This is officially the first time I’ve interviewed and posted for :
Hi Everyone, Family pets included of course,
For those who don’t know, Lauren Orrel, she is a great Australia actor and portrait photographer
Lauren at age 15 and became friends modelling together, she is one of these woman who have got the biggest hearts and always has time for you, even wen she is buggered an completely run down
In this interview I have asked Lauren a bit about the modelling industry as well as bullying and domestic violence
A little bit about Lauren before the interview, so you know what she is currently doing:
Lauren is an Australian actor known for taking on confronting roles in independent Australian cinema (because sometimes everyone just needs a a little weird).
She produces theatre and web content with the aim of rich, weird wonderful stories
So here is the interview with the beautiful Miss Lauren (or as I call her: Lozza)
Lauren can you name some types of bullying? (Cyber, Road Rage…etc)
There’s lots of flavours and I’m sure humankind will continue to invent new ways
Do you know at what age bullying stops? I suspect it occurs at all ages.
Have you ever been bullied? I was the weird kid in school, so yeah, it was very psychological, a lot of isolation,there as a lot of ‘Yeah, you can’t sit with us anymore’ I felt like I was the butt of a lot of jokes. I felt so lonely and unlovable, and that led some people to take advantage of my willingness to please. this left me feeling further humiliated and ashamed, stuff that I can’t talk about to this day. It’s not a black and white of a situation because I can see, and always have been able to see, that pain and fear that drive most people to pick and act on a target. The circumstances weren’t black and white.
When I asked Lauren how she feels about it today, the answer is heartbreaking and will hit home to a lot of people
Lauren answered: It was supremely shit. It’s definitely had an impact on how I relate to people to this day and how I view the worth of myself and my body in this world. But it’s also taught me compassion and forgiveness. Not in an easy “think this and it’s fixed” way. But it’s a process of learning to forgive and love, not just the ‘bullies’, but also myself.
Lauren, did you find being a model tough? Oh fuck yeah. I’m short (for modelling), not classically anglo, but also not obviously mixed race. I’m a mix of Irish, English, Eastern European and Chinese and don’t fit neatly into the: “You’re this kind of person box”.
I also really struggled with the pressure of weight, I hit 50kgs and it was the early 00s and like, frighteningly skinny was the thing right….. And I’d just discovered beer and went on the pill and I was curvier than when I started by also, not curvy by any normal stretch of the imagination and it came up with someone that I should “tone up”. At the time I was also dealing with a lot family and relationship stuff and it all got on top of me.
I was really struggling to connect meaningfully with anyone. I was suffering from depression and one of the side effects of the medication they had me on was weight gain and a lack of energy (except for the manic episodes it induced) and so moving was hard. long story short I developed an eating disorder and went through a pretty intense (but fortunately short) period of drug use to control my weight and mask my depression.It was at my sickest that I started becoming successful. But I was also really lucky, my agent, noticed that things weren’t really right, and they were there for me, always. I’m really grateful for that. I know that’s not everyone’s story. I think now in hindsight modelling allowed me to justify the ‘I’m not enough, I’m not lovable” narrative I’ve always had. I was so frightened by being rejected for my mind and for the essence of myself, I put myself in an industry where I didn’t think I would be judged on that (that’s bullshit, because who you are in the industry is important I believe), so I just com modified the thing I’d learnt to disassociate from as a kid, my body and looks, and in the process created a whole new self-destructive battle ground.
Were you bullied because you were a model? Not from people in the industry (not to my face), but definitely from peers. In hindsight, I don’t disagree with their criticisms its a form bullying. It was “how could be the face of such and such a company? They’re responsible for this…” or “You’re supporting the idea that women are only valuable in relation to their physicality”. I actually think they’re really valid arguments, but I totally took it the wrong way at the time.
Were you ever bullied in that industry or as a young girl spoken to inappropriately? There were a few moments. I tend think I was so strange that people couldn’t really be fucked having a go. People definitely took advantage of the anxiety I had to please and be accepted. I started later than most, so I think I missed a lot of the inappropriate stuff. There were a couple of incidents were I felt uncomfortable. It was quite common when I was younger for me to disassociate from my body and so I would generally smile through the discomfort, fortunately it never escalated to anything physical. I think it was very lucky in that I was always presented with a circumstantial out. There were moments where I felt like there was an expectation for me to be a ‘plaything’ after a shoot. People would ply you with booze, it’d was always after work, so it felt like a grey area. I remember one guy, another model, kept pulling me on to his lap, and I had that “I don’t want to be here, I want to go home” but externally the disassociation had kicked in and I smiled and me, believing I’d be respected as ‘one of the boys’ would go along with it. I wanted to say, “Nah, I need to get home”, but for some reason I was never physically able to say the words. Fortunately my mate rocked up to give me a lift home and that was that. Those situations were very rare, and there was a lot of my behaviour that was really complicit. The reality is, when you start modelling, you’re a kid in a very adult world. I think having really great rep in Sydney and Brisbane protected me from a lot.
For the readers who don’t know Lauren i asked her what made her quit modelling?: I finally got the courage to study what I’d always wanted to do, which was study acting. there were rumours going around about my drug and alcohol consumption, which had been, at that time, pretty well addressed. The reality was I just couldn’t do both, Study full-time, whilst trying to rediscover and learn to use the parts of myself that I’d taught myself to switch off – to be a whole person again, and then just be, what felt like to me, a one dimensional image. It fucked with my head too much, I didn’t want to be defined my appearance, it was too destructive for me. I wanted to tell stories, I wanted all the parts of me to be free and expressed, so I had to quit to liberate myself. 10 years later, I’m still working on doing that, but I’m a lot happier.
