Lauren White: “The world is a better place when you give and serve”

The world is a better place when you give and serve. That doesn’t mean don’t honor and respect yourself, but giving your time, energy and money to others in need (or even to treat someone who isn’t necessarily in need) is so rewarding. Not only does it feel good to you, but bringing that momentary […]

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The world is a better place when you give and serve. That doesn’t mean don’t honor and respect yourself, but giving your time, energy and money to others in need (or even to treat someone who isn’t necessarily in need) is so rewarding. Not only does it feel good to you, but bringing that momentary joy to someone else? Priceless.

I’d say try it and see.

And, for those who want/have children….don’t you want to make the world a better and kinder place for the future generations?


As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren White.

Lauren White is an award-winning actress and producer, praised for her work as a Primetime Emmy Contender; you might recognize her as a content creator, actress from “Parks and Recreation,” “House of Cards,” or the upcoming HBO Max pilot, “Delilah.”

The goal of her career and projects is not only to spread joy, but to alleviate loneliness and suffering through her relatable performances. The love of making people laugh is only matched by her love for animals. She volunteers with Mutts Matter Rescue to transport, foster and facilitate adoptions.

From quarantine, and to “edutain”, Lauren recently created and produced the viral PSA, “Covid-19: Stop Spreading That Sh*t,” which can be seen on IGTV and YouTube


Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

Thank you — happy to be here!

I grew up performing for family as a child, and — we still laugh about it to this day — created and produced my own VHS “television” show, Way Cool. I forced my very shy friend, Michelle, to be my counterpart on the show. She was such a good sport. . . and yes, my parents still have the Way Cool tape.

I’ve always loved making people laugh (and laughing!) If I bring 30 seconds of joy, levity or connection to someone, I’m fulfilling my purpose.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

Since we were just talking about Way Cool, a funny anecdote popped into my mind. When we were filming a “gymnastics” episode — worth noting, I was never officially a gymnast or had any skill to be a gymnastics instructor — Michelle and I were using couch cushions as a mat, doing cartwheels and such.

In any event, at some point, someone knocked over a drink cup — it may have been me — and Michelle kept trying to reach over and pick it up. . . .because we were “rolling”, I wanted her to “stay in character” and keep performing — who was I?? [laughs] I kept covering for her — you know, the show must go on — while she was a normal human and picked up the cup.

Unfortunately, the drink was some sort of red or pink Kool Aid type of stuff, so of course, that mixed with carpet…well, thank goodness my parents were really supportive… and forgiving of my shenanigans. I think remnants of the pink spot were still there when we sold the house [laughs]

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I’ve been truly fortunate to meet some amazing people, celebrity and non-celebrity. All the celebrities I’ve met have been absolutely wonderful. Thankfully, no horror/diva stories [laughs]

I’d say one of the more interesting experiences was meeting an “unknown celebrity”, Dr. Ruth Lawrence. If you work with babies, then you know she’s like the Jonas Brothers of that field. I met her at the Millennium Biltmore; she was there for a conference and had just published a book. The conference attendees swarmed her. Literally.

I am not kidding when I say that, without the screaming and tears, attendees flocked to her like [fil in any boy band/athlete/rock star] !

Turns out, her work resulted in the first baby placed on a ventilator in the world, which launched the use of ventilators in newborns and pediatrics. With survival “taken care of”, she began to focus on brain health of the babies, so that led her to study the milk-development connection. She also co-founded the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and authored books because of her findings. So, yeah, that’s pretty cool — the woman who revolutionized survival and brain development in infants! How many babies survived because of this woman? I, then, understood why she is Justin Beiber to folks in infant medicine!

You know who else was fun to meet? Deidre Hall! If anyone has ever watched Days of Our Lives, they definitely know what a legend she is! I met her at a gifting suite and she was an absolute doll ‒ so down to Earth and lovely. She was so sweet to toot my horn and said that I’m “adorable” and to tell my agent to get me on a soap! I was flattered!

