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Meet Lauren McNair

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren McNair.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up fascinated with storytelling. Some of my first memories as a child were of my Grandma telling me stories of her childhood. Each one captivated me and I would always picture myself in her shoes, growing up in a time period that was incomprehensible to me. This is where my love of acting began.

When I was a child, I always knew that I wanted to be a performer. I was always dancing and singing around the house, much to the annoyance of my family, and had wild dreams about one day being on the big screen. Coming from a very athletic family, I didn’t start pursuing acting until high school, but once I did I was hooked. I loved being able to embody a character completely different than myself and tell their story to an audience, just like how my Grandma had been telling me stories all my life. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I realized the social impact acting and storytelling could have on society around me. During the spring of my junior year, I attended an international theatre festival in Terezin, Czech Republic, a Jewish ghetto from the Holocaust. During this festival, I collaborated with students from eight different countries to create an original piece of theatre that examined the power storytelling and theatre have on creating change in the world around us. It was in that moment that I knew telling stories through acting was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

My passion to combine my love of the arts with social justice work is what led me attend Loyola Marymount University where I will be graduating in the spring. While at LMU, I have been continually pushed to excel in all aspects of life. Each professor I have worked with has impacted me and my journey of storytelling in ways I cannot even begin to describe. During my sophomore year at LMU, I traveled to Europe where I studied abroad in Bonn, Germany. While in Europe, I grew not only as a performer but also as an individual as I was able to live on my own for the first time while pursuing my love of acting. Being able to explore different countries and live many different lives through the stories I told taught me how to be empathetic with all those I interact with in my daily life.

So here I am now, about to graduate and pursue a career in the entertainment industry during a global pandemic. While there is so much uncertainty within the world right now, I know that there are so many important stories to be told and I cannot wait to do so in the future.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to where I am today has not always been smooth. I have always been a very introverted person which made it difficult to put myself out there and meet new people. Because I was very introverted when I first began acting, I was very self-conscious when I was on stage and I second-guessed everything I did. However, once I began to push myself out of my comfort zone and give everything to the story I was telling on stage, I felt like it was the first time that I finally found my voice and began to discover who I was as an artist. I was able to speak up for myself and the causes that I felt most passionate about in the world around me. While I have made tremendous steps toward being more open and extroverted, this is something that I continue to work on in my day to day life. I am so beyond grateful for the friends and mentors that I have had throughout my life and journey that have continued to push me to discover who I am by stepping out of my comfort zone. I would not be where I am today without their support and guidance along the way.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
One of the current projects I am working on is a podcast called Caption This: An Actor’s Guide to Social Media. As I mentioned earlier, I am not an extroverted person, so I have always been very anxious when posting on social media. However, I know how important social media is for an actor to promote themselves and their work and because of this, I realized I really need to work on my social media pages. When starting to revamp my profiles, I decided that I wanted to document the steps that I was taking and make them into an informative podcast that other actors could listen to if they are struggling with social media like I am.

Each episode, I bring on a guest speaker to discuss various ways of promoting oneself on social media which has been a lot of fun! I have never done a podcast before so this has been a learning experience with many ups and downs, but I am having an incredible time along the way! Not only has it helped me stay on top of posting on Instagram, but it also has helped me a lot as a performer as I have discovered many new ways to use my voice. I am excited to see where this podcast journey takes me in the future!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One standout moment in my career was when I studied at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts in Croatia which took place during my study abroad trip in 2019. Prior to traveling to Croatia, I had felt beaten down by a professor that did not seem to care about training the female students as he did the male students. This was extremely discouraging because even after the recent nationwide calls for gender equality in the workplace, I could still see the inequality that was present in the acting training I was receiving. However, that all changed when I went to Croatia. Every professor that taught us as the Academy of Dramatic Arts was a strong and successful female performer who had broken down barriers in Croatia.

Each woman pushed me harder than I had been pushed the entire semester and treated us all as equals. I felt invigorated during my week-long stay in Zagreb and my love of acting only grew. After a particularly grueling day of training, I along with three friends decided to grab an ice cream and when we were walking down the streets of Zagreb, we all of a sudden stumbled into the middle of the 2019 International Women’s Day March that was going on. It was the most surreal experience of my life because I saw how my current experience within the arts directly mirrored an important social movement that was occurring around me. It reminded me of how vital it is to fight for equality in everything that we do.

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Image Credit:

Paige Petersen, Jamie Kolbrenner, Matt Shaffar

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