomenal results that will last. I feel more beautiful than ever in my 30s, I’ve begun to know myself better, and challenge myself more.”
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12 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Gregg Renfrew
Gregg Renfrew, Founder & CEO, Beautycounter

“Life has only gotten better for me since my 20s. So many of the things that used to seem important naturally faded, and allowed me to focus on what I really wanted to do. Like many women, the best changes for me came from within. Once I realized that my value was not dependent upon the validation of others, and my potential would not be determined by a man, career success, or any of my friendships, I became more confident and self-assured. This clarity has afforded me an even greater focus on what I want to do, and how I will get there. It has also made life just a bit more fun.”
13 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Justina Blakeney
Justina Blakeney, Interior Designer and Blogger

“With my 30s came starting my own business, getting married to my man, having a sweet little nugget of a baby girl, and buying my first home. L.A. is so ripe with opportunity and has such fertile soil for creatives. Once my 20s were over, I shed some of my insecurities — I blossomed. Oh, and I love that I don't feel a single pang of guilt for not going to Coachella!”
14 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Grant
Alexandra Grant, Artist, Work Currently At Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art

“At just over six feet tall with silver hair, I continue to come into my own confidence and power as I get older. When I was younger, I colored my hair, first for fun — blue, pink, blonde! — and then brown to keep it 'natural'. I got tired of doing the upkeep, so I cut it short and let it grow into what it is today.

"I’m intrepid, and open by nature, so I probably make as many mistakes as I did when I was younger. But now I’m more resilient and understand the role experimentation plays in a creative life. Instead of aging, I feel more childlike, flexible, and playful than in my 20s. I have faith and evidence that things always work out. I love what I do, the people I work with, and the incredible community of artists and supporters I call home.”
15 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Erin Condren
Erin Condren, Stationery Designer

“I’ve been an Angeleno for decades. As a UCLA graduate with parents in nearby Orange County, I decided that L.A. was the city in which I would build my career in the apparel industry, and start my family. Insane schedules, stressful working conditions, and a failed business venture later, I found myself a stay-at-home mom with newborn twins and no clue what my next move was. L.A. is a big city, but it is a city made of strong communities.

"My community, or ‘my village,’ is Hermosa Beach. My friends and neighbors encouraged my creativity, hosting shopping parties where I sold homemade holiday cards and gift labels. My work ‘village’ is now in Hawthorne, where I employ more than 100 talented Angelenos who make products we can all be proud of. Living in L.A. today, in my not-so-20s, I realize that I needed the mistakes and growing pains of my 20s and 30s to truly understand my strengths, my passions, and the powerful synergies in L.A."
16 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Gibson Tuttle
Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Founder, Olive & June

“I believe women grow stronger and happier with every year. We become more and more confident in ourselves, which allows us to love that much more. Where I am now is a world away from where I was at when I was 29, let alone 'in my 20s.' I embrace every day, engage with others so truly and fully, and possess a humble self-love, which allows me to love others (especially my fellow womenfolk!) with everything I have.”
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17 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Meredith Baird
Meredith Baird, Author of Coconut Kitchen

“As I've gotten older, I have become much more comfortable in my own skin, and more complete in my values. On a physical level, I think you start settling in. I feel much stronger and healthier than I did at points in my 20s. I'm also more clear, and now at least try to take life way less seriously.

"Intuitively, I always knew that turning 30 would be a turning point for me. The compromises that you make when you’re younger and still ‘figuring it out’ aren't appealing, nor do they even feel possible. I think we all have our things that we look back on and are like, ‘What was I thinking?!’ It is so important to trust your gut and be happy — and align yourself with people who are happy.

"The question of ‘What am I doing with my life?’ has completely gone away, which is incredibly liberating. Even though I've always had a passion and a mission of sorts, it’s only been in my 30s that I've really felt confident enough to make it on my own. We are living in such a unique moment in time where the opportunity for women to express themselves and be successful is massive. The community that I've found with like-minded women in L.A. is a bit mind-blowing — it’s so cool.”
18 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Heidi Merrick
Heidi Merrick, Designer

“The thing about approaching 40 is that I'm starting to think I might just be the woman I've always wanted to be. It feels good, I feel alive. I'm just beginning to process the idea that who you are today is who you've always been, and who you're meant to be and all the things in the future for you are already you… Is that weird? I guess I'm saying I feel less of a need to prove myself, and more room just to be myself.
L.A. allows me to have everything — an atelier, beautiful schools for my children, the ocean, and mounds of culture. The other thing that's super legit is on this side of life, you and your friends are the ones making and directing the events, so everything is much more fun.”
19 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Jenn Brown
Jenn Brown, Sportscaster, NFL Network/NBC/UFC/Direct TV

“When I first moved to L.A., in my early 20s, I didn't take time to appreciate the city. I was trying to figure out who I was, where I should be going with my career, and where all the cool kids were hanging out. But now that I'm in my 30s, my priorities have changed. I've gotten married, switched jobs, started a business, and had a baby. It wasn't until I had this shift that I truly started to fully appreciate what a special city L.A. is.

