February 04, 2021
Perhaps more so than other parts of the country, California has attracted its fair share of stereotypes. Although some of the clichés that follow us are justified—we like to be healthy, sue us—more often than not, they’re misconceptions that have a pinch of truth to them but also a whole lot of generalization. From the assumption that all Californians surf to the belief that everyone in Silicon Valley is a tech nerd, these California stereotypes are due to be debunked.
1. Everyone is an aspiring actor, musician, or model
That’s showbiz, baby! The Golden State does have a large concentration of A-listers living within its boundaries thanks to Hollywood, and many aspiring creatives who want to work in the industry move to California (Los Angeles in particular) for the opportunities. However, the belief that everyone in the state dreams of working in the entertainment industry is totally false; we also dream of being social media influencers.
Jokes aside, all it takes to debunk this California stereotype is spending a single day in the state—you’ll encounter people from a wide array of backgrounds and see the diverse range of expertise they bring to the table.
2. California is nothing but beaches
As much as we love a good summer road trip to the beach, not everyone is lucky enough to live a stone’s throw away from the coast. On the bright side, not fitting into this California stereotype is not as big of an issue as you might think.
We’re not trying to dim the spotlight on the state’s beautiful beaches, but the varied terrain in California offers many exciting inland escapades that are just as worthy of exploring. Deserts, valleys, mountains, and more—whether you’re looking to ski or surf, the Golden State has you covered.
3. Californians only eat a vegan (gluten-free, lactose-free, raw, organic) diet
The Golden State is a paradise for alternative diets. That much is true. But how can you resist indulging in a greasy, juicy, carb-o-licious burger when you live in the same state as In-N-Out? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what Californians are known for, and a large number of people do abide by a health-conscious diet. But that is mostly because it’s easier to do that in California than it is in most places.
Here, there are plenty of areas for outdoor recreation, numerous farmers markets, and an abundance of organic, farm-to-table eateries. So, who wouldn’t take advantage of the situation to improve their health and well-being? But looking down on people who don’t maintain a similar diet is not an accurate California stereotype. We’re not as judgy or superficial as you might expect us to be.
4. Everyone is obsessed with botox and plastic surgery
Speaking of superficial…this California stereotype is so grossly generalized that it almost doesn’t need an explanation. Outsiders may believe all Californians are obsessed with appearance and status (thank you, reality TV), but that definitely isn’t true.
Some of the best plastic surgeons and estheticians are based in California, and people often fly in for consultations, but as shocking as it may be, the vast majority of Californians do not spend their entire paychecks on botox. Do some people in California get nose jobs and fillers? Absolutely. But the same can be said for almost any state.
5. Everyone in SoCal surfs
You know you're from California when you get asked to teach someone how to surf at least once throughout your life. Then again, there’s no smoke without fire—some of the world’s best professional surfers hail from the Golden State, and “Surf City USA” (also known as Huntington Beach) is located in Southern California. Just bear in mind that a large number of SoCal residents couldn’t tell you how to ride a wave or “hang ten” if their life depended on it.
6. Everyone in NorCal is a tech genius
If you ask anyone outside of California to name a city in NorCal, there’s a high chance they’ll say San Francisco and immediately think of prominent tech companies. But contrary to popular belief, not everyone residing in Northern California is there to break into the tech scene and work in S.F.
Don’t get us wrong—San Francisco is an awesome place to live, especially if you’re a young professional—but NorCal is made up of many other charming cities that extend well beyond the Bay Area. This Northern California stereotype can be easily debunked by visiting any of the can’t-miss NorCal small towns and experiencing a new side of the Golden State.
7. Most Californians Are blonde and tan
In tune with the Golden State’s beach culture reputation, many people expect Californians to have blonde, wavy hair and perfectly sun-kissed skin year-round. But what they fail to realize is that California is one of the most diverse places to live in the world—there is no one certain look or body type that fits the mold for the stereotypical Californian.
With a population that comes from many different cultures, races, and ethnic backgrounds, California’s residents embrace their diversity too much to allow for this stereotype to ring true.
8. Californians see famous people on the daily
Unless you have a house in the same high-end neighborhood as your favorite stars, there’s a high chance you won’t be regularly rubbing shoulders with an A-lister anytime soon. The closest most Californians get to spotting a celebrity in real life is by visiting top-rated hotels for the rich and famous or by working out at the same gym as a Beverly Hills housewife (even that is exciting).
Now, if by any chance you do live right next to a celebrity—hi, bestie, can we come over?
9. Californians speak like they’re from a different planet
Whoever made up the stereotype that California slang involves using words like “Frisco” unironically has probably never stepped foot in the state. Although Los Angeles slang and San Francisco slang do exist, you can still have a coherent conversation with a Californian without the presence of any unfamiliar words.
The next time someone does an impression of a Californian by ordering a “decaf, skinny, oat-milk latte” in a Valley girl accent—you know what to do.
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