May. 10th, 1990
Inland Empire, California
Lauren Potter's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Potter was born in Inland Empire, California and grew up in Riverside, California. She began taking dance classes with “typical” kids at the age of 2 years old and soon after became interested in acting. She blogged to Huffington Post in 2012 that she had dreamed of being on stage from the age of four years old, when she received her first standing ovation. She studied drama at Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, where she graduated in 2009.
Like other children with disabilities, Potter was bullied by her peers growing up and even as an adult, still experiences hurtful name calling: "Recently, I've had girls behind my back say 'ret*rd' and that is so hurtful. That is why I support the 'Spread the Word to End the Word' campaign."
In November 2013, Potter called out the cosmetic company Sephora (which partners with the department store JcPenny) for supplying a lipstick by Kat Von D called "Celebutard". On November 5, Lauren tweeted: "Really, @Sephora, 'Celbutard?' Not cool!" After Lauren's tweet and much backlash from Sephora and JcPenney customers, the lipstick color was pulled from Sephora shelves and they issued this apology: Thank you for bringing this manner to our attention. We are deeply sorry that the name of this lipstick has caused offence and we will be ceasing the sale of this shade from our stores and online.
In February 2014, Potter was honored in Houston Texas with the Sammy Award for her advocacy work for people with disabilities by The River- Theatre Under the Stars, an organization that offers affordable arts education for people with disabilities. The Sammy Award is named for the organization's founder's daughter Samantha who was denied access to dance classes due to her disability. "Kids with disabiltities want to do the same stuff typical kids do," Potter told Broadway World.com in February, "They [The River] teach kids to dream big and I'm all for that!"
Lauren appeared in the film Mr. Blue Skyat the age of 16 as the young Andrea Little. The film depicts an unconventional love triangle between three childhood friends - two girls, one born with Down syndrome - and one boy, who all grow up fighting who they are inside and how they are perceived by society as a whole. The title is derived from a little girl's hope and love through the sun (Mr. Blue Sky). The film was released in 2007.
In 2009 Potter received a phone call from Down syndrome in Arts & Media (Formally Hearts and Halos), an in-house talent agency of The Down syndrome Association regarding a potential role onGlee. Lauren auditioned and landed the part of Becky Jackson. She has said of her audition: “I auditioned for Becky, and Robert Ulrich was pretending to be Sue Sylvester, and he was really mean. But I made it through. They chose me, and I was jumping up and down, laughing and crying at the same time”. She appeared in Glee’s first season in the episode “Wheels” and continues to guest star in the series until the present day.
In 2012, Potter also appeared as Jenny inLeader of the Pack, a web-based comedy series about a black girl who sets out to save the planet and falls for a fun-loving white boy with Down syndrome who’s blind to the love of the girl next door, (Potter’s character, Jenny). She has expressed an interest in acting on other TV shows, especially on Disney or Nickelodeon.
During the summer of 2014, Potter announced that she is working on a short film called Guest Room by Cicatrice Pictures in which she stars as a young woman who struggles with her identity, her relationship, and her potential as a mother on the day of an unplanned pregnancy with her boyfriend. It is currently being filmed in LA and is being produced by Lauren and Emily Best of Seed & Spark.
Potter is very involved with advocating for individuals with disabilities, including Down syndrome. Potter is on the board of directors for International Best Buddies, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
She has also teamed up in the past with Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver in a campaign that was designed to engage policy makers, parents, and educators to stop bullying that individuals with disabilities are often faced with. In November 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Potter to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where Potter advises the White House on issues important to that population such as community integration, employment, and education. She also appeared alongside with Jane Lynch for a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for the campaign "Spread the Word to End the Word," which aims to end the use of the “R word”.
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