Check out our interview with actress, producer, and internet personality Lauren Elizabeth Harris.
Lauren has portrayed numerous roles both on the stage and in film and television, and also wrote, produced, and co-starred in a feminist web series titled It’s A Girl Thing, which was highly regarded in over 14 international film festivals. Harris recently made her directorial debut with Defining Dodo, a short film meant to shine a light on coming out of the closet in a machismo culture, and will be releasing a documentary on human trafficking in the Philadelphia area this fall.
Outside of the entertainment industry, Harris is a proud dog mom to her pup Ernest and spends her free time traveling across the world, having explored more than 35 countries.
Follow Lauren @laurenelizabetharris
Hi Lauren, please tell us a little about you?
Thanks so much for the opportunity! I grew up in the Philadelphia area and knew I wanted to be an actor since the age of 5. I studied Acting and Spanish at the University of Southern California before later studying at the British American Drama Academy, and I’ve been professionally pursuing acting, writing and producing since then. I have a rescue poodle named Ernie, and love hiking, skiing, and scuba diving!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Persistent, Empathetic, Inquisitive
How did you get started into acting?
When I was in kindergarten I played Strega Nona (along with 5 other kindergarteners sharing the same role) and was whispering the lines off stage to the other kindergartners. My teachers suggested to my parents to get me acting lessons, and the rest is history!
How has this changed your life?
I think if you decide to go into acting- you have to really want it. You have to say to yourself: “I cannot be happy in any other career path”. Those two things were true for me, and therefore it’s been a journey that challenges one’s persistence on a daily basis, but it’s the one journey I can also honestly say that I refuse to give up on.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
Best part: Getting to walk in someone else’s shoes and empathize with what they’re going through. Worst part: Trying to get those opportunities to walk in someone else’s shoes.
How do you prepare for a role?
I’ve been lucky enough to study acting a lot, and therefore have explored many different methods of preparing for a role. What I’ve found works for me is looking at a script and analyzing what a character is going through on each and every line, and how their perspective shifts. I learned this from the amazing instructors at Lesly Kahn Studios. Other than that, I would say looking at who the person is, what do they want- what’s their drive, what moves them?
Tell us about your work as a writer, producer and co-staring in the feminist web series “It’s A Girl Thing?”
It’s A Girl Thing was my very first filmmaking endeavor. I worked with my dear friend, Augusta Mariano, to bring the project to life. It was based on experiences we both had dating in college, and was created to serve as a way for young women to see themselves/make themselves heard while going through such a pivotal time. I credit that project for my drive to continue writing and producing and I hope that it continues to take shape and expand on some of the themes told as an episodic series.
What is the feeling to get such a good welcoming with over 14 international film festivals?
Such an incredible feeling, and so unexpected! It was so motivating to keep going, and to know that the stories told resonated with someone somewhere- which is really all you can ask for as a filmmaker.
And about your directorial debut with “Defining Dodo?”
Defining Dodo tells the story of a young man coming out after growing up in a Machismo culture, and how even having one person supporting you can make the difference in allowing you to access your honest identity. Directing was something that was incredibly challenging for me, but also such an important job to get this story right. I learned so much from working on this project, and I’m very proud of the story we were able to tell.
What other projects you have been part of?
I most recently associate produced and played Wendy in How to Hack Birth Control, which is a hilarious informative series that provides women with their options for birth control. We could’ve never anticipated what important timing this project would have, but I’m so excited that the word is getting out and I believe it will have tremendous effects on educating women on what they’re entitled to.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I love to play comedic roles in projects that have a societal impact. It’s important to me to use my career to make a difference, and I think laughter is such a powerful way to intake information and do just that.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I have to say the most rewarding part is hearing that the projects I had a part in made a difference to someone or something. I love characters and stories that allow different kinds of people to feel they are being seen/heard/ represented on screen, so any role that allows for that is extremely fulfilling to me.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Learn who you are and what the story you want to tell is. Why do you want to pursue this career? Then, really go for it and don’t give up. And don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way from people who are in positions that you want to be in.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Learn what your priorities are and stick to them, and don’t let anything stop you along the way. Let the word no be an opportunity to find a new avenue to success.
How would your best friend describe you?
I asked her, and she said: Caring, ambitious, inclusive & compassionate.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Wow this is a tough question! Maybe like, “A Beginner’s Guide to Succeeding in an Industry with No Manual” or “Work Hard Play Harder”
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Stick with it, kid! Keep your head down and be honest with who you are and where you’re going.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The Artist’s Way
What’s next for Lauren Elizabeth Harris in 2022?
I am heading to Columbia University to work towards my MFA in Creative Producing in Film! I hope to continue to learn more about telling stories on and off screen that authentically represent the world we live in.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Chickpea pasta with a turkey bolognese or a butter lettuce salad with chicken.
And your favorite cheat food?
Everything in moderation!….but definitely Levain cookies.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Knowing who you are, and knowing that you are on your path. And then a great hike with your dog and loved ones finished with a bowl of pasta.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Audrey Hepburn for acting/fashion/philanthropic advice and Rep John Lewis for advice on fighting the good fight.
Best advice ever given?
“Even the broken crayons in the box can still color”
Do you support any charity?
I am a board member of SheNYC which works to produce plays by female & non-binary playwrights, culminating in a summer theater festival. I also recently produced a documentary on human trafficking happening outside of the Philadelphia area that shines a light on an incredible organization called Dawn’s Place there. I highly recommend donating to both of those organizations!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I see myself having graduated Columbia, and back in LA, working on projects that have a societal impact both on and off screen.
Favorite song? Why?
Thunder by Boys Like Girls, it makes me want to dance in the rain and takes me back to my teen Emo phase in high school!
What do you think of Social Media?
I think it can be a great way to connect with family and friends and learn about different parts of the world but also has the power to be very toxic and only serve as a highlight reel.
Where we can follow you?