Lauren Potter grew up with one large dream: to develop into a profitable actress in Hollywood. As a baby with Down syndrome, she confronted a whole lot of challenges on her solution to the highest, primarily folks telling her she would not make it. Her response? To only maintain going. “I only listened to the people who told me I could,” she advised POPSUGAR after we not too long ago chatted together with her about Incapacity Employment Consciousness Month, which is that this October. “Don’t ever give up your dreams, no matter how hard it is or how impossible it seems.”
And Lauren was nice at taking her personal recommendation. In 2009, she landed the function of a lifetime when she was forged as cheerleader Becky Jackson on the hit present Glee, which she continued to star in till the sequence resulted in 2015. Since then, the 28-year-old has additionally visitor starred on reveals like Veep and Switched at Delivery, along with touring the nation and giving motivational speeches at conferences throughout the US.
Whereas she’s trying to find her subsequent large function proper now, she continues to do her half to boost consciousness for folks with disabilities – or “differently-abled” folks – not solely in Hollywood, however in each workforce. “Everyone I know with DS works hard and gives 100 percent of themselves,” she advised POPSUGAR. “We’re all more alike than different!” To see what else she needed to say about her spectacular profession path, her all-time favourite costar, and the perfect profession recommendation she’s ever gotten (trace: it got here from Glee‘s Hyperlinks”>Jane Lynch!), maintain studying.
POPSUGAR: Rising up, how did you deal with folks telling you that you just would not be capable of have the dream profession you needed?
Lauren Potter: I did have folks that advised me that I could not do sure issues, so, as I all the time say, I solely listened to those that advised me I might. My mother and father advised me I might do something so long as I attempted exhausting. My mother did inform me that appearing can be exhausting, but in addition that I might do it!
PS: Did you all the time know you needed to be an actress? How did you go about making your goals come true?
LP: Sure, completely. I carried out all of the Disney motion pictures for my household and mates, and I additionally knew all of the Disney songs and dances. I do not sing properly, however I like to sing lots! I simply knew I needed to behave. I began dance courses once I was three and simply beloved performing. I knew then that appearing was the profession for me.
PS: What’s one impediment you have overcome in your profession that you just’re actually pleased with?
LP: I am actually proud that I’ve Down syndrome and have been capable of develop as an actor and present the world that Down syndrome does not cease me, and that I feel I’ve develop into a very good actor. And I feel I’ve some half in opening the doorways for different actors with disabilities.
PS: What’s one thing you continue to wrestle with?
LP: I generally wrestle to beat life’s challenges to develop into who I need to be. I simply need to be accepted for who I’m, and to be like everybody else. I need folks to know who I actually am and who I’ll actually be. I am working exhausting on turning into the perfect I could be. Proper now, I wrestle with getting again to work and having somebody acknowledge what I’ve completed and giving me one other probability in an awesome function.
PS: Was there ever a second you thought you could not do it? In that case, how did you push by that?
LP: I suppose so, however I’ve lots of people round me who inform me to get off my butt and take a look at tougher. I feel I used to really feel that approach once I was youthful, however I’ve grown up lots and have discovered to push by. I generally get discouraged when I’ve an audition and I do not get the half, however I do know I simply must maintain making an attempt!
PS: What recommendation do you have got for another person with a incapacity who desires to have a profession and observe their goals?
LP: Effectively, do not ever hand over your goals, irrespective of how exhausting it’s or how unattainable it appears! I need all folks with or with out disabilities to observe their hearts, observe their paths, and by no means hand over their goals. I hope I’m proof that it will probably occur!
PS: What recommendation would you give to your youthful self who was simply beginning out in her profession?
LP: I might inform myself to not be afraid or scared or nervous round others, and to all the time be my best self. I feel I used to be slightly tough once I was youthful, and I would not be like that once more.
PS: What would you like employers to find out about folks with Down syndrome making use of for jobs?
LP: Employers ought to know that they won’t go fallacious hiring an individual with Down syndrome. Not solely will they be serving to somebody attain their aim of working, however they and different staff will study a lot about acceptance and love. Everybody I do know with DS works exhausting and offers 100 p.c of themselves. We’re all extra alike than completely different!
