We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren McCoy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, why did you pursue a creative career?
Hey! Jumping right into it, I decided to pursue a creative career because in this world, we are taught from a young age to follow structure. From being in grade school and following the line leader, to following the path of going to college and then working the rest of your life away to be able to afford to pay off the debt you have in order to even get that education in the first place. We are told by society what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, and to not speak against (or question) it. I remember being in art class in high school, a class meant to help you have the freedom to express yourself, and was told I was doing my art the wrong way since it wasn’t a cookie cutter replica image of what the teacher had shown, but I continued doing my projects in the creative way that spoke to me regardless, and almost ending up failing that class as a result. We’re told that if we aren’t the same as everyone else, something is wrong with us, but what tells us everyone else is right? Pursuing a creative career goes against everything you’re told by society, and that’s what was so enticing to me about it. The risks are definitely there as well, and there are many people who benefit from structure, have an amazing education, and are perfectly happy working an office job, but as much as we do need those people too in this world and they are equally important to society, I’m not one of them (trust me, I tried that).
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Where do I start? Back in high school, a lot of pressure was put on me to try and pretty much figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life, between choosing a college and major and ultimately determining the rest of my life before I was even a legal adult. Me, being the person I am of course, the more I was pushed in a specific direction, the more I wanted to do the complete opposite. I’m not sure if that was my stubbornness or teenage angst at the time, but why do you think I drank for the first time the day after my health teacher lectured us on why we should never ever drink, smoke, or have sex? Not like I’m admitting to that or anything though. Truthfully, this resulted in me not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, an existential crisis at the age of 18, and many, many therapy sessions. The one class I did enjoy during my high school time was ceramics, I loved how there was no pressure to do anything except be creative at your own pace, and I ultimately followed that structure and ran with it. Wanting to be able to do creative/artistic work led me to choose to go to beauty school after I graduated, with the hopes of becoming a makeup artist. Long story short, I am not a makeup artist, or ever really was, but that made me realize that wasn’t actually what I wanted to do with my life. I still knew I wanted to have a creative outlet, but I felt lost after still not knowing what I wanted to do. I felt like a failure, but I had always enjoyed filming, and growing up my parents always recorded birthdays, holidays, and family vacations, and every day moments of life, so naturally I gravitated towards that. I started a youtube channel in I believe 2019, and it was absolutely horrible to be completely honest, but I still had so much fun editing and filming and creating these “highlights” of my days that I could look back on to relive. I watched hours and hours of editing videos and taught myself everything I know now, and eventually got a job in the entertainment industry doing editing work, and then social media, and then personal assisting, and then dabbled in production. I loved everything about the industry and how every day was something different. I still continued working on my personal content during this time, while still learning about the digital creative world, and I always fought between wanting to be funny and wanting to be “aesthetic” with my Youtube videos. I couldn’t ever really find a balance until I went to Tik Tok. Tik Tok started as an accident, but one viral video later led me down the path I did, and two years and 80,000+ followers later, I’ve worked with brands such as HelloFresh, Jack in the Box, Enlightened Foods, and more. As a food and lifestyle creator, I love this niche because everyone eats, so food is the universal item that brings everyone together when the world tries to tear people apart. It’s helped me heal my relationship with eating, and find beauty is something I once saw as either “good” or “bad,” (food, that is). Different cultures, family, friends, strangers, can all be brought together by one simple thing – and that’s eating, so what’s a better thing to post about than that? Honestly probably posting about puppies, or giving back to the world, but that’s not the point here. Food is universal and recipes don’t always go right and things don’t always turn out the way you want them to but I’m going to post about my failures anyways but that’s not just about food, that’s life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wait, I’m actually so glad you asked. I was born in Sacramento, CA and although nothing is better than Taco Bell when you’re drunk at 2 am, a few places come in close behind. If vegan is your thing, Sunflower Drive In is a 10/10 (even if you’re not vegan), Solomon’s, Pushkin’s, and Bacon & Butter are good breakfast options, dinner at Obo Italian, Urban Roots, Pizzasaurus Rex, and Mendocino Farms are all solid options. I’m big on dessert and my favorite is SomiSomi, but I also like the shaved ice at Water & Salt or Vampire Penguin, baked goods at Ettore’s or Estelle’s, or honestly ice cream from Mcdonald’s with french fries dipped in it but that not Sacramento specific.. If you’re looking for a good time without eating, go to midtown or in the downtown area and you will always be able to find something to do, especially on the weekends. Check out farmers markets, go strawberry picking at Granny May’s, kayak at Lake Natoma, hike Lake Clementine, and ultimately just see everything the city has to offer, because there’s a lot of it. I feel like I have so much more I could say but I feel like the best way to really be a tourist is to just figure it out as you go.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I actually want to give a shout out to the teacher my senior year of high school that told me he was proud of me. Half the time I can’t even remember his name, but having someone recognize me for my success despite my struggles and fight against my mental health, physical health, and the worst parts of society was something so minor, yet one of the most impactful things said to me. To the kid that told me I have so much potential but I was just throwing it down the drain, thank you for that, because you were right even though you were a bit of a…you know, actually I’m not going to say it. To my best friend that has been there for me through everything, I don’t know whether to say thank you or apologize for putting you through so many of my emotions, but you’ve been there for me either way and I’ll forever appreciate you for that. To my other best friend that answers my calls in the middle of work from the other side of the world with no questions asked. To my family for supporting me no matter what I chose to do in life. Last but not least, to myself, for continuing to see the good in the world in the times it tried to only show me the bad, because we never really give ourselves enough credit. Also to Shoutout Socal of course for thinking I’m even interesting enough to interview!