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Influencers are fleeing NYC in droves — it’s the ‘loneliest place’

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/9/2023 Brooke Kato

The concrete jungle might not be what dreams are made of.

At least, not for the hordes of content creators who have made the decision to trade the bustling Big Apple for a calmer lifestyle.

Paige Lorenze, who boasts 410,000 followers on Instagram, told The Post that she thinks “we’re going to see a wave” of people fleeing the city.

“I think that we are going to see a lot of it – younger people investing their money in homes instead of spending all their money on rent and stuff like that,” the 25-year-old Vermont native told The Post, calling it “cool.”

Lorenze, who abandoned her aesthetically pleasing metropolitan lifestyle for a cozy Connecticut cottage in September, gained most of her following as a twenty-something galavanting in Manhattan. Her exit, like many others, is proof that success and trendiness aren’t confined to New York City – despite what social media depicts.

© Provided by New York Post Lorenze racked up thousands of followers while living her seemingly lavish lifestyle in Manhattan. © Provided by New York Post But the influencer said she was “exhausted” after living in the city for years.Instagram/@paigelorenze

Likewise, queer TikToker Victoria Paris, 23, grew her platform when she was known as the “only living girl in NYC,” regularly sharing her apartment improvement projects and capturing the little moments on her picturesque fire escape.

Both could be defined as the epitome of a Manhattan influencer – two of the hundreds that already saturate social media. The TikTok tag “#NYCVlog” has amassed 404 million views on the platform where hundreds of users regularly glamorize living life in the big city, many of which have racked up hefty followings by young Manhattan hopefuls.

But when a following of hundreds of thousands was founded on being an aesthetic New York City influencer, leaving the so-called magical metropolis, then, is a terrifying prospect.

“I feel like being a New Yorker is not just a location, but an identity,” Paris, who touts 1.6 million followers on TikTok, told The Post. “It was really hard for me to accept that I could be happier elsewhere.”

© Provided by New York Post Paris, once the “only living girl in NYC” per her TikTok bio, recently made the switch to LA.Intagram/@victoriaparis

Now in Los Angeles, Paris originally moved to New York from North Carolina for college. While her love affair with the big city was only five years, her perception of what it’s like to be a New Yorker was completely dismantled. TikTok, she said, has altered the trajectory of New York due to the influx of young people who paint a romanticized version of what living in the city is like.


the only living girl in nyc

♬ som original – vitin🧃

Unlike their favorite creators, most people “can’t just wake up and go to pilates” or have “seven different outfit changes” in a day, said Paris, who was also itching to leave due to NYC fans “soft stalking” her. “That’s not actually the true New Yorker experience, that is just a chronically online take of what New York is,” she added.

“I don’t think that New York is for everyone,” Lorenze, a former ski racer and founder of the brand Dairy Boy, said, adding that living in NYC can “be really hard.” “It’s not like Gossip Girl, and it’s not like Sex and the City.”

© Provided by New York Post After experiencing “soft stalking” by her fans in NYC, she now finds solace in her LA home.Intagram/@victoriaparis © Provided by New York Post While everyone’s version of New York will be different, for Lorenze, bringing her small town spunk and style to the Big Apple just wasn’t enough.

That is to say, some people might not find their girl gang. Though it seems bizarre in a buzzing metropolis of more than 8 million people, for TikToker Callie Wilson it’s the “loneliest feeling place” she’s ever been.

Wilson, who moved to the city for law school and has since passed the bar exam, told The Post that she thought New York would be this “fun, magical place” where finding friends is as easy as breathing. As it turns out, New York would actually make her feel lonelier.

“It’s weird because it seems like it should be so easy to like, make friends in a big city and like meet people and go on dates,” the 25-year-old said, instead, it was surprisingly harder.

“I felt so lonely there the entire time.”

© Provided by New York Post Wilson, who moved to the city to attend law school, moved to LA just last week.Instagram/@calliewilson_

Wilson, who has 1 million followers on TikTok, remembered taking an Uber in the city one day as the driver formulated just how surface-level some big city friendships can be. “He was like, ‘I feel like a lot of times, your friends in New York are just people you call to go to dinner with, and then besides that, they’re just your dinner friends,'” she recalled.


Replying to @m00bzz

♬ original sound – Callie

Lorenze, who also had a difficult time making friends and found solace working retail in a luxury ski shop, said she simply “did the thing” and was ready to move on from the pressures of being a creator in New York – she was tired of doing “s–t you don’t want to do” just for content.

“I do feel like there’s a certain level of, like, ‘I have to go out to dinner X amount this week because I like want to seem like I’m busy,'” she explained, adding that people are always “trying to prove something in New York.”


@Kit Keenan 🎀

♬ Lollipop – The Chordettes

But at what cost? The price influencers pay to always seem booked and busy is a hefty one – and an expense that an “exhausted” Lorenze wasn’t willing to pay anymore. Now, she feels “relieved” after leaving, saying she’d prefer a rodeo to Fashion Week any day.

© Provided by New York Post Paris regularly posted clips of herself lounging on her picturesque fire escape.TikTok/@victoriaparis © Provided by New York Post Wilson said she understands why native New Yorkers are so annoyed with transplants – they’re making the city seem more aesthetically pleasing than it is.Instagram/@calliewilson_

“I totally understand why like New Yorkers who have been there since they’re born get so frustrated with us transplant people moving in, making New York an aesthetically pleasing place because it’s not like that unless you have a ton of privilege and a ton of money,” said Wilson, noting how “high stress” the city is.

She flew the coop to LA last week and is already noticing the stark lifestyle differences that she craved. She no longer feels FOMO – or, fear of missing out – when opting for a night in rather than exploring New York for all its worth. Instead of pedestrians yelling or car horns blaring, she now wakes up to the serene chirping of birds.

Lorenze believes more twenty-somethings will soon realize how “cool” suburbia can be – city girls be damned.

“I see people moving back to the suburbs in their twenties, like mid-twenties, getting out of New York, living like a slower life,” she mused. “The suburbs are becoming cool again.”

While suburbs strike fear in the cosmopolitans who equate a white picket fence to the death of youthful fun and entertainment, Lorenze serves as proof that a vivid life is possible away from the city lights – and she also offers a solution.

“If we get enough girls out in the suburbs, no one’s not going to have a social life.”


New York Post

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