In July, comedian Joe Rogan announced on his podcast that he was leaving L.A. and heading to Texas.
“One of the things that I love about Texas is the fact that it’s so wild,” Rogan said on a podcast episode. “You can do a lot of shit here.”
Rogan has cited everything from L.A.’s high taxes and homelessness problem to overpopulation and the state’s handling of the pandemic as being among his reasons for fleeing. Late last year, he bought a $14.4 million mansion in Austin, and now, as other celebs and businesspeople lead the charge, it looks like social media influencers are following suit.
When the pandemic hit and Jhánneu Roberts, a sustainability YouTuber and influencer, realized she could live in a two-bedroom apartment in Texas for the same price she was paying for a studio apartment in California, the decision was easy.
“With everything being shut down and you’re paying so much in L.A., it’s like why not live somewhere where you can get more space for either the same amount of money or less money,” she says.
If there’s a place in Texas that is spiritually closest to L.A., it’s Austin. Sixth Street is famous for its lineup of bars and clubs, but drive 40 minutes west and soon you’re in Dripping Springs, a more low-key town in the Hill Country that has hiking, swimming, and wineries. For Roberts, Austin was everything she was looking for: a major city with young people and warm weather.
Because her job is online, she says not much has changed in her career since she moved. She can work from anywhere and if something comes up in L.A., she can simply fly back.
She can see herself moving back to L.A. once the pandemic is over, she says, but in the meantime, she’s happy saving money in Austin. It’s also helpful that Texas doesn’t have income tax.
Kyle Hjelmeseth, founder and CEO of G&B Digital Management, says there’s more money to be made for influencers in L.A., but there’s still an “earning opportunity” in Texas.
“The spend in Los Angeles is so much higher than the spend in Austin,” he says. “Although things are changing and there’s more money that is being spent regionally, it’s definitely something that every influencer has to consider … . The money, if you’re a brand and you’re trying to reach the Austin market, typically it’s not as lucrative as L.A.”
On top of that, Hjelmeseth says there’s a chance an influencer’s audience will change with a move, but typically followers are invested in an influencer for things other than where they live.
When Lauryn Bosstick, also known as the Skinny Confidential, was pregnant more than a year ago, she says she started craving a calmer place to live.
“Everything about L.A. was high cortisol,” she says. “From the sounds to stepping outside, even taking a walk was just so much cortisol.”
She, her husband, and daughter moved from L.A. to Austin at the start of 2021 because Bosstick wanted to be surrounded by nature and have a home that felt more like a “sanctuary.”
“I know it’s a trend, but I really love it here,” she says. “I feel like it’s everything right for my family.”
Bosstick and her husband will still have to fly to L.A. to interview their podcast subjects in person, but Austin serves as a “more peaceful and more zen” place for her family.
In 2020, Tesla announced its plan to build a factory in Austin and even though Tesla still has operations in California, Musk now lives in Texas, too. He said that he believes Silicon Valley has “outsized influence in the world” and feels California has grown complacent.
In June 2018, actor Scott Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood, announced on Instagram that he’d left California for Texas because he “couldn’t take the crowds anymore.”
Eastwood told Flaunt he fell in love with “simple things” Texas offered.
“I think that’s why people who come to Texas really can fall in love with it,” he said. “There’s more community, people are more neighborly, people are nice. It slows life down a little bit. It’s not this fast-paced living in a big city like New York or Los Angeles.”
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