The Texas capital has undergone a pandemic influx unlike anywhere else in the country thanks to a flood of invading tech companies (Samsung, Oracle) along with quarantine-exhausted, remote-working transplants from major cities seeking a lifestyle upgrade — including some notable actors who, like Padalecki (an Austin resident since 2010), suddenly decided that the Texas Hill Country was more alluring than the Hollywood Hills.
“I’ve been just waiting for the secret to get out,” Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey said. “I’m excited for the growth. We’re not going back. We don’t have a landmark like Niagara Falls or Disney World or the Eiffel Tower. They’re all coming for the vibe — we’ve got people.”
According to THR, new Hollywood talent to leave Silicon Valley for Austin includes Zachary Levi, Scott Eastwood, Adrianne Palicki, Adrian Grenier, and James Van Der Beek.
“At the park in Beverly Hills near the house we just moved away from, you were not allowed to fly a KITE,” Van Der Beek wrote on Instagram groused on Instagram. “Also not allowed at any park in Beverly Hills: Riding a bicycle, climbing a tree, learning anything from an instructor, using weights … when people ask why we’re moving our kids out of L.A., these are just some of the reasons.”
According to new residents, Austin natives are proud of the laid-back reputation which has attracted Hollywood talent away from the hustle of New York and L.A.
“What we have to watch in Austin is the preservation of our DNA,” McConaughey added. “I’ve talked to quite a few people before and since they came here and the two words I hear over and over again are ‘hospitality’ and ‘optimism.’ So my line has been, ‘Don’t turn here into why you left there.’ Our challenge is going to be how we handle this great influx. If any place has an identity in the soul that we need to preserve, it’s Austin.”
“The unwritten motto of Austin has been to Keep Austin Weird,” Padalecki agreed. “The landscape has changed, but I hope that doesn’t change. It’s a cool spot. Hopefully it stays that way.”