#ImAGirlBoss: Lauren Otis

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NAME: LAUREN OTIS
CITY:
 NEW YORK
HOMETOWN: NEW YORK
INDUSTRY: ADVERTISING 
INSTAGRAM: @laurnado
WEBSITE: cargocollective.com/laurensays

Tell us what you do!

I’m a copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi — an awesome global ad agency. It’s hard to think of a typical day! Usually, my team and I will get briefed on the launch of a new product or line, then we’ll put our heads together and brainstorm campaign ideas. From there, it’s determining exactly how it’ll all come to life across different channels—on your TV, in your magazines, what the online/social experience will be like, and what kinds of cool interactive marketing feel just right to unleash and surprise the public.

Did you go to college? If so, where?

Indeedy. I studied Media & Society/English at Hobart & William Smith.

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When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

Everything! A rapper, a cartoonist, an Olympic gymnast—the list goes on for days. However, I’m pretty sure my mom still has the awesomely embarrassing VHS tape of me spitting hot fire at my 5th grade talent show.

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

I’ve loved writing ever since I was really small. I definitely remember nearing the end of college and resenting being forced to zero in on one field. There was so much I wanted to do, and so many kinds of work that seemed really alluring, but I especially admired magazine editors and copywriters. At that time, I remember it all seeming way beyond me—almost unattainably cool, but it always stayed in the back of my head as I briefly fiddled with PR. I think my foot in the door was really the end of my PR internship at Wenner Media, Rolling Stone’s publisher. We shared a library with their editorial interns (they assist in magazine creation), and after hearing about all of their awesome assignments, I became completely jealous positive that I needed to be doing what they were doing. I conveyed this same revelation to a series of editorial recruiters, and was fortunate enough to land my first writing internship. Things kind of carried on from there!

Any obstacles along the way?

Of course. Rapid deadlines, funky hours, and what feels like your most CRAZY-GENIUS ideas being received with an “em, thanks, but no thanks” all definitely come with the territory. Of course, everyone cares about their work, but when what you love is also your livelihood, there’s an extra level of emotional attachment to your stuff that you can either work to your advantage or let drive you nuts.

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Who is your idol?

That’s a hard one! I have so many. There are endless inspiring writers/public figures, as well as people in my everyday life that unknowingly make me want to be better. But most recently—as in this month—I’m loving the girls of Broad City. It’s been a while since a show made me laugh that hard, and it makes me especially happy that it’s the output of two girls around my age. It’s generally awesome to see so many young women (I sound like a mom) going out and getting things DONE—with great results. It’s super empowering.

What are three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are?

Ambition, kindness, balls. In my life, I think just about anything I’ve achieved can be traced back to one or all of these three things. I’ve found that it always pays to be assertive and take bold action when there’s something I want (one of my most beloved writing gigs stemmed from a gushing letter I wrote to the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine I adored). Also obvious, but hugely important: Always be kind to the people around you. Always. You never know who you’ll meet and who may be in a position to look out for you later on, whether it’s your supervisors, colleagues, assistants/interns—everyone. People will remember that good energy and want to help you succeed. Not quite the case when you’re best known for ice-grilling people in the hallway.

Where would you like to be in five years?

It’s hard to say—I almost never have a definitive response anytime I’m asked this question, but I’m really looking forward to riding out the path that I’m on and finding out! In an ideal situation, I’ll have written one book by then.

Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

A Girl Boss confidently lets her passion and instincts guide her, even if the odds aren’t in her favor. When her vision finally comes to be, it wows and inspires that many others to go out and take a risk.

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Describe your style/fashion sense:

Sandlot-fabulous. I’ve got tomboy roots that I think have resulted in my affinity for balancing pretty pieces with some grit, and vice versa.

Fav clothing item/accessory right now?

It’s a shame, there are way cooler pieces of mine that I can think of straight away, but the answer to that will probably always be my ratty old Converse. I’ve had them for longer than anyone should, yet I just can’t bring myself to toss them. I came of age in those sneaks, and I realize how valuable they are to me every time I think about replacing them. I think I’d toss them over a streetlamp before throwing them in the trash. At least it’d feel like a more respectful way for them to go out.

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

Eye liner. It’s not even a contest.

Go-to nail color?

Neutral.

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Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

I actually just swiped 1Q84 back from my boo because he was taking too long to start it. It’s one of the most, for lack of a better word, savory things I’ve read in recent memory. I went to town—almost every page has dozens of underlined passages. I didn’t want to let my eyes drift to the lower right of the pages because I wanted to enjoy every second. It was just a beautiful book and a reminder of what a powerful, next-level experience great writing can be. It made me want to start getting back into fiction writing.

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice? 

Amanda Bynes movies. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m secretly obsessed with “She’s the Man,” and have probably seen it more times than I can count.

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss? (i.e. Bang Bang, Girl on Fire, Flawless, etc.)

I tried and it’s just impossible to not default to Beyonce—she’s the queen of HBIC anthems. Other go-tos: Jamiroquai’s “Cosmic Girl,” anything Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu or Janelle Monae. And on a more random note, I go through waves of blasting Tia Carrere’s cover of “Ballroom Blitz” from Wayne’s World.

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

There’s a quote from Six Feet Under that stayed with me after the show. It wasn’t even from one of the bigger moments, but it definitely made a lasting impression and informed a number of choices I made in the wake of it. “Would you change anything about your life? Who you’re with? What you do? The kind of person you are? Because, if so, you need to do it right now—this is all you have.”

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

Ha! My response to that actually comes from Ward Sutton, this amazing illustrator that I posed the same question to a few years ago. I haven’t forgotten it: “I asked a very successful artist in my field when he hit that point that he knew he’d “made it,” and that he could relax and feel secure. He told me, you never do. That never happens in the creative field – no one gets to coast. You always have to push yourself, stay hungry, and work hard. If you don’t want to live that way, choose another profession.”

Advice to future Girl Bosses:

Never settle.

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Follow Lauren’s Girl Boss journey on Instagram

Do YOU know a Girl Boss? Nominate her in the comments! And, HEY — if you share this article, be sure to use #ImAGirlBoss!

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2 thoughts on “#ImAGirlBoss: Lauren Otis

  1. Pingback: #ImAGirlBoss: Margot Stephenson |

  2. Pingback: #ImAGirlBoss: Marisa Dargahi |

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