Also, she is very modest about the work. Soap actors memorize an insane amount of copy and she was humble about the energy, effort and dedication that takes — especially for someone who has been performing 70 script pages, a day, for what? 40 years? For comparison, most television shows and films shoot about 5–7 pages a day, maaaaybe 10.

p.s. Deidre looks amazing too!

Oh! And this is a funny story — I was flying out of LAX and, since I have TSA precheck, I am used to blasting through security with my shoes on and laptop in my bag. For whatever reason, precheck was closed so they gave us a card to show that we could keep our shoes on and go through the metal detector but funneled everyone through the regular lanes. I made it through the screening and, while waiting for my bag to come out of the scanner, the TSA agent held up my laptop bag and asked who it belongs to because I left my laptop in it.

My response was so silly, and honest to goodness, I had zero arrogance, I was just stating information for clarification: “it’s okay, I’m precheck”. [laughs] I did realize, after the fact, how that sounds. The guy in front of me, wearing a baseball cap, gave an amused smile and said, “Precheck is closed.” I immediately realized my mistake! At the same time, I recognized this guy….but could not place why. It’s important to me to remember people I’ve met so it really bothered me that I couldn’t figure out where/how/why I’d met him.

We had pleasant small talk while he packed up his items and TSA made sure my computer wasn’t explosive. Just a nice interaction with another human. . .

I made my way to the gate and it hit me — that was Bob Odenkirk! [laughs] Despite racking my brain for how we knew each other, we’d never met. Maybe the baseball cap was enough of a disguise and kept me from fully recognizing him. I don’t really know but that story makes me chuckle.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

In development on a podcast…it will be super fun!

It’s still early but hopefully, shooting in the upcoming months. Can’t really talk about that either just yet — sorry!

A couple other things in the mix but since they’re unconfirmed, well, you know what I’m about to say [laughs]

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

It probably sounds too general to say “kindness” but that’s kind of the throughline. I would love to live in a world where no one hurts anyone but especially the voiceless: animals. The focus of my work is to make people smile, bring them joy, connection or even a moment that alleviates loneliness or suffering.

Off the clock, it’s helping animals in need and/or showing them love. I even capture spiders and relocate them outside. . .as a matter of fact, there was a BIG spider in the sink this morning. It is now in living in the garden in the backyard. [laughs] I don’t necessarily need to snuggle all the creatures, but I do not think humans have dominion.

It’s incredibly upsetting to me that many people not only think they do but hurt defenseless creatures.

It’s honestly beyond me. However, we compassionate folks are doing what we can to not only stop abuses, help and rehabilitate the survivors but also bring the criminals to justice and change laws for more protections.

I love the idea of creating and showing the world you want to live in — being the change you want to see — and making it the new normal by way of entertaining.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

That is very kind of you, thank you. In that regard, I would say there’s always more to manifest and work to be done. There’s so much more to create and do, so I just keep moving, and trusting, and doing, and being. It’s all any of us can do, right?

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

One impacted life that comes to mind is my little rescue pup, Lucy. She came to me back in 2006 as a foster but when she arrived, she was terrorized. When I say terrorized, I really can’t even articulate the fear in this dog. She would run, not walk, from hiding place to hiding place, would not come near anyone and her head was on a swivel. There was a lot of time, patience and treats that went into her rehabilitation.

Needless to say, with all the time and effort put into her rehabilitation, she began to trust me and I became her “person”. In the years that have followed, she travels on airplanes, goes to 4th of July parades and even lets little children “groom” her. She has come so far and has such a better quality of life because someone cared, showed her kindness and love. She still has some issues (like nightmares) and probably a little PTSD but she’s doing so well.

As I say it, I feel like that parable applies to humans as much as it does for dogs.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Ah, the magic question. The federal and local governments can enact and enforce severe penalties for any harm, neglect or cruelty to animals. So many places don’t have laws or if they do have laws, the laws aren’t enforced or are difficult to “prove” for enforcement. Strengthening these laws and actually holding people accountable is a great start.

