My LA to Z: Yvette Nicole Brown

The Studio City-based actress—she stars on Community on NBC—tells us where she gets her nails done, where she celebrates her birthday each year, and where she once sat next to Ryan Gosling


The Getty Center

One of the last temp jobs that I had before I took the plunge and decided to try acting was working in one of their administrative offices, pushing papers. I was so far removed from the glamorous galleries, but every lunch hour I would slip away and walk the grounds, and I fell in love. I didn’t really have a lot of money to go to a beautiful gallery and walk around back then—I think I didn’t have a car at the time—so the whole experience for me was that Cleveland girl-big dreams experience. Riding that tram up and seeing the Getty appear as if out of the heavens, it was a magical time. 

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Aroma Coffee & Tea Co.

I love that place for two reasons. One is very shallow and one is very tasty. The shallow reason is one day I had lunch there one seat over from Ryan Gosling. Here’s what happened: When he was getting up to leave I said, ‘I’m sorry, I just want to tell you that I think you are fabulous.’ And he said back to me, ‘No, I think you are fabulous.’ Look, I don’t know what that means. I’m going to choose to believe that he was flirting with me. The second reason is they bring in desserts from different bakeries, and I have a real lemon cake problem. It’s literally a cornucopia of lemon cakes that are there.

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My love for Chick-fil-A goes back to high school in Ohio, but I tweeted about how I wished there was a Chic-fil-A here so much that when they made plans for the Hollywood location, Chick-fil-A wrote me to say they were tearing down whatever was on that corner and would I come down and be the lady who yells ‘Tear down that building!’ So I was there when they tore down the original building and I was there to cut the ribbon for the new Chick-fil-A.

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Westfield Topanga Mall

The reason I love this mall so much is that it has every single thing, from Target to Louis Vuitton. No mater how much time you have or what you are looking for, there is a store there that will fit your needs. My favorite store there is Anthropologie. That mall is so large, I’ve made plans to meet friends there and not been able to find them.  

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Motion Picture & Television Fund Residential Community

I just went for the first time maybe a month ago and now I’m 100% in. I met a wonderful resident there who is turning either 98 or 99, and when we went to visit she couldn’t talk to us too long because she had a call back for a Honda commercial. That says everything you need to know about that campus. It’s this vibrant, lovely, joy-filled place for people who are performers. I’ve taken part in two or three events and that is going to be the place that I hang out.

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Soak Nails

I’m there every other week. I was never a mani-pedi kind of girl, but I was in Sherri Shepherd’s wedding in August, and she wanted us to have nice nails. After that, I had established these nails on Community, so I have to keep going back to make sure my nails look the same. Now I’m getting manicures every other week, and I love it. I met Lionel Ritchie at Soak Nails. Magic happens there. 

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ArcLight Cinema, Sherman Oaks

It has a gift shop, which is awesome. I always like to go early, get my ticket, and then bum around. I love the regimented way they handle movie going, how after a certain point they won’t let you in. It keeps me on schedule. I go there to see three movies back to back when I have a day off from work.

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Grand Lux Cafe

I’ve been there since the day they opened because I’m a big Cheesecake Factory fan, and when I heard it was like that but an experience and more shishi poopoo, I was like, I’m in. I know all the waiters and they all know me. I’ve spent my birthday there every year for the last four or five years. I get the miso salmon but without the vegetables and with extra rice.

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Images courtesy (in order): Whitney Thomas (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8)