Portrait by: Halie Torris
Portrait Reference Photo by: Munachi Osegbu
Interview by: Isabella Vega
Photos by: Tristian Hollingsworth
One of the most surreal moments of my life was sitting in the Zoom room, waiting for Lauren Jauregui to enter. There was a plethora of thoughts swirling in my head, mostly nerves - I had never met someone who I had such a deep cosmic connection with, someone I'd spent the last eight years following and looking to guidance for. What if they weren't all I thought they would be? Then, I spotted the Lauren Jauregui Edition of Coup De Main on my desk shelf, and that's when it hit me: I had manifested this entire conversation. God put this person in my path for a reason, all those years ago, and I was about to find out why. As I let her into the Zoom, I had no idea the emotional journey the next forty five minutes would lead me. What unfolded was something I always dreamed, and somehow, almost predicted: that in meeting the woman I had spent a lifetime loving and learning from, in truly baring our souls and sharing our life philosophies, a few of my internal puzzle pieces would click together with every laughing breath and anecdote dripping off of her with intellect and authenticity. I present to you: a candid conversation with Lauren Jauregui - how she describes her Sense of Self, her ideas on the current mental health movement, and her upcoming EP.
Isabella: How would you describe your Sense of Self in one sentence?
Lauren: I guess my sense of self is just kind of… This is complex now that I’m sitting and thinking about it! I’m like ‘what does my sense of self mean?!’ I guess it’s just kind of the awareness that I’m embodying. Yeah, like, how much I’m showing up for myself and the self care aspect of all of it. That’s usually when I feel the most sense of self, when I’m aware of my body and my mind and my heart and how it’s feeling, so self-care.
Isabella: Now more than ever, there seems to be a growing awareness/spread of information on mental health, a sort of movement throughout social media platforms. Is there any facet of this growing movement that you would want to change or is there anything you would like to add to the conversations?
Lauren: I mean, I think there is always room for improvement in how we approach things. Again, this is a topic that is new to all of us as a collective, we’ve been under the oppressive thumb of capitalism, imperialism, and colonization for a very long time, and we still live in a settler-colonial state. I think that the disparities between how mental health affects different people is definitely a nuanced conversation. I think that acknowledging state violence can not just be talked away is important, and I don’t think that we talk often enough about how people of color’s mental health suffers because there are systemic things in place to oppress them and to hurt them. That are still in place and that we still debate and that we still have to have conversations about, which has been centuries of people talking about whether or not it’s ok to brutalize people of color. I think bringing that into the conversation a lot more - state violence’s impact on our mental health. A lot of the time we are just, like “Oh, I’m traumatized because my parents treated me a certain way” or “I’m traumatized because this person did something to me” but what we don’t really address is those behaviors of other folks like parents - something I’m trying to acknowledge is saying “I know my parents didn’t have the tools, and that’s something I’m learning through my mental health journey.” That’s not something I understood off the bat. I thought that the things that had happened to me in my life were the reasons why I was this way.
When you start going into the journey, and when the journey involves the spiritual element of the journey. That’s another thing, I would love to have more conversations about spiritual illness. Where the lack of faith and the lack of belief in self is the root cause of a lot of depression and anxiety. That disconnect from God and the disconnect from the belief that reality can be what we manifest it. We have to take responsibility for the way that our world looks right now, and the way we look, and the way we operate and hold one another or don’t. It really has to come down to every individual person wanting to show up for themselves more and understand themselves more.
I would like to have more conversations about the connectivity between everything, the intersectionality between this stuff.
Isabella: I love that. As someone who’s religious and has a very strong spiritual connection to all of that, that’s what I love about you so much - a lot of people are scared to talk about religion and spirituality, whilst you just go there, and talk about something that is so foundational to our beings.
Lauren: Yeah. I’ll challenge that a little bit and say it’s not necessarily religion. I feel like religion can be an instrument used to pin us against each other. It’s about spirituality because God is a reflection of us and lives in each of us. That’s why God looks so different everywhere because everywhere you go, God looks like the people there, because God is self. Self is God. As far as, like, when you think of the higher self, when you pray, whoever you pray to - this being is here for you, and you see yourself in them. Whilst you can understand that they are there for the rest of the world, as well, that connection regardless of religion, that understanding that there is something greater than yourself, is benevolent?
