Late last fall I got a phone call from an energetic and bubbly #bosslady asking me if I wanted to be a part of her magazine publication. I reached out via instagram for a call for writers and quickly resonated with Lauren's heart and the mission of The Letter Publication. Lauren decided to chase her dreams early on in her 20's, launched a freaking magazine, and now manages a large team and publication remotely. She both impressed and inspired me during that original phone call to say the least and I am so honored to feature her today!
1. When did you start dreaming of owning or editing a magazine? And what did it take for you to get to where you are today? Can you give us a snapshot into your life now?
I started dreaming of owning my own magazine at the age of 15 and what's really insane is that I even wrote it down for a school project "Where We See Ourselves in Ten Years" and I had forgotten about it up until the year after I created the magazine and it was so fulfilling to see that I had this dream in my heart since I was a kid. I think it took guts and determination for where I am today. I really just went for it and many people didn't get it or felt like it wasn't going to be anything but I was so head strong about it and didn't let anything get in my way and I believe I learned so much from that and it truly taught me the life lesson of persistence and how important our dreams are. Right now if someone were to take a snapshot of my life I would probably be in my pjs, having my desk covered in letters, to do lists, boxes, and whatever else they could find but most of all they would see I was happy and being very blessed to be able to do what I love. Being able to be creative all day long is not something I take for granted. So many people are not able to just do what they love or even find out what that looks like and so I am obsessively grateful for my opportunities and what I am able to achieve everyday.
2. You strike me as a woman with a beautiful and self-assured confidence. You're not flashy; you just know who you are and what you like. How did you learn to believe in and love yourself? What did it look like for you to embrace who you were made to be and be comfortable "in your own skin"?
Aw, you are the sweetest soul Tori, thank you! My mother for sure, she is a fire to be reckoned with and she taught me to be very strong and self -assured even if I didn't feel like it in the moment. Many things in life showed me my worth and how loving who I am as a person will only strengthen my other relationships and how I live my someday. Funny enough, my ultimate realization of embracing who I was came after two bad relationships. I think it's funny how an awful situation can turn out to be a catapult into the best things you create and found out about yourself. I now just feel like I can conquer the world and even though every day may not look like that, and I am enough. Flashy is overrated sweatpants and top knots are totally in.
3. One of the things that most impresses me about you is the way you virtually manage and edit a publication with so many moving pieces. How do you develop and collaborate with the Letter Mag team from so many places?
Haha, thank you and definitely trial, error, and lots humor. I always wanted a group of girlfriends like in Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants or any other Disney related movie and in essence I created that. At the time, I had no money to buy a warehouse and put people in it to call it a work place and so I reached out to friends across the world and it ended up being the best choice I could ever make because I not only gained help but surrounded by inspirational and inspiring women who ultimately ended up as some of my closest friends. My mind is literally a moving piece and is constantly going at a record breaking speed and I think that definitely helps me to develop and keep up with everything. Collaborating to me has been more of me inviting people to my heart and asking them to be apart of something bigger then all of us.
4. How do you stay motivated to work hard in order to achieve your dreams and make space to do what you love? Is there anything you do on a daily or weekly basis to stay envisioned or connected to where you want to go?
Dance parties are a necessity to my sanity. I am constantly dancing around in my pjs and I can't very well explain it but it just keeps me connected and motivated. Time is such a funny thing and we all need more of it but I think you can create a space for what you love and what is most important to you no matter what.
5. What advice would you give to a young person wondering if it's time to chase their dreams or work some boring day job to pay the bills? In your opinion, what's the balance between responsibility and dreaming?
If you are working that boring day job to pay the bills so you can achieve your dreams, then work it! If you are chasing after your dreams and struggling but it's "worth the struggle" then keep doing it. Everyone has to make their own decision of what works for them and their own balance. I don't think it's fair to anyone to only stick with day dreams. We have them for a reason and we owe it to ourselves to explore them in the best way possible.
6. How did you meet your boyfriend and what's it like being in an interracial relationship? I watched one of your youtube videos a few weeks ago on interracial relationships and so appreciated how honest you were! You said something that really struck me - you said you used to tell yourself to "stay in your lane". How did you learn not to limit yourself and be confident that you could relate to and introduce someone of another race to your culture and family?
Another hilarious long story but to keep it short we met at a Redneck Prom. I was working for a radio station at the time and his mom actually introduced us. Being in an interracial relationship is definitely different than other relationships I have had but at the same time it wasn't. I believe it was different because there was this expectation it might be different or certain things might be awkward but we ended up being such close friends before we started dating that I think we both became so comfortable with each other and it just worked.
I believe everything happens for a reason and Eddie came into my life when I wasn't even looking and I think how I learned was just by how he treated me. He was so funny, sweet, and just really got me and I didn't feel like I had to act like anyone else besides myself and myself was enough. It opened my eyes to being confident in who I am and who I care about and love and race/culture wasn't even a question anymore. Introducing your families, was a little nerve racking because you don't want them to say the wrong thing and you want a great first impression and our families were a little hesitant at first but once we met each other's families it was like we knew each other forever and that was something that meant so much to me.
7. Did you experience any push back from your family or friends in the context of your relationship with Eddie? If so, how did you respond and why is cultivating honesty important to you in your relationships?
Actually, it was the opposite, we received so much attention even from people we didn't even know and it was almost like animals at the zoo and you're the one behind the glass as everyone talks and watches you. In dealing with that, we are always very open with each other and have so many late night conversations and discussions and really keep in touch with what we are both feeling and we do this thing where we say " How's your heart, hows your mind, and how is your spirit." It's our thing to check in and I think that helps so much with dealing with any animosity or anything from society. Cultivating honesty is the food for our hearts in a relationship. I believe no matter how hard the honest may be it's necessary and will only strengthen your relationships.
8. What does living wholeheartedly mean to you?
Waking up and living with fulfillment and purpose. I often ask people what gets you out of bed in the morning, what excites you, and what is the essence of who you are. Big questions but once you I started to answer these things it lead me to living a wholehearted life.
9. Is there anything or anyone that has inspired you to live wholeheartedly recently? Maybe a favorite author or podcast?
I would say definitely Oprah and/or Ellen. They are both two of my favorite inspirations and the way that they pursue life and help others is something that not only motivates me but sets the bar high for me to remember to live wholeheartedly.
Lauren Taylor is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Letter Magazine. She is obsessed with pizza, dancing in her pjs, puppies, and believing in the being the real you. In early 2014, after making a promise to herself to breathe life into creative ideas that others deemed impossible, Lauren established The Letter Publication as a way to celebrate women, to inspire them, and to encourage them to make impossible dreams a reality.