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Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA

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Making Up Hollywood

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Insider Profiles

Embracing the Art of the Possible in L.A.

Adam Smalley"I love getting lost in L.A., I make it a conscious challenge to not be a creature of habit."


Growing up in Sun Valley, a suburb 15 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, Adam Smalley felt like he lived on the fringes of the city. "It seemed like even going to Hollywood was a full-day trek," he says. But with a jazz musician father and a love for movies, the pull to Hollywood was perhaps inevitable.

Today, as a music editor who's worked on films like "The Lion King," "The Thin Red Line" and, most recently, the "Twilight" series, Smalley credits his supportive family and the city of Los Angeles itself for instilling in him the confidence to realize his dreams. "No matter what phase I went through as a kid," he says, "my parents were absolutely like, 'You can do it!' 'Why not?' … And that is the philosophy of L.A.: Anything is possible. The soul of L.A. is embracing an outrageous idea and being able to actually be successful."

That spirit of no rules and no boundaries has led Smalley into creative avenues outside his musical niche. He's recently added screenwriting and directing to his repertoire with the release of his first short film, "I Do." A devoted foodie, he's also a partner in the highly lauded Lotería Grill, a local chainlet of fresh, authentic Mexican cafes he started with longtime friend and chef Jimmy Shaw.

When he's not savoring Lotería's huevos rancheros, Smalley likes dining seaside. "One of my favorite things to do is jump in the car on a Sunday morning and drive down to the ocean," he says. "Just getting there is an adventure because you go through incredible neighborhoods, and then all of a sudden the ocean is right there. It's a little mini sort of vacation."

On Pacific Coast Highway, he'll stop for one of the enormous breakfasts at Patrick's Roadhouse or for the simply grilled, fresh-from-the-sea fare at the laidback Reel Inn. While in the area, he might stop and relax with a drink and an ocean view at Suite 700, the rooftop lounge at the art deco Hotel Shangri-La.

But he doesn't always have such a premeditated itinerary. "I love getting lost in L.A.," he says. "I make it a conscious challenge to not be a creature of habit. L.A. offers so many diverse opportunities if you're just open to it."

One such chance encounter that revealed a new side of L.A. was buying a chocolate chip cookie from a Homeboy Bakery stand at a farmers market. Part of nonprofit Homeboy Industries, the bakery provides at-risk and formerly gang-involved youths with valuable job skills. Smalley went on to tour the organization's downtown facilities and was impressed by how its programs offer those who have been involved in crime and violence a truly fresh start. "It's an incredible model for community restoration and personal restoration," he says.

And, once again, it's proof of what Smalley believes constitutes L.A.'s essence: the boundless opportunities to remake oneself and turn the impossible into the possible.

Check out Adam's L.A.