Lauren: And that’s so important. I think we often forget about that, and I know that my darkest times were when I forgot that God existed. And when I didn’t trust in God and their vision for me. A lot of times, we feel like things are happening to us, but really, they’re happening for us.
Isabella: So, I’ve heard whispers through the grapevine of there being an EP in the works. Congratulations! I’ve been waiting!
Isabella: How do you plan on continuing your pure self expression through the release of a shorter form project and an eventual album?
Lauren: Well, I think that music is where I am the most self-expressive. It’s my safe space. I think writing in general, whether that’s my journal, or if that’s my notepad, or wherever. I used to just think a lot, and thinking a lot really messed me up, it gave me a lot of anxiety, and I used to think in loops, which I still do, but I’m better at catching myself now. That self expression is just a pertinent element of why I do music. I feel like I naturally just wanna talk about feelings! I’m just an emo shawty, I really love to put my stuff into words, and I feel like the challenge of putting it into a three minute or four minute song is kind of dope, because you get to kind of get it out. You don’t have to think about all of the things, you have to curate what you’re talking about and how you get the audience to understand your storyline in a concise, intentional way. Whether that’s short form or long form, it’s definitely my approach to making art.
Isabella: I love that! So, I don’t know how much you can say, and it’s alright if you can’t say much! I just wanted to know - what’s the vibe? I know you’ve worked in the past with the brilliant Kid Harpoon, who helped make Fine Line by Harry Styles, which is my favorite album of all time and saved me in so many ways, so will you two be working together on this project?
Lauren: On this specific EP, I am not working with him. I have other songs with him, because he and I make beautiful music together. I love Kid Harpoon. He’s a good friend and a really beautiful collaborator. On this EP, nothing’s produced by him on it, that’s not to say that we won’t work together again or the songs that we made won’t be released in some other format, but this one, I’m almost done with mixing now.
Lauren: Yeah! I’m just in the process of getting all of the visuals together and making sure everything is packaged nicely and looking good for everybody!
Isabella: I’m so excited!
Lauren: Yes! I think it’s very close, and while I totally understand why everyone is expectant of something from me - I get that and I totally understand - this process of making this music has been WAY more profound than just the music itself, it’s been a huge rediscovery of self. It’s been unlearning like no other. It’s been a messy and painful and joyous process in all kinds of different ways. To me, it’s been so much more than what I can give people. That’s the beautiful after effect to me, so people feel seen, heard, and safe, like there’s someone else who understands where they're at. I focus a lot on the things that I think about, so I hope that whoever listens to it can feel the potency of the self-discovery that went into this and realize why it took so long. Self-discovery isn’t something you do in a couple of weeks, especially everything that I’d been through. I’m a very sensitive soul, and everything that went on really shifted my perception of self into a very toxic place that I needed to come out of, I really needed this time. Everyday, it’s made me trust more in God and God’s plan. Everytime I thought I had it figured out, ready to release, every single time, God would derail and say “Wait, there’s something bigger.” Every time, I was like “God! Let me put out this freaking music!” Isabella: Hahaha!
Lauren: And God’s like “yeah, yeah! I know! But people have to know who you are! And YOU don’t know who you are! When you know who you are, then we can give it to the world!” I know who I am now!
Isabella: That’s amazing to hear. I really hate when fans try to claim the intimacy of “knowing you” when we only know the public version of you, but I’m a very big empath, especially with the public figures I vibe with, I choose them very wisely. I’ve followed you for a very long time, so I can see the change from “Expectations’'' to “50 Ft.”
Isabella: Yeah! You’re a new, spectacular whole, and I hope you know how proud I am.
Lauren: Thank you!!!! I’m proud of you, too! You’ve been on this journey with me.
Isabella: Thank you! I really think I have! It’s taken a while for us to put this interview together, and I really feel like God put us together at the perfect moment, because mentally, I feel like I’m in the perfect place to meet you.
Lauren: God’s timing is something else!
This introduction and interview has been condensed for the online format. The full interview appears in Issue 2: Rumination, open for orders until June 10th. If you've read this whole thing - I love you to actual pieces - use code 333 at checkout for a special discount!