Lauren Karl is an actress, comedian and personal trainer who was born in the USA. She moved to London (England) for her masters degree in theatre, where she now lives. In her performances, she explores different characters, ranging from Drag King to Burlesque performer. Lauren has been vegan for 8 years and also talks about veganism in her own YouTube channel "Just veganin", which she started about a year ago.
In this interview we talk about how her performances allow her to embrace both her masculine and feminine side, vegan food, past and future social projects she engages in, as well as her life in London as a lesbian and the looming risk of the Brexit.
Q: You have already done a lot in your life. You started jazz and modern dance at a young age, studied theatre at the Berkeley University of California, and now have a comedian drag king show in London. How did all of this come about?
Well, I am always been a performer. I started acting when I was thirteen and loved it and just keep going with it. Acting in theatre and film then opened up my mind to other ways to express myself. Therefore got into fire dancing (haha that is probably the aries in me) and then really feel in love with burlesque, drag king work, and cabaret.
When living and acting in Los Angeles I often found it really frustrating how they represented women. A lot of times I felt that the industry in Los Angeles was more focused on the appearange of a woman - e.g. how thin she was - than her talent.
I do not think that what we see on TV and film is an accurate reflection of the body types, genders, and ethnicities that we have in the real world. That is why I feel in love with cabaret and burlesque. I loved seeing women onstage who felt body-confident and sexy, no matter what size or ethnicity they were, and being loved and celebrated for that. I think women are sexual beings and being able to perform burlesque and to dive into the sexy goddess inside ourselves by our OWN choice is such an incredible feeling.
I also love being a drag king because it truly allows me to explore and rejoice in my masculine side, which I have always felt more comfortable being in. Therefore I am grateful for the space that burlesque/cabaret brings to a performer. It allows them to discover and be who they are then gives them a space to create that persona and show it to the world.
[Photo credit: Veronika Vee Marx.
Image description: Lauren posing as her drag king character Loui von Dini. Loui has curly brown hair,
a fancy mustache, and is wearing round glasses, a black shirt and a grey jeans suit.]
Q: You also have your own YouTube channel called "Just Veganin”, which you started almost a year ago. What is it the channel all about?
Yes I started my YouTube channel a little over a year ago and I just really want to show people how fun, delicious, and orgasmically good it is to eat vegan and how plant-based eating is possible and enjoyable. I like going to different restaurants in London and in different countries (haha anytime I travel I try to go to different vegan restaurants to film there). But on my channel I like to go to the vegan restaurant, eat the food, give some thoughts, obviously show the food, and speak with the owners if possible. I also do some vegan recipes on the show and vegan food hauls. I might also try to do some vegan mukbangs in the New Year so please keep an eye out for that. Really, I just want people to realise how easy it is to live vegan these days.