Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2021 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, they are making “Herstory.”
When Lauren Cash is not making music or having staring contests with her cat, you can find her working as a Junior Designer and sometimes-Animator at Hue&Cry.
A new, emerging talent in the animation & design production space, in 2020 Lauren graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Motion Design and a minor in Business of Art and Design.
In the brief time since then, she’s gotten to work on some great projects with some awesome people.
What’s your origin story?
I was born and raised in the Sunshine State on a bit of land around a bunch of animals. So at the time of this interview, I’m just now discovering the magic of snow. I grew up drawing all of the time and that kind of led here. I took my art seriously once I got into high school and started thinking about what I wanted to do with it.
How did you get into the animation/design/production industry?
I guess it all started when I was about 11 and I found out that you could animate with MS Paint and Windows Movie Maker, giving birth to many animations that can’t be watched without cringing. (You can still find them on YouTube if you know where to look.
Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that…) Then, like a lot of people, I found out that being an animator was a real job! …And I could get a degree in just that at a school 45 minutes away from where I lived, Ringling College of Art + Design.
Who were your mentors?
All of my professors in school taught me so much. I went in knowing absolutely nothing about motion design and managed to get a job upon coming out.
As far as direct mentorship though, Mari Garman served that role for me, but in the realm of production. She coached me through the film I was producing for an independent study, and was just a great person to talk to.
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Honestly, I think my biggest achievement was landing this awesome job here at Hue&Cry. It’s kind of been a dream for a while ever since I interned here about two or three years ago now. It’s something I was afraid wouldn’t be possible since I wouldn’t be able to work in-house, but I have the dudes here to thank for making it all happen.
How about your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment probably happened in college when I was nominated for a very selective scholarship program, but in the end was passed up. That disappointment stemmed from my certainty that I had it all in the bag. But the other guy 100% deserved it.
If being a woman is your superpower, how has it helped you?
Being a woman gives me a different perspective than the majority of people I work with. Because of that, I can work on projects with a completely different viewpoint and together, we can make that project with contrasting audiences in mind that we both understand.
What’s your Kryptonite?
My Kryptonite has to be comparison. I tend to do it way too often, because it’s so easy. There’s a lot of amazing work out there right at our fingertips. The people I work with are also so talented!
Sometimes I can’t help but peek over at the beautiful styleframes they create and instantly feel terrible about myself, haha. But in the words of good ‘ole Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
How did a combination of pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and QAnon affect you?
Well, social distancing stopped me from having a graduation ceremony or a wedding ceremony, so that was a bit of a bummer. I think Black Lives Matter kind of showed everyone just how divided our country really is. And as far as a fringe group of conspiracy theorists I hadn’t heard of until now affecting me, I can’t really say it has.
What can the industry do better to promote true inclusion?
From my small bit of experience, I’ve observed that anyone is welcome in this industry, as long as you’re nice and work hard.
If you’re Batwoman, who’s Robin?
My Robin is definitely my husband Paul. We often find ourselves going on completely spontaneous adventures like having a dance-off against two inflatable-T-rex wearing fiends while we ourselves are masked by shark heads bought from Walmart on a whim.
Or something a little less fantastical like building a snowman in a parking lot in the dead of night while the people of the night look on in a mixture of confusion and curiosity. I don’t know if I’d be where I am without him.
What’s the engine that pulls you?
I think I’m just a naturally driven person. My mom always tells me that even as a toddler I refused to let anyone help me do things I was determined to do for myself. I’m still a lot like that as a full-grown human. But sometimes you do need help, and it’s important to realize when those moments are.
Climb in a time machine and tell a 15-year-old you something. What is it?
I’d probably tell myself to take some deep breaths, loosen up, and try to have fun in high school. No one in art college is going to care about your GPA.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career as an animator/designer?
I think success in this industry depends entirely on how much you want it. As long as you give everything you’ve got you have a great chance at becoming who you want to be and working the way you want to. It’s a competitive world and you have to put in the work to stand out in it.
How do you define creativity?
Creativity, to me, is what sets us apart from everything else in this world. It lives at the root of our souls. It’s what makes us human. Along with thumbs.
What inspires you to be creative?
Experiencing new things tends to give me the fuel to be creative. Whether it’s going somewhere I haven’t been or learning something new, that seems to make the creativity come to me more easily.
I think it’s really important to do these things. Staying locked up as we have been for the past ten or so months has taken a serious toll on my creativity. But I’m still truckin’ on.