LA bound! Hear all about our 4 million member competition winner's trip
Posted by StarNow on 06 Feb, 2017

LA bound! Hear all about our 4 million member competition winner's trip

In 2016, StarNow hit 4 million members worldwide! To celebrate we decided to send one lucky member on the trip of a lifetime from anywhere in the world to LA, London or Wellington, New Zealand. The prize included return flights for two, accommodation and some spending money for a fun activity.

The lucky winner was Philip Parnell, a full time freelance photographer and actor living in Birmingham, UK. He chose to bring his fiancée away with him to the bright lights of LA for a week, and we just caught up with him to hear all about it!

LA lights

What was it like finding out you’d won the competition?What was it like? I was on cloud nine for a while there! As I briefly mentioned on the skype conversation, I struggle to remember a time that I have actually ever won anything of significant value. I still feel honored to have been selected.

What made you choose LA as your destination?

Phil by Johnny Depp's Star
I had always wanted to surprise my wife (then fiancée) with a trip to the US. One day, one way or another I had the intention of taking her. As a Bulgarian national, she had long said that the prospect of visiting the US was a distant and far-fetched dream - then along came the StarNow prize! I mean, no doubt New Zealand is a beautiful place (it's actually on my personal bucket list!) but given the options, on this occasion choosing LA was a no-brainer!

Tell us about what you got up to over the six days in LA

I didn't realise how many acting institutions there were in LA! I mean, I had an idea, it was Hollywood after all, but I didn't quite realise the extent of it. There are studios and acting clubs everywhere! I got there thinking, "This is something that has to be utilised!" You know how on new year's day you're thinking, "Right, I'm going to the gym now, forever!" only to stop the very next day? It was kind of like that. We went to an Acting/Producing workshop and panel discussion - hosted by an actress called Jessica Johnson. It was great! But I'm ashamed to say the rest of the time was pretty much spent doing really touristy stuff. We visited Disneyland. Note to self, next time don't get public transport there. It took us 3.5 hours to get there via bus and metro. In the end we got back with Uber for $47, and it only took 50 minutes!

We also went onto one of those tour bus rides. It was more fun than I thought it would be actually. We got to see the homes of Katy Perry, Leonardo Dicaprio, Eddie Murphy, Jackie Chan and Bruno Mars to name a few. Ok, when I say homes I mean the front of their houses. Ok ok, maybe just the gate to their property but it still counts!


What was the highlight of the trip?For me, the whole experience was one to remember. It was one big highlight! But for my better half, she said her highlight was visiting Disneyland.

And the most memorable moment/funny moment?Probably not that funny but it was funny at the time. We signed up online for a tour. We got to the meeting location all prepared and ready to jump into some kind of vehicle. The tour guide started talking and walking, and I was thinking, "Ok, were going to get onto a bus any time soon". 10 minutes later she was still waffling on about the type of stone used to build the pavement we were standing on or something. Then it dawned on us that this was going to be a walking tour. REALLY not what we had in mind. I pretended that I had an urgent phone call, (thank God it didn't ring while I had it to my ear) gave our apologies and left the group to do our own thing. We spent the next hour ducking behind cars, bins and benches every time we saw a group that even slightly resembled them.

Route 66

What are your career plans for 2017?For 2017, I intend to really push and develop myself and my crafts: photography and acting. It's great working for a living in those two fields, they really compliment eachother. At no other time in my career have I had the freedom and time to focus on what I love the way I do now. I will be in Ghana - West Africa for a week from February playing a lead in my first international film (thanks Starnow!). I really have to work on my accent though, according to my wife, at present it sounds closer to someone who is from India. A British black guy playing an African with an Indian accent... it could work.

Check out Phillip's StarNow profile here and give him a follow on his Facebook and Instagram.