When entrepreneurs and investors discuss Playa Vista, they usually talk about tech or real estate. But locals know it’s really the moms who run the show.
Playa Vista mom Gabrielle D’Addario, a self-described “disruptor,” is an idea machine. Leave her in a room for five minutes and she’ll have created five new and exciting events you’ll be desperate to add to your calendar. But staying active in Silicon Beach isn’t about career-building, she says — it’s a calling.
“I’m using my social media presence to make a positive change in the community,” D’Addorio says while we chat in Bluff Creek Fields Park, where two monarch butterflies literally circle the heads of her two enchanted toddlers.
Positive change comes in many forms, whether that means creating an all-inclusive parents group, filming a web series offering practical parenting tips, or working the city to install a four-way stop sign at a corner frequented by children. But D’Addario’s role as a community networker and social media influencer came about largely by happenstance.
D’Addario was 28, living in Playa del Rey and pursuing a promising career as a television host when her life came to a halt after a frightening medical diagnosis while pregnant with her second child. Not only did she have ulcerative colitis, but also C-Diff, a very serious bacterial infection.
“The doctor told me my next phone call is to a specialist in infectious disease,” she recalls as tears well in her eyes. “I spent time in quarantine. It was so scary.”
Fortunately her son was born healthy, but the illness left her body totally depleted.
“I couldn’t even pick up Gracie [her daughter]. I couldn’t even put her in the car,” she says. “And then I had Charlie. I couldn’t leave my house. That time period was a black cloud.”
That’s when D’Addario and her husband, real estate broker Kris Zacuto, decided to move to Playa Vista, where restaurants and parks and lots of other young families are all within walking distance. As she recovered, D’Addario spent less time in front of the camera and more time on her computer harnessing the power of social media.
After forming the Silicon Beach Parents Group, D’Addario began organizing fun and inclusive community events. They’re often informative — as a certified car seat technician, she promotes safety for kids in cars — and they’re always free, because her TV background makes her a natural at finding sponsors.
Two years later, her numerous picnics, play days, fun runs, fashion shows and even a cryptocurrency social mixer have all contributed to a stronger, more connected community.
And D’Addario is just getting started.
“I have a voice that I use,” she says. “That’s my passion.”
— Shanee Edwards