"Where my time used to be focused on the night scene, I now find myself outside enjoying the beautiful weather on a hike or at the beach with my son. The casual, crazy friends I used to hang out with till 3 a.m. have now become a handful of close friends that I hit the farmers' market with or meet for a drink on Abbot Kinney.

"In the insecurities of my 20s, I wasted a lot of time on things that didn't matter. Now that I'm my 30s, I have a deeper sense of who I am and what's important. I spend less time worrying about being liked and what people think of me, and more time with the people I truly love.”
20 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Jillian Ezra
Jillian Ezra, CEO, Ezra Productions

"I'll admit it: When I was in my early 20s, I hated L.A. I was living in New York and felt that L.A. lacked the culture, intellectualism, and spontaneity I thrived on. In my mid-20s, I realized that winters only get harder, working in finance in a cubicle 57 floors above the city actually does not take the place of passion, and that if I was going to take a risk on my entrepreneurial spirit, it'd better be then. After all, 30, ‘the age when you need to have everything figured out,’ was right around the corner.

"I took the plunge and moved back to my native L.A., started my production company, and for the first time in my professional life, I got to explore the city and meet new people as a part of my job. I let my curiosity guide me as I went to events in Silicon Beach, the Arts District downtown, and shot in architectural landmarks like the American Cement Building. I had time to join organizations like National Council of Jewish Women that gave me the platform to make a difference in people's lives on a large scale.

"I still don’t have it all figured out. But now I know that’s normal, and that life wouldn't be half as much fun if I did have all the answers. If I could address my younger self, I would say: Relax, it’ll all work out. Remove ‘should’ from your vocabulary. And thank you for using 30 SPF on your skin daily. I swear it’s making a difference!"
21 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Pamela Skaist-Levy
Pamela Skaist-Levy, Cofounder, Pam & Gela (left)

“Growing up in L.A. was a great journey. The main lesson I learned was to find your passion... I spent my early 20s figuring out what that was. I knew I wanted to work in fashion. And after costuming films, starting a hat company, and selling my hats to Barneys, that wasn't my passion. Then, through luck and stars being aligned, I met my lifelong bestie and partner-in-crime, Gela Nash-Taylor. Together, we were unstoppable. We created an amazing world of fun, whimsy, and joy — Juicy Couture. Today, the world we are creating is the world of Pam and Gela, surrounding ourselves with the people we love, and love to create with. Find your passion and do what makes you happy... the rest will follow.”

Gela Nash-Taylor, Cofounder, Pam & Gela (right)

“I think of my life as stepping stones. I wouldn’t be loving life now or who I am after 30 without the crazy-amazing decade of my wild 20s. I love the Wild West spirit of anything goes in L.A...This is the perfect environment for me. I believe the L.A. world is more accepting of women, entrepreneurs, and risk takers. I built an empire based on California luxury with my best friend…I met and married my second husband and soulmate—an Englishman in exile in L.A. — and had two beautiful Cali children. Life after 30 in L.A. is the dream.”
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22 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Wagner
Carrie Wagner, Founding Executive Director, Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) Los Angeles

“This year, as I turned 40, I began the process of opening my own charter school for middle-school girls. For the first time in my career, I feel freedom, excitement, and pure joy about creating something in L.A. that resonates with my mind, body, and spirit. My ego ran my career in my 20s and 30s. My authentic self is now running the show and it feels amazing. I feel such a deeper connection with myself and from there, with others. I did not realize work could be this wonderful and FUN! It all started with a leap of faith with my heart guiding the way.”
23 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Shiva Rose
Shiva Rose, Founder of Shiva Rose organic beauty and The Local Rose

