Lauren Searle Is Happiest When She’s Being Herself

"You have to know your own boundaries, what you stand for and what you’ll say yes or no to. Otherwise you’ll get pushed around — I’ve seen it happen a lot."
Lauren Searle Is Happiest When She’s Being Herself

"I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. One summer it literally snapped overnight between sixteen and seventeen, and I had boobs. My agency at the time tried to get me to lose weight to shrink my boobs, or to get a boob reduction. I was like, 'no, that’s not going to happen.' I signed with the sister agency, and they were telling me the same thing. They would say, ‘OK, if that’s not going to work, you need to put on weight, or wear pads to make yourself appear bigger.’ But that didn’t sit right with me either.

Lauren SearleLauren wears the Balc and the Bikini in Black

At first it really made me second-guess how I looked. I didn’t know where I fell, ‘cause I guess I’m smack dab in the middle. I felt this pressure to gain weight, lose weight, nothing was working — my boobs weren’t going anywhere. I thought maybe modeling wasn’t going to be for me. But then I started booking jobs just how I am, at my natural size. 

And then it was like, ‘OK, this is fine. This is how I am, I can still work, I’m still beautiful when I’m being my healthy self.’ And I feel happier than I would be if I were to be struggling to gain or lose weight. This is the best version of myself. Sometimes I’ll have clients make comments nonchalantly or passively, but it never gets to me anymore. You find people who believe in you and want to work with you and if they don’t, it’s not meant to be.

Lauren SearleLauren wears the Balc and the Bikini in Black

I always had such a hard time finding bras that fit. All my friends would shop at Victoria’s Secret and they didn’t have my size. I felt kind of left out. Like, I can’t shop here, but I’m not going to wear granny bras, and I can’t go braless. It was always a struggle. It's nice that the industry has changed so much. There is more of everything — plus size, thin, and in-between. Women ask me all the time what bras I use, what swimsuits I wear — lots of women are a similar size. I found that being the way I naturally am was more applicable to the industry, rather than having to conform to a smaller or bigger size.

Vision is my agency now. They’re so, so amazing. My old agency in Chicago and the one I was about to sign with in LA both just wanted to get me with swimsuit companies, lingerie companies. But I knew I could do more — if I wanted to do high fashion I could. Not just things that show off my boobs or look sexy. Vision puts me up for beauty campaigns, high end clothing… it doesn’t all have to be things that show off my body. Working with Vision helped me to realize there is so much more I can do. I hate to say it, but it took them for me to realize that. You listen to what your agency says, so. Vision would create moodboards for my shoots and there would be a photo of me in a blazer, in jeans… It made see what I could do.

Lauren Searle
Lauren wears the Balc and the Bikini in Black

As a model, walking into a casting can be intimidating. You have to remind yourself that you are yourself, and that’s what makes you powerful. No one else is you. It can be your personality, it can be your style. Embrace whatever that means to you. You have to know your own boundaries, what you stand for and what you’ll say yes or no to. Otherwise you’ll get pushed around — I’ve seen it happen a lot. I’ve definitely had photographers ask me to go shirtless, and I just say, ‘No, that’s just something I don’t want to do.’ It’s about setting your boundaries and saying no when it’s necessary. I feel like I always knew what mine were. Growing up, my mom always told me to choose what I wanted to believe, so I always knew where I draw the line — for me, I know I don’t want to shoot topless. I’ve just always had that in my head."

Photographed by David Cortes. Interview by Anna Jube.

Tags: bodytalk , career & success

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