What types of bullies (then and now) did you deal with in regards to bullying and back in your younger years? I’m not sure how I’d classify ‘bullies’. My experience has taught me that most people bullying often do so because they feel overwhelmingly powerless in some other aspect of their lives. Having said that, it’s not my job to fix that for them. I don’t deal with ass holes anymore. I just don’t. If a person gives me that sick feeling in my guts, I just don’t spend time with them. No job is worth my well-being. I can be compassionate and empathise with that person without having to sit through them. It’s not my job to fix them and I have to look after myself. As I kid, I just didn’t deal with it. I was sick to my stomach before school everyday, I think I often became cruel myself. I didn’t have to tools and I genuinely believed that they were justified in me being somehow defective as a person. Again, that’s something I’m still working on healing.
How did it make you feel then and how does it make you feel now?: Angry and tired. Both then and now.
Did you have someone to talk too when you were younger? I found it easier to talk to professionals about it, because I knew from a young age, they had no skin in the game and so could guide me through it a bit better. I’ve been in therapy since I was really young (like single digits young, but I don’t remember the exact age) and it’s was invaluable. Sometimes those closest to us, because they love us so much, aren’t able to separate their own distress at seeing someone they care about hurt and that can take away objectivity. A good therapist has that objectivity and can teach you tools to better handle distressing situations.
What about now, are there any tools you use and like to tell the readers about? I journal a lot. I don’t have time for cruelty. I sleep regularly and a lot. I need to eat better and exercise more, but I’m getting there. I spend time with people I love, that feed and inspire me. And I try to practise forgiving myself and others. Also medication and good doctors, they have been a life saver for me. And good work, I’m really lucky I have a career in which I can turn these feelings into something powerful, I get to bring stories alive and connect people to an array of human experiences, and if I’m lucky, I even get to make them laugh.
Back in school, did your school have a zero tolerance policy that you were aware of? Haha it was a gazillion years ago. I don’t think so. I can’t remember.
Did families get involved in school? My family? I guess every family gets involved as best as they can. I think sometimes when families are struggling to get food on the table, or juggling huge life events, being involved in school can be really difficult. I really believe everyone does the best they can
Did people tend to gang up on on person? I definitely saw a lot of ganging up. It was a constant fight to not be at the bottom of school social hierarchy. I have been the person ganged up on and I know I’ve ganged up on people for fear of being the person being ganged up on.
What sport are you currently into? HAHAHA...sport ha. When I’m not ovaries deep in about 600 images to edit, I love going to ballet classes.
If faced with a bully today would that help? Doing sport? Seriously, the best way to deal with a bully is to call them on it and walk the fuck away. And if it’s violent and involves assault. Call the police and/ or get somewhere safe.
If you were bullied in any way or are of have been a victim of domestic violence was there anyone that pointed you in the right direction? Fortunately I have not been a victim of domestic violence. It’s just been a process of finding what works for me. Psychologists and good mates have been a god send.
Do you think the systems are feeling woman and domestic violence, if so how and what would you suggest would raise awareness and get people off their ass and involved? I don’t know enough, but the statistics suggest that, yes, we are failing women. There needs to be more funding for services and safe houses as well as follow up support. We also need to cultivate a culture where women are treated more like people. It’s one thing to say “oh but we have equality” but the amount of rape and death threats that follow a strong opinion posted online by a woman, would suggest otherwise.
So many forms of bullying and cyber bullying etc, is this still a problem today for you or anyone close to you or your readers? I’m pretty lucky. I also block a lot of shit. I just don’t have time for it. My head and heart have to come first for me to be well. But for others, fuck yeah. Especially online.
Men attacking woman of social media, what are your thoughts? I think we have a society that still sees women as objects that fit in and around men’s lives and when that’s challenged or even called out, it incites threats of violence against women. If you ever need a quick reminder why we need feminism, look at the response outspoken women get, the death and rape threats against them and their families, as opposed to that received by men saying the same or comparable things online.
kids being targeted by other kids in social media, what are your thoughts?
I understand that we as society need to move with technology and the time, but the thing with having a screen is that it kills empathy. Even amongst adults I believe our ability to empathise is becoming diminished. So what seems like sassy, harmless words on the screen, have some pretty dire consequences. I believe that we need to reinforce the idea that online is an extension of the real world and that what we do online has the same, if not greater consequences. But I’m not an expert on this, and it’s a really complex issue.
Those videos now being streamlined and shared of kids ganging up one a kid and bashing them what are your thoughts on that all? I think they should be removed and those involved, investigated and followed up in the most effective way whether that’s counselling or charges pressed.
Have you ever bullied any body, if so how.. and has it been resolved? Yeah, wow, this is hard. I know I’ve been cruel, especially when I’ve been feeling pretty hurt. I’m not sure I’ve ever resolved it effectively and for that I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry for my actions. This question has really given me something to think on.
How do you think that person felt? Wounded and alone. Hurt.
Who do you look up too? I don’t say it often, but I have no idea how my parents raised us and dealt with everything that went on. I admire them. I admire people that are able to transform their shame, joy, pain- their experience in to stories and art; Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sam Shepard, Sarah Kane, David Lynch. Shakespeare. Man, that guy! I look up to anyone that’s able to bring a little kindness into the world. I admire those who are struggling and keep going, even if it’s just one breath at a time.
Who is an inspiration to you? See above. I am very obsessed with David Lynch’s work as an artist. Rebellious women through the ages inspire me- I have way too many faves to list.
I want to say a big THANK YOU to Lauren Orrell for putting in so much time and effort,
#itstartswithus has more to come, more interviews and people sharing their stories
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