Lauren Foster is perhaps one of the most-accomplished and famous transgender women that you’ve never heard of until the last few years. She was a print and runway model in the 1980-90's, appearing in VOGUE Mexico in 1984. A regular at famed Studio 54 in New York City and Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion on the west coast. She ran with a jet-set crowd of rockers, royalty and international celebrities, and after her 11 year modeling career, became one of the top event promoters in the world, working alongside the king of the underground party world, Jeffrey Sanker.
Her friend, and Warhol superstar, Holly Woodlawn referred to her as the "IT Girl of the transgender community."
So why haven’t you heard of her? Well, the Internet didn’t catch fire until 2000 -- when she had already settled down into a more traditional life in Miami, where from 2001-2014 she was the PR Director at the prestigious MIAMI Institute for Age Management and Intervention, in the Four Seasons Hotel.
Lauren never hid her transgender status, but neither did she flaunt it. Although she was the darling of, and heralded and adored by, the gay community, to the general public she was just another girl. And this was in keeping with her mantra that she revealed to me during our first interview In the early 2000s when I asked her --
What advice would you give to other TS women pursuing success? Her answer was simple and poignant: “
Attain your success through your talents rather than the fact that you're a TS woman. Be known for what you do, not for what you are.”
Lauren continues to spend her time in New York City and Cape Town, South Africa while the limelight seems to follow her. She continues to model, and in the August 2015 issue of Image Amplified Magazine appeared in a 5-page exclusive with adult star Levi Karter, photographed by her favorite director and avant garde film maker Joseph Lally. She has also recently appeared in 3 biopics with Lally: FACES", "MISS AMERICA
COMMITS SUICIDE" for Nick Knight's SHOWStudio and in 2014, INTERNATIONAL STAR". She is signed with Project Publicity in New York City.
Of late, after a career that has spanned the world, she has become more involved in the transgender community. In 2011 she began working with GLAAD, launching the GLAAD Miami Leadership Council with Omar Sharif Jr. and Miami Housewife Marysol Patton, and Lauren is the first transgender woman to be regularly featured on BRAVO's REAL HOUSEWIVES of MIAMI, appearing regularly in seasons 2 & 3.
In December 2015 she will be honored in Miami with a lifetime achievement award.
Recently, she just launched a new website dedicated to the transgender community, called justanothergirl.org and I caught up with Lauren recently for this interview.
1.You started building a website for yourself, to promote your forthcoming book, and that morphed into something else. What motivated you to expand the site concept?
IT JUST GREW ORGANICALLY. I WAS MENTORING 2 TRANS TEENS AND THOUGHT WHY NOT PUT A SITE TOGETHER THAT WOULD BE TEEN FRIENDLY AND INCLUDE ALL THE RESOURCES I NEVER HAD? MY DEAR FRIEND, REID PRICE, TOOK THE HELMS OF THE BUSINESS SIDE AND JUSTANOTHERGIRL.ORG WAS BORN.
2. What are you hoping for the site to accomplish, what is it’s Mission Statement, if any?
THERE ARE MANY SITES OUT THERE THAT ARE CONFUSING AND OFFER OUT-DATED ADVICE. I WANTED A SITE WHERE PARENTS COULD FEEL COMFORTABLE HAVING THEIR CHILDREN EXPLORE IT AND ALSO INCLUDE INFORMATION THAT WAS RELIABLE AND LISTED SURGEONS AND MEDICAL PROVIDERS THAT OFFERED EXEMPLARY RESULTS.
3. Your life is packed full of activity these days, so how do you find the time to run an online property at the same time?
I SEE THIS NOW AS A WAY TO HELP OTHERS AND THAT ALONE MOTIVATES ME TO FIND THE TIME.
4. After a modeling career and -- later -- an event promotion career that kept you a high profile celebrity, you then created a new life in Miami that was much lower-key. While during your high-fashion modeling career the insiders knew of your transgender status, the public rarely did. Why come out so publicly as transgender now?
WHEN I JOINED HOUSEWIVES, I WAS INTRODUCED TO THE BRAVO AUDIENCE AS "LAUREN FOSTER - MODEL, SOCIALITE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN. IT WASN'T UNTIL THE 3RD SEASON, WHEN WE WERE EN ROUTE TO FILM AT PALM BEACH GAY POLO WHEN MARYSOL SAID, "WHO BETTER TO HAVE AT GAY POLO THAN THE GORGEOUS TRANSGENDER MODEL, LAUREN FOSTER?". MY SOCIAL MEDIA BLEW UP AND THERE WAS NO TURNING BACK! THE PAPARAZZI BEGAN TAKING PICS OF MY BOYFRIEND, UNDERWEAR MODEL JOHNA MYERS AND ME EVERYWHERE WE WENT. THE MONIKER WAS THE SAME EVERY TIME..."TRANSGENDER MODEL LAUREN FOSTER". I COULD EITHER CHANGE MY NAME AND FALL OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH OR EMBRACE IT. I EMBRACED IT. MY LIFE CHANGED FROM THAT MOMENT.
5. When Isis King appeared as the first transgender model on America’s Next Top Model, there seemed to be a mixed reaction from the other contestants -- some were supportive, while others dismissive. How did the other cast members of the Real Housewives of Miami react to a transgender women as part of that cast?
THE GIRLS WERE VERY SUPPORTIVE AND 3 OF THEM EVEN ACCOMPANIED ME TO NEW YORK FOR THE GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS. THEY WERE VERY INCLUSIVE. THEY'RE A GREAT GROUP IF WOMEN.
6. You and I also discussed the book you had wanted to write during our first interview. Have you had time to move forward with that? What is the current status?
I ACTUALLY MOVED TO NYC FOR A 4 MONTH STINT TO FINISH IT. IT'S TAKEN A NEW TURN AND WILL BE MORE OF A LOVE STORY AND A LIFE STORY. MANY AUTOBIOGRAPHIES HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AND THEY ARE ALL SIMILAR. I WANT MINE TO BE DIFFERENT.
7. Lauren, you’ve lived 10 lives, what else does the future hold for you?
MY LIFE HAS BEEN VERY BLESSED. THAT IS NOT LOST ON ME. I'LL LET IT UNFOLD ORGANICALLY. IT HASN'T LET ME DOWN YET.
As always Lauren, I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to partake in this interview. I'm sure the readers will find your adventures fascinating.
THANK YOU BRIANNA. BIG LOVE DARLING!
View Lauren's siteHERE