|Lauren Elizabeth Potter|
|Born:||May 10, 1990|
|Occupation:||Actress, Activist, White House advisor|
|Years Active:||2007 - present|
Lauren Elizabeth Potter, born May 10, 1990 is a 23-year-old American film and television actress. Lauren is most known for her portrayal of Becky Jackson, the Cheerios co-captain on the hit TV show Glee. Lauren is also a strong activist for individuals with developmental disabilities and has traveled around the country to speak out against bullying that this population often faces. She is connected to such organizations such as The Down Syndrome Association and the American Association of People with Disabilities and is currently a board member for International Best Buddies. Lauren was born in Inland Empire, California and grew up in Riverside, California. She currently resides in Laguna Beach, as per a recent interview. She graduated from Polytechnic High School in Riverside.
Early life and career
Lauren began taking dance classes with “typical” kids at the age of 2 years old and soon after became interested in acting. Lauren blogged to Huffington Post in 2012 that she had dreamed of being on stage from the time she was very little and received her first standing ovation at 4 years old and loved it! Lauren studied drama at Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, where she graduated in 2009.
Lauren appeared in the film Mr. Blue Sky at the age of 16 as the young Andrea Little. The film depicts an unconventional love triangle between three childhood friends- two girls, one born with Down syndrome- and one boy, who all grow up fighting who they are inside and how they are perceived by society as a whole. The film is a ground-breaking in that it explores the romantic relationship of a woman born with Down syndrome and a "normal" male, as perceived by today's society. Mr. Blue Sky attempts to break down society's barriers and change lives through changing minds by showing that we must view people as individuals first and foremost. The title is derived from a little girl's hope and love through the sun (Mr. Blue Sky.) The film was released in 2007.
In 2009 Lauren received a phone call from Down syndrome in Arts & Media (Formally Hearts and Halos), an in-house talent agency of The Down syndrome Association regarding a potential role on Glee. Lauren auditioned and landed the part of Becky Jackson. Lauren has said of her audition: “I auditioned for Becky, and Robert Ulrich was pretending to be Sue Sylvester, and he was really mean. But I made it through. They chose me, and I was jumping up and down, laughing and crying at the same time”. Lauren appeared in Glee’s first season in the episode “Wheels” and continues to guest star in the series. So far, Lauren has filmed 40 episodes of Glee and returned to the set for season five in late September.
In 2012, Lauren also appeared as Jenny in Leader of the Pack, a web-based comedy series about a black girl who sets out to save the planet and falls for a fun-loving white boy with Down syndrome who’s blind to the love of the girl next door, (Lauren’s character, Jenny).
Lauren is very involved with advocating for individuals with disabilities, including Down syndrome. Lauren is on the board of directors for International Best Buddies, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Lauren has also teamed up in the past with Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver in a campaign that was designed to engage policy makers, parents, and educators to stop bullying that individuals with disabilities are often faced with. In November 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Lauren to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where Lauren advises the White House on issues related to that population. Lauren also appeared alongside with Jane Lynch for a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for the campaign "Spread the Word to End the Word," which aims to end the use of the “R word”.
|2007||Mr. Blue Sky||Young Andra Little|
|2012||Leader of the Pack||Jenny||Web comedy series, 3 episodes|
- Unlike her character Becky, Lauren tried out for her high school’s cheerleading team, but did not make the team.
- Lauren recieved the 2012 Harold Russell Award at the Media Access Awards, which honors individuals in the entertainment and broadcast industries for promoting the awarness of the disability experince, accessibility for individuals with disabilities, and the accurate depiction of characters with disabilties. Lauren's award was presented to her by fellow Glee cast mate Jane Lynch.
- When it comes to football, she is not really a fan but she mentioned in an interview that she likes to eat chicken wings when it comes to football.
- On June 1, 2013, at Hyannis Port, Lauren’s team challenged football player Tom Brady’s team in a Best Buddies Challenge, a five-star, one of a kind cycling event that ended on the beach in Cape Cod. Lauren came in third place with teammate Carl Lewis.
- Favorite episode of Glee is the Rocky Horror Glee Show.
- Lauren starred in her first film at the age of 16, Mr. Blue Sky.
- Lauren is 4 ft 9in, making her one of the shortest of the Glee cast.
- Her Glee crushes are Matthew Morrison, Chord Overstreet, Cory Monteith, Mark Salling and John Stamos (Per an E! News interview in 2011).
- While giving a speech at the Best Buddies International Conference just a week after Cory Monteith’s death, Lauren paid tribute to her co-star, saying “Right now I want to pray for my best friend and co-worker, who played as Finn Hudson on Glee. We had a lot of fun together and he was nice and charming. He’s my inspiration."
- Lauren beat out 13 other actresses for the role of Becky Jackson.
- Like her character Becky, Lauren is an excellent poker player (according to her Twitter in which friends jokingly refer to her as a "card shark".) Lauren recently attended a charity poker event for her organization, Best Buddies in which she is a board member.
- Lauren has a dog, a Wheaten Terrier, named Marley.
