We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Mayo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
I think a lot about decisions as a woman. Yes, both men and women make decisions but for women, there is an added pressure and responsibility. As a woman, any decision we make may be “wrong” or leave us feeling like we should have gone the other direction.
I have female friends who got married right away and had children who later confided in me that they were envious of the freedom that non-married, child-free women have. Additionally, I have female friends, myself in this camp, who are unmarried and child-free who are sometimes envious of their married girlfriends with children. Should I have chosen family over career? Will I die alone? Will I become too old to have children? Will I regret not having children? Or, the extra heavy one, am I somehow “less of a woman’ if I am unable to physically have children?
This pressure, I believe, weighs heavier on women and if you’re creative your decision to choose yourself or your art may have been a hard one. Maybe not initially, but as time passes and if what you consider “success” has not been reached.
I am grateful for my parents who have both given me the best advice. My Dad always says that, outside of harming someone obviously, there are no wrong decisions, just decisions. This is such a simple philosophy, but one that helps me get through when I start second guessing decisions I’ve made in the past.
And my Mom always says that you should invest in yourself. When I went into production on Erie Oregon, the podcast, I wanted it to sound professional. When I understood the financial investment to have Erie Oregon sound the way I wanted it to by recording at a sound studio with professional sound engineers and designers, I panicked. It was a lot of money to me. But my Mom reminded me once again, “Always invest in yourself.” I knew that if I didn’t produce my podcast the way I wanted to or gave up on it, I would always regret it. I would regret it more than if I spent the cash and Erie Oregon wasn’t successful. So with my Mom and Dad’s advice, I chose to invest in myself and my art, and I don’t regret it.
And, what is success? In my 20’s, I may have believed it was to be a series regular on a TV show or some level of fame. But fame doesn’t mean you’re successful. Being successful is believing in yourself and pursuing your dreams even when you fail. It’s getting back up there and continuing to push forward despite all of the odds stacked against you. We only get one beautiful life, so live it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being an artist or creative is just within you. Believe me, I have tried to fight it, give up on it, but it always sneaks back in. Choosing this life will always have challenges. For me, I still work a full time, professional job to support my creative pursuits and feed, cloth, and house myself. But, I’m excited about where I am today. Creating my own project, Erie Oregon, has allowed me to write, perform, direct and fabricate an entire world that had been bobbing around in my head for years.
I grew up as an only child who was obsessed with Goosebumps, Fear Street, Bram Stoker and eerie stories. I never missed a Scholastic book fair as a kid and I had a Mom who loved film and tv. We used to watch BBC shows a lot, as well as Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, Dark Shadows, Tim Burton movies and so much more. But I think all of that, in some way, helped shape Erie Oregon. It’s a little eerie, playful, and full of such unique and interesting characters.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my favorite LA spots are all over the city. This city has such fun gems and amazing food.
It’s definitely worth hitting up the San Gabriel valley for some of the best Asian cuisine you can find in the United States, let alone Los Angeles. My happy place is Westfield Santa Anita mall. Yes, a mall. Amazing shops you can’t find anywhere else and a stop at Din Tai Fung is a must.
Then I would suggest heading to Highland Park for a beer at The Hermosillo. I consider this place my Cheers. Also, for my pizza lovers, try the Pig and Fig pizza at Town Pizza, also in Highland Park.
For anyone in the downtown LA area, you have to visit the Last Bookstore, such a magical place before heading to Grand Central Market for one of the best egg sandwiches of your life at Eggslut.
Coffee lovers must make a stop at Republik Coffee in Pasadena and try the Black Vanilla Latte…amazing.
I would also suggest heading up to Magnolia street in Burbank for all of my vintage lovers due to so many great vintage shops and for a year round Halloween fix you must visit Halloween Town.
In midtown, visit the Largo any day of the week to catch some of the best comedians at any given time. Sometimes they just show up and do a show.
And for my music fans, I’m a bit of an audiophile myself, there are so many great venues but for the quintessential LA experience, you have to pack a picnic basket with your favorite cheeses, bites, and wine from Trader Joes and make your way to the Hollywood Bowl to catch a show.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Aside from my parents, there are so many creatives in my life who inspire me regularly with their artistic pursuits. When you asked me this question, a really special time in my life popped into my head. Not sure if there are any “The Office” fans out there, but in the final episode when Andy says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” I had one of those moments in LA about five or six years ago. It was during this small acting class I took in Burbank at the Howey Acting Studio. The class was taught by Bill Howey, who unfortunately passed away this past year, and his wife Carla Howey. The foundation of the class not only changed my performances as an actor for the better, but the Howeys really supported me in my writing efforts. I would secretly write scenes for class without the other students knowing so I could hear how my writing sounded. The class was small but full of some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met. I left that class feeling such a bond with everyone there and I miss them all.