Last week we had the opportunity to catch up with DNO friend and model Christie Sentner about New Orleans and her move to Los Angeles.
What's your name and where are you from? What first attracted you to New Orleans/why did you move there?
My name's Christie Sentner. Born in Miami, Florida but grew up in a small town in North Florida – Leesburg.
I played the piano from a young age and joined the jazz band at my middle school. We won a competition and got to travel to New Orleans to play on the riverfront and meet musicians at Loyola. So that was my intro to New Orleans – and I was really fascinated by it, more so than my classmates were. Especially the streetcar going through the Garden District. Then I was in a folk band while living in Gainesville, Florida and we road tripped to New Orleans. After that I decided to apply to transfer to Loyola. But what attracted me to the city was that it was the opposite of the place I was coming from, which I never identified with or felt at home in.
Did you play music in New Orleans much? What were some of the most fulfilling things you were involved with there?
I got really into school work and stopped singing in our band, although we did play one show at Neutral Ground Coffee Shop which was really great and memorable because we played with Benjamin Booker, who we knew from Gainesville and moved at the same time to New Orleans. But the most fulfilling things I was involved with in New Orleans were tutoring writing at Lusher and working at Lycée Francais. And truthfully, working at DNO and meeting people through the shop.
Now that you've spent some time away, what are things you most miss about New Orleans?
One of the things I miss most about New Orleans is that there are all these seasons in a year that aren't signaled by the weather, but that are cause for celebration. There's always something to look forward to that everyone is involved in and it creates this collective excitement that's palpable, and I've never experienced that anywhere else.
So true, so good. And so different from LA, where it’s almost opposite in that regard.
Yeah, I've been really missing that feeling. It's like a Christmas morning feeling.
Are you happy in Los Angeles? What have you been loving about life in California?
I really like LA, but it has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone. I really love where I live, it feels so removed from the craziness of areas like West Hollywood or Downtown. And I love the landscape here. I've only ever lived in the southeast, and when I first got to California it felt like Jurassic Park or something. I also love how much is constantly happening. Like NYC – there's a niche for everyone, and if you love something obscure you can find a community of people who also love that thing...especially with films.
It's all so spot on! Do you feel as though you are still searching out your niche there? Or is there already a connection to community/work that keeps you going?
I'm definitely still searching for my niche, and that can feel overwhelming at times because there are so many ambitious, talented young people here who are sure. But I was really lucky because I've met a few people who are really involved in various organizations for promoting women in the film industry in all areas. And I feel like that's where I want to be and what I want to be a part of.
Good to hear! Is there anything more you would like to say about that?
I'm on a massive bicoastal email list for women in the film industry, and it's just so cool because you're able to see the scale of projects being created and executed by women and everyone helps each other and you feel like you can ask anything – like if you need a house, a job, or a recommendation...
That’s great! Is that how you found your apartment? Would you like to describe your living situation? What's your neighborhood like?
Yeah, I found my apartment through the mailing list. I moved to LA with just a few hundred dollars and realized pretty quickly that I would have to find an alternative living space. I only got like two responses and one was my current landlord who told me about the camper she'd been renting on Airbnb.
So I'm renting this 1955 Kenskill camper in El Sereno in between Highland Park and South Pasadena, and the neighborhood is great – everyone looks out for each other.
“Everyone looks out for each other.” — That sounds great!
Yeah, and people are way more willing to help lift each other up than is the perception.
Photos of Christie by Michael Tucker