Society and individuals can make a difference by demonstrating more kindness, compassion and empathy for each other and animals. If someone is nasty to you, maybe they just received bad news? Instead of reacting or engaging in a nasty interaction, compliment the person’s shirt or ask if they’re okay. If you see someone hurting an animal, stand up for the animal. I was having lunch on a patio one day and a woman was passing by dragging a puppy. She kept trying to encourage it to walk but it kept trying to lay down. I grabbed some water and stopped her. She was grateful because she had no idea she was dehydrating her dog. Sometimes people are jerks but sometimes they’re just unaware. Not everyone is going to respond that favorably, but even calling attention to the behavior will sometimes shame a person into stopping — not ideal, but still a win.

Teach children to love and respect all animals and other children would go a long way too. Often you hear a person who has a dog chained up outside say something like, “oh, my uncle had a dog outside” or something that “normalized” this behavior. It’s not normal for dogs to be tied up or stay outside overnight. Too many pets are lost this way. And honestly, why have a dog if it’s not a part of your family?

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

 Trust your gut. If your intuition tells you not to do something — even if you can’t find a logical reason to decline — turn it down. I’ve come to realize that if I get an inclination to do or, more specifically, not do something, it’s usually correct.

 Have fun in life — and that is a choice. You can focus on the negative or focus on the positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Find the lessons in the negative and focus on the positive.

 Acting for auditions is completely different than acting on set. This was such a revelation and a game changer when I learned how to craft performances for an audition instead of acting as if it were being shot as a scene. If there is one thing I would tell newer actors — take an audition technique class and practice, practice, practice on camera.

 Trust people but take care of yourself.

 Be you. I would wager a guess that every actor, at one time or another, has looked at a script and thought, “what do they want?” or “what are they looking for?” The truth is, “they” really don’t know until they see you! Instead of wasting time and worrying if you’re doing it “right” or giving them “what they want”, show them YOU. How do you infuse yourself into that scene? How would you react to those circumstances? I’m not saying there shouldn’t be homework and choices — you absolutely should break down the scene, make strong choices and find the writer’s intention based on the text. But, if it states something like “she begins to cry at the funeral” don’t think you won’t book the job because you began to laugh. Grief is a weird thing and people sometimes laugh when they’re nervous. . .so maybe the team watching your audition has an epiphany when they see your performance and you book the job because of it! You never know! That’s probably a terrible example but hopefully you get the idea!

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

The world is a better place when you give and serve. That doesn’t mean don’t honor and respect yourself, but giving your time, energy and money to others in need (or even to treat someone who isn’t necessarily in need) is so rewarding. Not only does it feel good to you, but bringing that momentary joy to someone else? Priceless.

I’d say try it and see.

And, for those who want/have children….don’t you want to make the world a better and kinder place for the future generations?

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Anyone who is on a mission to help animals! [laughs]

I love that Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey, started the Hockhockson Farm Foundation, which helps animals in need and educates people to the benefits of kindness to animals, earth-friendly living, and healthy eating.

Ariana Grande just helped launch a new animal rescue organization, so I’m guessing we could easily get along. 😉

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Nothing brings people together like a smile or a laugh.

Since we’re making an impact here, probably this, from Robert Kiyosaki, “If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”

This is so true — learn from people who have already achieved the things you want to achieve. While everyone’s journey is different, their experience can help us navigate and anticipate challenges along the way. They also show us how they used failure to move forward and find their success. In my experience, many people are more than happy to share their wisdom!

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram — http://www.instagram.com/MsLaurenWhite @MsLaurenWhite

Twitter — https://twitter.com/Ms_Lauren_White @Ms_Lauren_White

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/MsLaurenWhite

YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/LaurenWhite

IMDb — https://www.imdb.me/LaurenWhite

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

Thank you so much — this was wonderful!

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