Picture this: Lauren London as a woman fully realized. She’s a mother. (Her son Cameron’s father is rapper Lil Wayne.) She’s an actress. (She currently costars on BET’s hit show The Game as Kiera Whitaker; later this month, she’ll costar as Paula Patton’s baby sister in Baggage Claim.) And even though Hollywood can be such a, well, game, she understands the importance of pacing herself.
We all first really took notice of her in after she turned in a fun performance as “it girl” New New in the 2006 comedy ATL alongside T.I. She looked familiar, and for good reason—she’d already been the video girl love interest of artists like Pharrell Williams, Ludacris and Ne-Yo—and New New’s Southern girl sass resonated.
In the years since, she’s popped up in ensemble casts like This Christmas and Madea’s Big Happy Family. And finally, she’s a TV staple. For the past few months, she’s been on our flatscreens every Tuesday night on The Game. In a few weeks, the cast will have their first table read and start back production on the next season. And even though she’ll never watch herself on TV or in a movie, she’s hoping she’ll be doing this for quite some time.
EBONY.com talks with Lauren London about Baggage Claim—the Black ensemble comedy coming September 27 costarring Boris Kodjoe, Lala Anthony, Paula Patton, Jill Scott, Taye Diggs and more—The Game, and the dumbest thing she’s ever done for love. (And she says it was really dumb. And kind of painful.)
EBONY: Baggage Claim is a conventional romantic comedy that just happens to star people who look like us. Feels like a victory. Is that what attracted you to this project?
Lauren London: Absolutely! Being a Black woman, there’s so many different sides of us. We are funny, silly, romantic, professional, smart, and we have good jobs. And you might have everything together, still looking for love, and then not needing love and being soft. I don’t think there’s enough roles that show us in that light.
EBONY: Your first season on The Game comes to an end this week. You’re already on board for the next season, but what’s it been like for you being on TV every week?
LL: I have a hard time watching myself! Usually I do the work and then I leave it. So I pretend like I’m not on TV every week. I just want people to love and embrace it, and I don’t want to watch myself!
EBONY: Yet and still, you guys just about break Twitter every Tuesday night! Lots of eyeballs are watching you. Does being part of a show that beloved and talked about change your hunger as an actress?
LL: I think just growing up and getting older might do that for me. I’m changing as a woman now, so the projects I crave for are a little bit different. Because I can apply who I am to them now differently with experience, being a mother and having a bit of a career change. Growing up is a natural progression of evolution.
EBONY: Does being a mom make you eyeball projects differently?
LL: I don’t want to limit myself creatively. Right now, it depends on how much time the project takes. Time away from my son is kind of crucial because he’s at an age that he really, really needs me around. I’m grooming a young man.
EBONY: Is your son aware of mom’s fame and what mom does for a living just yet?
LL: I don’t watch myself, but I think when he’s with family members of mine, the show might come on and he sees me there. He was really excited about me being on the BET Awards, but he doesn’t really get it. He doesn’t really grasp the idea of it, and I kind of like it that way.
EBONY: Can you give us any scoop about this next season of The Game?
LL: You know what? I have no idea! We have a table read in a couple weeks and that is when we will all know what’s going on. I’m completely in the dark!
EBONY: Do you want to wrangle your character’s neck sometimes and give her advice because you started out young and know a thing or two?
LL: Oh my God, yes. She gets on my nerves sometimes. But you know, she comes into her own in the season finale, and I don’t want to wrangle her neck so much. I think that we’ve watched Kiera go through this journey of insecurity and not being so sure of herself and falling in love. And sometimes you want to strangle her, but by the last episode, you’ll say, “OK, all those things you did led you to this point.”
EBONY: And what about Lauren’s journey?
LL: I’m really excited. Like I said, I’m not limiting myself. I’m back like how when I first started acting and had that hunger, that thirst, that drive. I’m still young, I’ve had a couple things under my belt. I don’t even think I’ve begun where I’m gonna be eventually. I really feel very much in the beginning of my journey. I feel very new.
EBONY: Last question—craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?
LL: I was 16 and got my boyfriend’s name tattooed on me. Don’t do it. ’Cause it hurts. The moment you do it, the next month, the next year, you’ll be broken up—trust me—and cover-ups hurt. You can show your love in other ways. Ink is not it. Write it on a piece of paper and mail it to him. [laughter]