By Digital Afro Contributing Writer Issac Morgan: Issac is a distinguished graduate of Florida A&M’s School of Journalism. He is an avid writer covering diverse topics including politics, digital media, sports, & social reform.
Breaking into the entertainment business is probably easier than achieving longevity where you must work hard towards staying relevant in an industry that constantly changes. Some aspiring talent find themselves working outside of their particular passion within the business, and must refocus their efforts on simply making a name for themselves thru other avenues that will serve as their ultimate brand. Ethics and values are lost in the journey to stardom, for many. However, a Chicago-bred rising star who goes by the name of Clarke Lauren is one of the few who knows how important it is to stay true to yourself.
We Sat Down With Clarke For Some Q & A
Among her many roles in music videos with A-list artists, Clarke recently appeared in the music video for Migos number one record “Bad and Boujee” which amassed massive viral hits (350,192,499 views). Her smooth brown skin, combined with her high fashion appeal, suited the director’s vision very well.
On her experiences in major music videos as well as Migos smash hit:
“The director from LA gave me a call saying they need some high-fashion models and wanted me to be a part of it. I had never heard the song [at the time], I needed some extra money. Personally, I wasn’t interested in being in those kind of videos anymore. But because they were looking for high-fashion models, I jumped to it because that’s what I consider myself as. It was a great experience; I didn’t know it would go where it went. I think it passed a million views. It wasn’t hard working at all [with the Migos]. The group chimed in a lot with the director, and was very involved but they pulled it together and helped the director. I don’t like being the model [in music videos], I wanna be respected for my music and my art.”
Aside from Migos’ single, she has managed to land music video roles in other breakout hits from artists – appearing in Jidenna featuring Kendrick Lamar’s “Classic Man.” But Lauren quickly told me she is not a vixen at all. On separating herself from the crowd to not be boxed in as ‘video vixen’:
“Not at all because all the videos that I chose to be in, I am not doing anything ‘vixen-like.’ Of course, in the beginning, I was new, so I was willing to do whatever. But I was still very smart being that my last name is Stewart and I have people that are paying attention to me. My work speaks for itself.”
On her modeling, her main focus right now in her career and overcoming obstacles:
“Music in general has always been my first priority in my life… I had a fear, honestly, I grew up around greatness, and for the longest time I didn’t feel great. I sorta have held myself back for a long time. All around I am an entertainer, I like to be in front of the camera, I like to be heard, I like to be seen. Modeling was something my family didn’t know about. And it was something that I was great at and able to do on my own. My main focus is really just doing what I love, now that I let the fear go behind me. I’m enjoying the growing process.”
On her relationship with hit producer Tricky Stewart and The Dream:
“I always looked at him like my big brother even though he is my uncle. Growing up, we were super close. We have our own bond – we are alike in many ways. He’s a great guy and super talented. The Dream is new to my artistry I would say, everyone is used to “Clarke the model.”
Clarke also shared some exciting news about her endeavors in the film industry, as she has been able to land some smaller roles in major blockbuster hits. She made an appearance in the N.W.A. film Straight Outta Compton which she said “I went out for an extra role, but ended up playing one of Eazy-E’s girls.” You will also see a familiar face in Tupac’s upcoming drama film entitled All Eyez on Me as Lauren was excited to be a part of this major film production. “I think I got my face in that one. The part I had was a monumental moment for the movie.”
On being taken serious by men as a business woman in entertainment:
“I make it very clear as to why I’m dealing with someone. I don’t want to just be respected for my looks. Looks will get you in the door, but the talent and heart will jeep you there. It’s important how you carry yourself.”
On mixing business with pleasure:
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing. One thing I do want to do is to empower and teach women to not get so caught up in it, versus getting caught up in yourself. If you find someone and you end up working with them, I don’t think you should forget why you guys even met. Put yourself first.”
Social media seems to rule the world these days and Lauren knows this all too well with a large following herself. I asked her if she thinks social platforms are a blessing or curse. On social media popularity:
“It’s a curse. I just tweeted about how much I hate social media other than it helps me to make money and get my brand out there. I hate how involved we are in it. I recently liked a dark brown girl’s picture and she wrote me a whole message about how I made her feel beautiful. I thought it was horrible but I was happy I was able to help her feel more confident”
Overall, Clarke’s musical style is hard to put a label on. She is into all kinds of genres and listens to all types of music. If she had to describe it, Clarke said “Eclectic R&B but with some pop and hip hop records.” Her new single will sure get everyone to follow her, as “Follow Me” teaches a man what a woman likes sexually. “Every woman does not like the same thing,” Clarke said. “If you are my man, you have the key to my body.”
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