- Lauren has lived in California all her life and saw falling snow for the first time when visiting Minneapolis in February 2013 for the ARC Gala. (Per her Twitter)
- Lauren loves to dance and took dance classes as a child. She will sometimes attend dance rehearsals with the Glee cast and learn the routines for fun.
- Lauren loves boy bands and is a big fan of both N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys. She has met Lance Bass. Lauren also loves Big Time Rush.
- Lauren is a member of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, the American Association of People with Disabilities, and has campaigned with both Special Olympics and AbilityPath.org against bullying and ending the use of the "R-word". (As per Lauren's Facebook). Lauren is also on the White House Committe for Individuals with Intellectual disabilites where she advises the president on issues that are important to this population. Lauren is the first person with an intellectual disability to be appointed by the President. (As per Lauren's speech to the ARC gala in 2013).
- Is a fan of the television shows Veronica Mars, Pretty Little Liars, and Homeland. Lauren has met a few of the Homeland cast members.
- Enjoys going to see plays at Pantages Theater in LA and went to see Jekyll and Hyde and The Wizard of Oz recently.
- Lauren's zodiac sign is Taurus along with fellow Glee cast members Harry Shum, Jenna Ushkowitz, Dianna Agron, and Lindsay Pearce. She also shares the same birthday (May 10th) with Charice, who played Sunshine Corazon.
- Is close to cast members Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Josh Sussman, Dot- Marie Jones, and Chris Colfer.
- Loves Starbucks
- Favorite episode of Glee's season five so far is The Quarterback.
- Like her character Becky, Lauren considers herself a "Gaga" rather than a "Katy".
- Favorite food is pizza and buffalo wings.
- Lauren's favorite costumes worn for Glee so far were the ones from Previously Unaired Christmas.
- (Regarding Cory Monteith’s death and Glee cast via her Twitter) “Cory was always so nice to me. I have so many good memories. I hope my Glee family is ok, I love them all.”
- (In a 2010 Glee exclusive fan interview) “All the cast is so nice and fun to work with. It’s fun to hang out with them on set. It feels like a big family when we are working together.”
- (Regarding how Lauren feels characters with Down syndrome have been portrayed on Glee) “I think it is great. A bunch of people have written to me to tell me how happy they are that I am on the show. I want them to see me as I really am, just a regular girl. The fans have been so great to me.”-In a 2010 Glee exclusive fan interview.
- (To People Magazine in 2011) “Like so many kids with disabilities, I have been bullied. Kids in elementary school would make me eat sand and those same boys would walk behind me, teasing me. Finally, I had enough, and I told them ‘GROW UP’.”
- (To People Magazine in 2011) “I want to encourage kids to speak up, tell their stories. That is the only way people will know what we have to go through. Believe in yourself. Someone once told me that being different isn’t bad-different is just different!”
- (To Huffington Post in March 2012) “Some people told me that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I only paid attention to the people who told me that I could. Turns out, following this one dream lead me to discover even more dreams”.
- (To Huffington Post in March 2012) “Being an actor isn’t just fun and games. It is very hard work with very long hours. In one of the scenes [for film Mr. Blue Sky] I had to wear flannel pajamas for hours when it was 90 degrees in August. But, I knew this was the job for me! I was in heaven!”
- (Regarding the availability of roles for people with disabilities in Hollywood) “It has shifted, but not enough! I love working on Glee and hope that there are more and more parts for me and other actors with Down syndrome in television and movies so I can keep working for a long, long time. Actors with Down syndrome are just like any other actor, they want to follow their dream to act and have great roles; not just roles that are written for people with Down syndrome, but parts that are written for any man or woman. Parts that can be played by a good actor that just also happens to have Down syndrome.”-In an interview to Fox News, November 2012
- (Regarding Chris Colfer at his Struck By Lightening Premiere) “Thanks for inviting me to the premiere of your movie. I’m so proud of you. You’re so talented!”
- (To Huffington Post April 2013 regarding her controversial role in the Glee Season 4 episode Shooting Star) “I felt that they trusted me as an actress. I was scared at first but now I feel comfortable”.
- (To Huffington Post April 2013 regarding Jane Lynch and the character Sue Sylvester) “I just love Jane Lynch, but in the show Sue’s kind of mean. I don’t like her that way. [laughs] But I really love her in real life she is one of the nicest and most awesome women I have ever met.”
- (Regarding how she feels about football) “Not really a fan. When it comes to football, I eat buffalo wings.”
- (Regarding her audition for Glee at the 2013 ARC Gala) "Robert Ulrich told me the producers wanted someone who was cute and also a little bit spunky. And I knew it had to be a girl with a dream, and who wasn't afraid to reach for the stars! The audition was pretty fun. I had to jump rope. But they wanted me to do it really badly: So of course, I did it really badly! We had a great time."
- (Via Twitter regarding Glee's Feud episode) "A lot of you want to know about kissing Darren Criss. My mother always taught me a lady never kisses and tells."
- (When asked what her biggest lesson is that she has learned doing Glee) "To never fear anything".
- Lauren Potter on Wikipedia