Lauren Mayhew has been singing and acting since the age of 10. As an accomplished entertainer, Lauren has sung for Michael Jackson and has starred in movies such as American Pie Presents: Band Camp and Raise Your Voice as well as shows such as CSI, Law & Order, Joan of Arcadia, Guiding Light and Dexter, in addition to performing hosting duties for WWE’s Smackdown and preforming at the preshow for the 2001 Super Bowl. Lauren describes herself as super sporty, focusing on activities such as MMA, dance classes, rock climbing and tennis. Look for Lauren in the new Hulu Original series Trolls: TrollsTopia premiering November 19, 2020. Check out Laurenmayhew.com, to learn more and follow Lauren on Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to name a few.
You have been in the entertainment business in some form or another, since you were 10. Can you give us a quick intro on how you got to where you are today?
I actually was born and raised in Florida, which is currently where I am right now. I’ve been living in New York for the last two years, but I decided to escape some of the winter months and come here and be in the sunshine, which has been awesome. So I started off acting and singing here. I’m actually doing a bunch of Nickelodeon and WB shows that shot in Orlando. And then I ended up booking my first really big role. It was a series regular on a soap opera called Guiding Light. And I basically traveled back and forth from Tampa to New York with my mom a bunch of times every month, which was crazy. So it really was an effort from, not just myself, but from my whole family, being that I started entertainment so young.
Then I ended up leaving the soap opera because I got signed to Epic Sony, and I was in a girl band. And we opened up for Britney, NSYNC, Destiny’s Child, 98 Degrees. We got to perform and do the Super Bowl with Aerosmith, which was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done. And yeah, just expanded from there.
When I went to college, I only applied to schools in either New York or in LA, because I finally wanted to be in a state and in a city where I can, instead of flying somewhere all the time, actually be where I needed to be to work. So it really started to take off when I moved to LA and went to UCLA, which was a dream school to get into. And from that point, I utilized the growth that I had gotten from my music and from the acting and hosting and things like that to launch some of the influencer stuff that I do in the content creation. So I took advantage of the platform that I had and started collaborating with brands.
At what point what was your aha moment when you said, “Yeah, I’m an influencer!”?
I’m trying to think if there was one specific moment where that happened. I mean, I remember as an actor, I started getting asked to come to all of these, they’re called gifting suites. For people who aren’t familiar with them, it’s basically right before any big award show, a lot of times they’ll do these big gifting suites where it’s a ton of different brands that come together all in one place. And you get invited as an actor with the hopes that, they give you all this free stuff, and they hope that you’ll post about it. They hope that you’ll say something about it that, since you’re a trendsetter, your fans will enjoy it, and that you’ll spread the word, et cetera. So I guess that was my first foray. I was like, “Wow. People are going to give me free stuff? This is so cool.” But as an actor, they don’t necessarily require you to post. They’re just hoping that you will.
Then from that, I started thinking, “Man, maybe I could do really cool branded content.” I guess the idea came first with me thinking about things that I wanted to make, that I didn’t have the funds to do on my own. So for example, like a music video for a new single that I had, I was like, “Man, I have this amazing idea, but how do I do it? Oh, well I just met all of these brands that were willing to give free stuff, for basically just hoping that I would do something in return. What if I promise them that I would do A through Z. Then would they pay me? And if so, what would that look like?”
So I just started reaching out to brands. I think that’s one thing that a lot of influencers don’t do enough of is a brand wants to know that you’re a fan. They want to know that you really relate to them, and that it’s something that would be natural and integral to your platform, so that the people who are watching you would also feel likely and inclined to like it as well. So I found that I’ve had really, really great results when I have reached out, personally, to brands and pitch them on a very specific idea that’s unique to them and their brand.
Your talents seemingly span the entire entertainment spectrum and beyond, as you branch out into physical fitness as well. You’re also active on Intellifluence. How do you structure your average day, so you can get everything done that you are looking to accomplish?
I try to coordinate the things so that I’m doing like-minded things at the same time. For example, today I’m working with an awesome winery that’s based out of Lodi, California. I don’t think I can say the F word on things, but they’re called “Good F-ing Wines”. But that’s literally the name of their label, and it’s actually really, really phenomenal wine. I have to do photos for them today. So it works out, like planning this shoot with you guys where I wanted to be looking cute, and the photo shoot with them, live streams that I have to do later on today. I try to group those things together, so that it’s more time efficient.
No one day of mine really looks the same, but it really does help to be super, super organized. For me, the second that I get something locked in, it must go in my calendar. I highlight, underline, star. There is a lot of things to remember, and it really is never the same. So I think that for any influencer, finding a workflow that works for you, and finding an organizational system that works for you is so, so important.
Your content is very high quality. Do you produce it all on your own? Do you have a small team? How does that look?
