Gemma is a 21-year-old glamour-puss fashion graduate who's waiting for her first big break in the fashion and beauty industry.
Famous landmarks, glamour and celebrities around every corner - is LA really all it's cracked up to be?
After Vegas (and a quick trip to the Grand Canyon, which you have to see to believe, so I won't go into detail about it), we flew to Los Angeles and moved into the amazing USA Hostels Hollywood, which is a really great place to stay if you ever feel the need to visit La-la land.
A few steps from the hostel and you're on the walk of fame, with its tarmac stars for celebrities. Like most of Hollywood, it's a complete letdown. If you're not amazed enough that Marilyn Monroe's star has 'prime' position outside McDonalds, prepare to be shocked that the most worn-out star belongs to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and that it's easy to find the star for Rugrats, but impossible to locate one for Audrey Hepburn. We did have fun matching our hands to those of the old-school filmstars in the cement outside the Chinese Theatre, and I'll never tire of walking into the Kodak Theatre, though, where the Oscars take place. The first sighting of the Hollywood sign is a magical moment (though trying to find somewhere to take a photo of it is a pain). We also dawdled for a long time around the star for Johnny Depp. God knows it's the closest we'll ever get to the man himself.
The main 'problem' with LA is that it's so spread out, so without a car it's impossible to get around. Though the bus system isn't as bad as everyone who lives there makes it out to be, it took us a good hour to get to the beaches at Santa Monica and Venice. And once you get there, though the beaches are nice, the water isn't really great to swim in (the storm drains run into the ocean there, giving you the odd manky whiff of raw sewage). However, shopping is good at both beaches, from the funky street vendors in Venice (I picked up a retro 'Jem' t-shirt for £8) to all your big names in Santa Monica on the 3rd St Promenade - it's worth going to the US just to get Gap jeans for half what you pay over here.
"We ended our holiday without a single celeb sighting except possibly the back of Adam Garcia's head (it could have been anyone, but I maintain it was him)."
Though a lot of our LA trip was taken up with shopping, eating, drinking and the subsequent hangovers (the hostel had very cheap drinks, and when a Kiwi challenges you to a drinking competition you'd be rude to say no) we did manage one of those tacky tours of the stars' homes on the last day, where we loitered outside Jen & Brad's house and saw the Playboy Mansion. You really only see a lot of gates and the odd angry looking gardener, but while in LA, it's the thing to do if you're a tourist! Our tour ended at Rodeo Drive, where we saw the locations for Pretty Woman and ate the best cheesecake I've ever had.
We ended our holiday without a single celeb sighting except possibly the back of Adam Garcia's head (it could have been anyone, but I maintain it was him. I studied him in detail when I watched Coyote Ugly). I was a bit miffed about this, since the magazines make out like you'll be bumping into celebs at every corner. You'd think after three years of studying magazine journalism I'd know that they do tend to stretch the truth! Still, my faith was restored when at LAX who should board the same flight as us, but Cameron Diaz.
Sadly, we didn't get the upgrade that time.