“[As I've gotten older] I am so much more conscious, present, and in the moment...In fact, I feel better now as far as stamina and health goes...In my 20s and 30s, I was an actress and that was taxing on me at times. In my late 30s, my life broke open and I reinvented myself. This was challenging and frightening at times; however, I followed my heart and built a more authentic existence. Today, I feel so much more empowered and fulfilled creating a line of natural, non-toxic beauty products, and writing for my blog, The Local Rose. I feel like I am now contributing high-vibration goodness to the community of women around me. I also am very mindful of using elements that will benefit our planet, and us. This has all evolved from living, and so I celebrate being this age!”
24 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Helen Johannesen
Helen Johannesen, Director of Operations/Wine Director, Animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec, Petit Trois, Jon and Vinny’s, Helen’s

“I don't know if everyone feels this way, but I never wish I could go backwards. I always want to keep moving forward on that life and work hustle. I'm into not being defined by mistakes, because we all make them, and surrounding myself with intelligence and creativity. I'm down with the curated collections in my life that bring me joy: friends, love, shoes, art...

"Maybe after you turn 30, your knife skills are sharper and you can carve out the spaces you want to exist in, with greater ease. I love that my work is what I do and such a part of who I am. It was a choice in my 20s to follow my dreams, and it makes my ambitions become truer in my 30s. I don't like wasting time — I love being myself and saying ‘Bye, Felicia’ to any noise that needs to be turned off. Depth is cool, knowledge is power, and both can really only be collected over time.”
25 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Citrone
Leanne Citrone, co-owner, Andy Lecompte Salon

“If I could go back 20 years to the month I was about to turn 20 years old, I'd give younger me three pieces of advice, for three different challenges every woman eventually faces.

"First, with work, while it was scary, I would remind myself to be impulsive and take risks, because doing so would eventually land me in my dream job. Second, with life, I would say that I wouldn't truly understand happiness until I found my husband, Michael, who is not only my partner and the father to our two children, but also my best friend — without whom I'd be lost. And finally, as I learned to age with grace, I would remind myself to do the most important thing possible in life: get a facial at least once a month.”
26 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Mai Quynh
Mai Quynh, Red Carpet Makeup Artist

"I've learned in my 30s that it's important to be comfortable in your own skin. In my 20s, I would wear more makeup and dress scantily clad to appear older, and more mature. As I approached my 30s, I realized I wanted to be taken seriously — so, I had to dress more age appropriately. It didn't mean I couldn't have fun with my clothes and makeup, it just meant no more Urban Outfitters.

Also, in my 30s, I realized it was hard to make and keep friends. I started weeding out the people that always had "drama" in their life or negative energy."
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27 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Tasya Van Ree
Tasya Van Ree, Photographer and Artist

“I wouldn’t say time has changed my life for the better; I’ve always had the best life possible. But I do think, as I have aged, a certain precision in the dynamic of personal presence has set in, and has opened me up to a whole new world of inner awareness and outer understanding. I’ve really found a kind of stillness in this space and within that stillness there’s been a creative consciousness where I can actually feel myself connecting to an intellectual system on a universal level. It’s quite calming and full of profound meaning. It’s all so beautiful and infinitely harmonic.”
28 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel
Sarah Sherman Samuel, Creative Director and Designer, Smitten Studio and A Sunny Afternoon

“If your 20s are for finding out who you are, your 30s are for enjoying it. In my 20s, I graduated college and moved to Miami (from Michigan) on a whim. I jumped from job to job, from advertising to interiors to stationery, trying to find which path in design I wanted to take. When Miami wasn't cutting it for me, I decided to move to L.A. I thought there might be more creative opportunities, which I initially found at a new fashion paper goods company. There, I put in the time, worked my butt off, became creative director, and helped the startup grow. Finally, after five years there, and the same year I turned 30, I left to work for myself. I started blogging, created my own product line, and worked freelance from my own design studio.

"I ended up being able to pull the best things from each of the jobs and experiences I had in my 20s to create a work life, that became a lifestyle. Finding my work path in L.A. also connected me to like-minded people… I have found my tribe. L.A. breeds creativity, but living by the beach, you also can't take yourself too seriously. It's enjoying the week as much as the weekends.”
29 of 29
Photo: Courtesy of Hannah An
Hannah An, Founder and CEO, The District

“Although it has been 20 years since I’ve turned 30, I have been able to appreciate how the culinary landscape has evolved... L.A. has inspired chefs to be creative beyond the traditional lens of French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking styles.

There are also tons of local farmers [now], allowing us to use the freshest ingredients available all year long. These changes have inspired me to open The District, which is an ode to my native cuisine of Vietnam. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to balance being both a mom and a restaurateur."
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