*Lauren London is living the charmed life. She has what nearly every young black woman with stars in her eyes daydreams about. She started in music videos, segued to television and films, and even gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who was fathered by a superstar rapper.
As far as ghetto dreaming is concerned ol’ girl is batting 1000. Recently EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey had the chance to speak one-onone with young Ms. London about her most recent role in Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” her upbringing and her temperament.
“I auditioned and a week later I got the call to come do the film,” said London when asked how she got her role in the latest Madea film. “I know this is cliché, but I had a great time. The atmosphere was very light, it was family oriented, it was just fun. Mr. Perry allowed us to do what we do best and be actively creative. It wasn’t heavy; people weren’t stressed out on the set. We had fun.”
In the film London plays Renee, a role she says is her first attempt at being a character actor.
“My role really wasn’t that heavy as opposed to Shannon Kamne’s role, or Loretta Divine’s where they tackle real issues like rape and cancer.” said London. “My character is really more like the lightweight to bring a little comic relief, you know? So, I could just go on as a complete character and have fun with it. This is like my first character part because when I did ‘ATL’ and ‘This Christmas’ I brought parts of myself to the role. This was the first character that was completely not like me.”
When asked whether or not she felt she did a good job London paused, her eyes showing a glint of reflection.
“Hopefully I did. I didn’t pull anything from my life, but I understood what they wanted for the character. I just made sure my timing was on point, I was present in the scene and that’s the one thing with comedy. You have to know how to bounce off one another. Bow Wow was really cool about that.”
Since she made her movie debut as New New in “ATL” Lauren London has appeared in 6 films in 5 years. The beat goes on for her. She says she’s working on something with a pair of the finest 40-plus sisters in the game.
“It’s a TV series on VH-1 called ‘Single Ladies’ with LisaRaye and Stacy Dash and I make a guest appearance in that,” London told EURweb.com. “That was the first thing I did after having my son. It’s about their lives as single women in their 30s trying to figure it out. I come in as the younger woman who has her whole life ahead of her.”
On September 9, 2009 Lauren London gave birth to little Cameron Carter and her life was changed forever. So, asked Lee Bailey, how did becoming a mother alter her career arc.
“I think it affects your career however you allow it to,” said Lauren. “I know there are certain auditions that I won’t go on because I don’t want my son to eventually see it. I’m also a lot more selective. I don’t want to go shoot something that will have me in Italy for 6 months and be away from my son. I think, as an actress, anything that happens in your life affects your art. It has affected who I am as a person. My outlook on life has changed and hopefully I will be able to play roles that let that shine.”
Though it may appear as if London is in a new project every time you turn around that’s not the case. But she is well aware that this is only the beginning and she’s still working to hone her craft.
“I haven’t really started yet. I’m just starting. There’s so much more I want to do, I see myself somewhere else. There’s so much more I want to do, but I’ve been blessed so far. I’m still in acting school. When I was still in high school I worked at a video production company. I was assisting (video director) Paul Hunter since I was 16. So, I know what it’s like to be behind the camera as well.
Though she appears on the fast track to the big time, London tells EURweb.com that she has had plenty of setbacks and, despite appearances, she is battle tested in life and career.
“I’ve been told I’m not black enough. I do have to struggle with that a lot because I’m more than I look like. I’ve been through a lot raised by a single mother. I’m not rough, but I’m not what I look like or what people would think would come from me … If that makes sense. Push the wrong button and see what happens, know what I’m sayin’? I’m a girl from around the way. I probably look quiet or shy and I’m not. I know what heartbreak and tragedy feels like.”
Lauren London’s assertion of hood credibility and true life struggles were refreshing to a point. Many actresses refuse to offer little more than tidbits as to their life outside of acting. But London admits she is simply a round the way girl. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Get ‘cha money!
“When I wake up in the morning and I’m not working I wear sneakers and the same black flip-flops everyday,” she continued. “I’m more into building myself from the inside because when people see me I want them to see God. I want them to see the light that shines from within. I’m no angel and I’m not trying to sit up here and tell nobody I’m perfect.”
As she spoke of her wish to project inner beauty we couldn’t help noticing a big ol’ fat rock on her finger and we had to call her out on the apparent conflict.
“That’s just costume jewelry,” she laughed. “It looks like I could knock somebody out right? I’ve been in a lot of fights. I am a nice person but don’t mess with my family and don’t mess with me. Trust me. They don’t want it.”
Well alrighty then! They don’t want it and neither do we wit’ ya bad self! By the way, “Madea’s Big Happy Family” was released over the weekend and came in second at the box office.