Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednesday Conversation with Lauren Jenkins

----Lauren Jenkins joined RRO via e-mail Wednesday afternoon for Conversation.

Photo by James Buchanan
-Ok, first give the readers of RRO, the lowdown on how did you get hired to work for Memphis Wrestling?
I was working a modeling job for Coca Cola at the BBQ Festival in May when Jerry's partner Joe, [Cooper] approached me. After telling him about what I do (film, commercials, music, acting, brand ambassador, etc.)  he told me about this "new show" and said he wanted me to talk to Jerry.   Not being from Memphis, I had no idea who Jerry Lawler was. My friends got  a kick out of that. After meeting with Joe and Jerry I was invited to the first taping. It all happened pretty fast. Jerry asked if I was "quick on my feet" and next thing you know I'm co-hosting and announcing on live TV.

-Have you always been a wrestling fan?  In the area or just WWE??

Having this experience has really allowed me to understand why people love wrestling so much and how talented and athletic the wrestlers really are. I've always known that WWE has a HUGE following, but being in the middle of it all and getting a taste of it for myself has made me realize what the fans are experiencing. I'm a big sports fan and like any live sports event, when you're watching some talented athletes and something entertaining you kind of experience a rush yourself.  It was great to observe the crowd getting so involved, the kids especially.  There was one little boy who started to cry when Jerry was pinned up against the ropes in a seemingly hopeless situation during a match.

-I got to hear the story about the butt grabbing. Give us the lowdown. Who was it that did it?  And you responded by "back handing" the guy??

It can get kind of intimidating in the ring sometimes. Those guys are pretty big, athletic, and I have felt I was about to get bounced out of the ring a couple of times (that could be fun) while preparing for the camera to roll.  The instance you are referring to was when I was in the ring with Wolfie D and Brian C and someone grabbed me right there on my booty.  Instinctively, without looking, I back handed Wolfie D right on his chest (I'm sure it hurt...not!).  The cameras weren't on me so no one even saw it.  Wolffie D started whispering something intimidating in my ear and at the time I didn't realize he was joking with me so...yes,  I was getting nervous. Later on, shortly after Brian C playfully asked me to sit on his lap next to the announcers table, I went up to Wolfie D and  apologized.  He told me he was just joking around with me.    Those guys have always been pretty playful towards me on the show (dancing around etc.) and this was another instance.  They're hilarious anyway and and have quite the camera presence.

You would be considered a person "outside" the wrestling business getting a job "inside" this world, have you met any resistance? 

You know, I really haven't met any resistance. Everyone at the show and all the audience members have been really great towards me.  Of course there are some critics  out there that compare me to more experience announcers and aren't fans, but that's always going to happen. I don't think the critics really get to see the whole picture and understand what I'm up against.  But each time I learn more and more and hopefully keep getting better.  I am serious about it and at some point would love to have a part in an expanded story line somehow. 

-What would you say to any of your critics?  [which would probably include] Are you willing to listen to advise of others?

Of course, Bring it On!  LOL   Well, I'm not sure what all of the critics say. haha.   Unfortunately, I am brand new to wrestling. I'm trying to learn as I go and understand how it all works. I don't know all of its history or the name of every move,  but I am always 100% open to constructive criticism. The show is really different for me in the sense that on the set of most productions there is a director letting you know what they are looking for in each scene. This is set up different and is mostly improv. Which is a challenge I like, but the final product isn't as polished as the critics feel it should be.  So on one hand its hard for the critics to be in my shoes but, on the other hand there is probably a lot of great feedback I could get from viewers and critics, which I welcome. Brandon Baxter has been a great help, very professional and very talented.  He has provided most of the direction from match to match and I try to play off of his lead.    

Photo by James Buchanan
What are you thoughts on the show being canceled??

I think its a shame because clearly there is a lot of potential to take a show like this to a level not seen before.   Not like WWE, but It can have its own brand and style which would keep its old following while creating many new fans.  I can totally see it from a production standpoint!  Jerry Lawler has a strong following and passion for the sport which is an ace in the hole. The fans really loved being there and every taping seemed to get  better. I have appreciated the opportunity and  would like to see the show come back on the air next month or so.  What so many people mentioned to me was the production quality and lack of direction.  I've been on both sides of the camera and I understand the physics of it all. Seeing the show live and seeing it on TV are two different things but the potential is totally there for it to be a success.

-I was totally shocked at your other talents, especially your musical abilities.  Tell RRO readers what else you do??

Besides being a singer/songwriter, I am a licensed pilot, scuba diver, sky diver,  firefighter, haha just kidding. (Although I would like to go sky diving).   I am very  thankful for the different opportunities I am having.   Do you really want to hear all of these things I do?   Versatility is important to me because it seems to help make me better at my other interests.   An example is that being a wrestler announcer has made me better for other on camera roles and behind camera gigs.  I've done quite a bit of modeling.   Acting on TV, feature films, commercials, and music videos is a huge passion that I continue to study and work on to get better.

Last week I got a job as the photographer to shoot an UGLY MUG (coffee campaign) with the Anthropology clothes line.   Then I left for Jackson, TN where I was working on set as the first assistant director on a short film (got back home late last night).  I love swimming too.  For about 10 years I was a competitive swimmer.  When I was in middle school I started swimming on a Varsity swim team and made it to State Championships. .   Oh one last thing, I'm teaching myself Italian.

-Would you ever consider or have you ever tried to get on American Idol?

Is it true that Simon is leaving AI? If so then YES!  Haha.  I get this question a lot and still don't have a great answer.  Would they like my style of music?  Who knows.  Maybe if my Italian is perfected they will let me on Italian Idol show.    All in all,  I love performing, writing and I hope to spend the rest of my life creating music and acting, even at 99.

-I would like to thank you for your time.  Please finish it up with any contact info you would like to give for area promoters.

Thank you Brian! And feel free to send me over all of your (constructive) criticism! I'll be waiting for it.