We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Partch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks in my life and career has been the key behind my success today. I think about risks as the key that leads to the reward on the other side of fear. Risk to me is also fully trusting yourself and standing behind the decisions you make. It can be especially daunting if you grew up not taking risks or being judged for going down a path that is different than the norm. I was absolutely terrified of risks growing up, I didn’t want to do the “wrong” thing or really anything that would make me look foolish. I didn’t fully listen to my intuition yet. I loved playing it safe because it was in my comfort zone and I didn’t have to feel any discomfort. Playing it safe in any area of your life is not going to get you to the next level. I took my first risk by choosing to study acting in college as well as Psychology because I wanted to start following my dreams instead of the dreams others had for me. Once I took that first leap of faith, it started to become clear what I wanted in all areas of my life. Even when I was auditioning and getting cast in shows in Chicago, it wasn’t until I took the risk with friends to produce our own show that my career went to the next level. I had only taken that risk because a year earlier I took an even bigger risk investing in my self by auditioning for THE ACADEMY at Black Box. It was a huge time commitment and would require a new version of myself. Many were concerned and projecting their fears on to me of how difficult it was going to be to work full time and commit to an academy. I was excited because this was a risk I wanted to take for my future self and future career. When you take a risk you put some skin in the game which inevitably makes you work harder than you thought you were ever capable of. I came out of that intensive a different version of myself and once we sold out our original show I walked away knowing I was extremely capable of taking my career into my own hands. This also shifted how I took risks in my person life. When something wasn’t feeling aligned with what I wanted or who I was, I began walking away from things that weren’t meant for me. I walked away form a job that sucked the life out of me only to find one that filled my soul and had more flexibility than I thought possible. I began walking away from relationships that didn’t serve me or my future goals. This was a painful risk in the moment, but this decision lead me to my incredible fiancé today. Every bold decision I started taking was leading me towards the life I wanted, and without learning this I could still be stuck in a comfort zone not knowing what was on the other side of fear. I would have never discovered the incredible life I have today without a healthy amount of risk taking and trusting myself.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am really drawn to working on films that pass the Bechdel Test. I love to see stories about women on screen that are raw, unhinged, and relatable. I grew up watching the Disney Princess movies which set unrealistic expectations. Now I’m more interested in the story where a woman fails, makes mistakes, leans into a desire that scares her, chooses herself, overcomes her fears, or isn’t portrayed as perfect. There is already this crushing pressure to look and feel like you have it all together as a woman when in reality we don’t, so I want to see that reality portrayed and normalized on screen. I prioritize these roles when considering an acting job. I am most proud of the original show produced in 2019 with three incredible friends called For the Record, where I got to play a bad friend. It was so much fun to play because I had to justify her actions and negligence by creating her own insecurities. I am most excited about the feature film coming out soon that I also helped produce and act in called My Little Renaissance Girl where I was able to play a body positive, no BS best friend. The overall theme of the film is body dysmorphia, which the main character Amy is struggling with. I was actually dealing with my own health issues at the time that caused me to feel self conscious about my body and I thought ok this is the opportunity to truly walk the walk and portray this on screen in an authentic way. I am also very excited for a new short I am starring in next year that is a very dark take on the human experience that I will once again be producing alongside Amy Heller. I thrive in roles where I can play a blunt ride or die with gut wrenching vulnerability and darkness. I am grateful to be in a place in my career today that I am surrounded by incredible, ambitious women where if we have an idea and want to pursue it, we make it happen. I think taking that initial risk of producing For the Record with incredible women was what propelled us to now want to make our own work. I never thought I would be in a position a few years ago to make the calls for my own career and now I am so grateful to be in a place to make my dreams and other women’s dreams come true. Producing your own work is not easy in any regard, but it is extremely rewarding. Each project gets easier because you learn so much from each experience to be able to tweak processes the next time. The experience is invaluable and also makes you appreciate the filmmaking process as a whole when you are on set of someone else’s project. My acting journey has also not been easy but has also gotten me to the level I am at today through constantly learning in classes, investing in myself, and trusting the journey.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think one of the best places to start with any itinerary is coffee. Chicago is full of so many incredible coffee spots that are locally owned:
-Gaslight Coffee Roasters
-The Coffee Studio
-The Wormhole Coffee
-Drink Happy Thoughts
There are a variety of restaurants here that make it so fun to try something new almost every month! I love the culinary culture Chicago provides:
-Aba for some Mediterranean food and a beautiful ambiance
-Anteprima for a patio all year round with delicious Italian dishes and wine
-Girl and the Goat for some innovative small plates and an incredible espresso martini
-Boiler Room for huge slices of pizza and hanging with friends on the patio
-Lady Gregory’s for farm to table meals and a full gluten-free menu
I think dessert is the most important part of any day and there are so many fun spots to grab something sweet:
-Defloured Bakery has all gluten free and vegan sweets
-Molly’s Cupcakes truly have some of the best cupcakes in the city
-Bang Bang Pie is the best spot for incredible pie and coffee
-Margie’s Candies is a historic mark of the city and a great spot for ice cream
Some experiences that are unique to the city that are so fun and worth checking out:
-Having tea at the Drake Hotel
-Going to street festivals during the summer
-Renting a boat with a captain on Lake Michigan with your friends
-Seeing a show at The Hideout
-Making your own facemask at Scratch Goods
-Having a drink on Cindy’s Rooftop
-Play shuffle board with your pals at Royal Palms Chicago
-Going to Big Joe’s for turtle races
-Seeing a hilarious show at Second City
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my teachers and mentors at Black Box Studio. They pushed me further than I thought I was capable of going. With their guidance, expertise, and empathy I became a better actress who knows she is enough. Darci, Ian, Kelly, Jessie, and Alex really invested in me and my future career. I am forever grateful for the time we shared together in 2017 and the mentorship that has carried me to my success today.
Branding by Nastasia Sara Shifflet Photography