PS: What are some misconceptions about folks with disabilities in any sort of workforce?
LP: I do not actually know, however I suppose perhaps they assume we will not do the job, or that it’ll take an excessive amount of time to assist us study, however that simply is not true. After I was on Glee, I all the time knew my traces and everybody else’s, too! I by no means held up filming as a result of I wasn’t prepared. I labored very exhausting and was all the time on time.
PS: What’s your favourite half about your job?
LP: I like being a part of a forged and crew on set. I like appearing, and even studying my traces. And naturally, craft service is not too dangerous both!
PS: What’s your dream appearing function?
LP: I like any sorts of appearing roles. I am actually good at comedy, however I might additionally actually love to do a dramatic function, however actually I like every part. My dream function can be one which wasn’t only for somebody with Down syndrome, however a very good, sturdy function for a younger lady who’s only a good actor.
PS: What’s the perfect profession recommendation you have ever gotten?
LP: Jane Lynch who performed Sue Sylvester on Glee as soon as advised me within the very starting of filming once I was nonetheless scared: “I know you’re new to this, but everything is OK. I’ll be here if you want me to help you go over your lines, or just be your friend. You will be awesome.” She was all the time there for me and helped me develop as an actor.
PS: You’ve got had some actually superior roles in your profession to this point! What’s been your favourite and why?
LP: After all, I must say Becky on Glee. That was so enjoyable and within the six years I used to be on the present, they let me do some actually enjoyable issues. There have been some scary and dramatic issues, too, like when Becky introduced a gun to highschool. But in addition some actually enjoyable ones, like “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” episode, being Hyperlinks”>Woman Gaga and Max the canine from Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, the key service for Sue, and naturally, Hyperlinks”>Helen Mirren doing my voice over (are you kidding me!!!). It was a lot enjoyable, and I beloved the forged and crew and Ryan, Ian, Brad, and Dante. I did not need it to ever finish!
PS: Who’s your favourite actor/actress you have ever labored with? Why?
LP: I like, love, love Jane Lynch. She’s so superior and was all the time there for me. One in every of my favourite actors is John Stamos as a result of he is so cute and sizzling and I LOVED him on Full Home and Fuller Home. Once we labored collectively on Glee, they referred to as me “Mrs. Stamos” on set as a result of I had an enormous crush on him, which was so humorous.
PS: What’s your recommendation for the way administrators/producers/casting administrators could make the leisure trade extra various and inclusive?
LP: I all the time say, assume exterior of the field (my mother taught me that) and provides us an opportunity. You’ll not be upset. I need to be seen as an actress first, then as a very good actress who occurs to have Down syndrome. However simply because you have got DS or another completely different capability, that does not make you a very good actor, you need to work exhausting and show you are able to do it. I simply need to be seen as the perfect actor for the function as a result of I’ve proven I’ve what it takes.
PS: Have you ever seen any adjustments through the years in how inclusive the leisure trade has develop into for folks with disabilities?
LP: That is a tough query for me, however I feel reveals like Glee have made a distinction. I nonetheless assume we have to have extra probabilities, although, and there’s nonetheless a whole lot of work to do.
PS: What do you’re feeling is a standard false impression folks might have about folks with disabilities? What do you need to say to folks with these misconceptions?
LP: I feel folks assume that we’re completely different with completely different emotions, however we’re WAY extra alike than completely different. I need what everybody desires: to be accepted for me, to have mates, to like somebody, and have somebody love me, to dwell independently, to work at my profession, to have household and mates round me, and to get pleasure from dwelling my life.
PS: Who’re your greatest function fashions? Why?
LP: My greatest function mannequin is my mother as a result of she’s my primary fan. She’s been an superior and superb mother, and he or she’s my true pal and my true inspiration.
PS: What initiatives are you engaged on now?
LP: I’ve had a few auditions, which sadly I did not get the roles, however proper now I am ready for extra work. I am nonetheless talking across the nation to inform my story and combat in opposition to bullying. I am ready for that subsequent nice function, and I hope it is coming quickly, as a result of I am SO prepared!