So it really depends. I mean, for certain posts, if I get a certain amount of budget, I’m able to maybe hire a photographer. I actually own a lot of equipment. I have DSLR cameras. I have ring lights. I have LED lights. I have all of my DJ equipment. I have speakers. I have a lot of stuff. And I’ve also become very self-sufficient. I think that the best thing that any influencer can do is to teach themselves at least the bare bones of video editing. I’ve taught myself how to edit on Final Cut Pro. I know how to do basic HTML, like in coding.
It’s funny. I feel like people look at influencers, and they’re like, “Oh, they just pose for pictures.” But, really, I know how to do a lot of technical stuff. If you had asked young Lauren, if I would’ve known how to do all the things that I knew how to do now, I’d be like, “What?” It’s amazing how many things that you can teach yourself just by Googling it and learning on YouTube. So I highly recommend that. It’s really, really helpful.
What have been some of your favorite brand collaborations to date? I know this is another tough one, because of the sheer number that you’ve done, but are there any couple of memorable ones?
Really, I love working with brands that are ongoing, that are continuous, because that’s always really nice when you get to, not only a really good to know the people who are working with the brand, but know the ins and outs of the brand and what they’re about and their whole message. But then also, I really feel like it’s good for fans, because then they really start to associate you with that brand.
And it starts to feel less like a promotion and more of a part of my life, which I think is important. I think that’s kind of the purpose behind social media marketing and influencing anyways, that it’s not supposed to be you pushing a product down someone’s throat. It’s trying to show someone, “This is what I use. This is what I love. This is what I do. You should check it out,” sort of thing.
So some of the brands that have done that are, I worked for a little over a year with Fairway grocery stores in New York. And that was an amazing, amazing, amazing activation. I, basically, got free groceries for over a year. It was phenomenal. So many influencers, they reached out to the same things. They want makeup. They want swimwear. They want this. There are so many other things out there that you use on a daily basis that everyone needs. Everyone needs to eat. Everyone needs to buy groceries. Everyone needs to buy gas.
There are certain things. And so I’ve started to reach out to brands like that, that don’t necessarily get as much love on Instagram, because maybe it’s not as sexy as a swimwear line or something like that, but that are really, really phenomenal brands and really high-end and have great products and things like that. So that was one of my favorites.
Another one, being a musician, it ties in really nicely, to me. It’s a company called Ultimate Ears. They make pro in-ear monitors, but they also do really amazing Bluetooth speakers that all connect to each other. And working with them has just been awesome, because, I mean, they sponsored a DJ tour for me. They made me the pro in-ear monitors, for free. And then they also just sponsored my most recent music video. So it’s really been great.
Since they trust me so much and we have such a great relationship, I’ve been able to go back to them again and again and again, and it’s become easier. I’ll just ask them for something, pitch them, and they’re like, “Okay.” So that’s really great to have that relationship on both sides, with the trust is there where they know that if I say I’m going to do something, that I’m, not only going to deliver, but probably overdeliver.
On the flip side of that, what is the weirdest pitch you have received from a brand?
I’ve definitely heard stories like this from influencer friends, where they’re like, “They clearly haven’t even watched my channel.” I haven’t really had that happen to me. I feel like the brands who have reached out, or a lot of times, I guess, when I’m getting people coming to me, it’s more so through either a publicist or an influencer agency or a PR company or something like that. So they know me very intimately and very well, because they’ve worked with me a lot. So I feel like when they bring me a brand, it’s a brand that makes sense for me. I actually haven’t had that happen. I mean, whatever. I would just laugh at it. I mean, at the end of the day, I think everybody is trying to connect on either side. On the brand side and on the influencer side, we’re all just trying to connect and make it happen. Obviously, that can rub some influencers the wrong way, because they feel like, “Man, you didn’t even take the time to actually even look at it. How do you even know that you like my content?”
And it goes vice versa too. So influencers, if you don’t like that happening to you, make sure that when you reach out to a brand, that you make sure that the content is specific to them and that you actually understand what they’re trying to do, because there’s two sides of the coin. So I try to always be conscientious of that. I try to make it easier for myself sometimes by, I will have templates or certain things that I’m like, “Okay, this is what I offer. This is my pricing. These are these things.” But I always proofread, go over, and I try to make at least the idea and the concept very specific, or as specific as I can, to whatever brand I’m reaching out to. So I think that’s good to remember on both sides.
We’re wrapping up a crazy year. So what’s on tap for 2021, as it pertains to your personal brand as well as influencer marketing?
I actually have something really big happening this coming Thursday. Like I was saying, I became an influencer and started doing social media content creation, because of my acting and my music and things like that. And I am coming out as series regular in a new Hulu show this Thursday. It’s created by Dreamworks. It’s called TrollsTopia. And I’m the main character’s singing voice and speaking voice. So that’s really, really cool. I’m super pumped. And I’ve been doing a ton of press here in Florida, around that, leading up to it, and nationwide press and stuff like that too. But I’m just so pumped, because it’s such a dream job. So that’s probably the closest thing that’s coming up that I’m most excited about.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.