by Kristin Friedrich
(excerpted from the March 2009 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine)
Some women know what they want for themselves when they are little girls. Others have their light-bulb moment later, discovering their one true calling as adults. For Lauren Lake it was neither because she never had a single calling: She had a lot of them; she just had to find a way to work on them all.
Today, Lauren can practice law in three states. She can talk a lovelorn woman through her relationship troubles or go toe-to-toe with aggressive TV moderators on subjects ranging from politics to race relations to women’s issues. She has sung solo gigs at Manhattan clubs, and she has backed up or toured with Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Diddy. She can also redesign a kitchen from embarrassment to showcase.
Growing up in Michigan, Lauren’s parents definitely had ideas about what their daughter ought to do. “These were Black people who fought their way through, one Ph.D. at a time, so they were big on education,” Lauren remembered.
But she was a performer. She sang, she danced and she acted. If she was charged with a simple rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” she was the little ham who sang as if it would never be sung again. Her parents allowed all of it, as long as she kept up with her studies. “I was a creative ball of energy,” Lauren said. “Usually there comes a time in life when people try to box us in. They place their own expectations on us and make you try to choose. But I was blessed with parents who didn’t try to confine me in any way.”
She graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and then Wayne State University Law School. When her classmates were busy trying to get clerkships, she was opening a clothing store and singing in a band. “I never was great at jobs,” she confessed. “Never good at somebody telling me to punch in. I always wanted my own money and my own business.”
The performer in her helped along the way. She loved telling stories to juries because it felt like theater. “In front of a judge and a jury, it’s rare that they’re poker-faced. In the end, people are emotional, and that always worked well for me because I could tap into it. I could feel if the women liked me, I could see in the eyes of the gentleman who had made that one mistake in his own life, a mistake without intent, and so he could relate to my client.”
See what else Lauren is up to (like her new show on HGTV) when you pick up the March 2009 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine.