She’s a former WWE Diva who helped create a RAW Fan Script. She’s also a sweetheart who’s conquering everything from movies to fashion. So what makes Lauren Jones tick? Click below to find out…
An Interview with Lauren Jones. Conducted by Todd Matthy
Why did you start modeling?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated with performing arts and theatre. I went to a performing arts oriented school that encouraged its students to be good students but also to participate in extracurricular activities and I was always encouraged to pursue drama. When I was 16 I moved from my hometown in Mississippi to Long Island, New York and continued to pursue entertainment. I had always had ambitions for Broadway and 42nd Street kind of things. I ended up winning a national modeling contest for Seventeen Magazine when I was sixteen. That really catapulted and launched my career as a professional because I got to taste TV at its finest by being part of a televised production on Regis and Kathy Lee. That was kind of the beginning of my career as a full-fledged professional model earning an income doing something that I love to do and I started in New York then moved to California.
How did you get into beauty pageants and what’s the scene like?
I was felt they were a great way for a young woman to respect herself as a role model. I thought that if you won a title you could help your state, help an organization, I always thought if you could use your title to better a cause you should go for it.
What causes do you support?
I’ve done a lot of Breast Cancer Awareness recently and when I won “Miss New York: United Nations” it was for United Nations. It was a really cool platform and really great way to support the state. Recently, I’ve been working for “Green Earth” which redistributes food to the homeless shelters based out of Jackson, Mississippi, so I might be doing another pageant this year, I’m not sure yet.
How did you become New York’s “Bikini Babe”?
This was a crazy title. I don’t even know how I got that. It was one of those things that went over the internet and they would fly me from New York to Nashville to do bikini modeling and go on the CMT Awards with Jeff Foxworthy as his “prized possession” bikini model and after that they would say “call Lauren Jones she’s NY’s most requested bikini model” then the whole nation did the same thing.
How did the WWE discover you?
I was modeling in New York City and I booked the cover shoot for the Smackdown Magazine. I remember shooting it on my birthday. A couple of girls and I were put up on the shoulders of the Big Show as a tribute to Andre the Giant. I was just a model at first, and while I was on the shoot they took my card and asked if I would come in and meet with Johnny Ace (John Laurenitis) the head of talent. I said “sure”, met with him and he said, “I want to give you a skit to see how you do,” I said, “Okay, what do I have to do? And he said, “You’ll just go to Nashville.” So I ended up flying to Nashville and they put me in the ring, I practiced with most of the other Divas and some of the guys (they were teaching me) all day then that night was the actual performance and became a WWE Diva, starting out as a rookie Diva, and did a lot of modeling, and a lot of skits, and I wrestled a lot during practice but I never wrestled on the show, I just did the skits on the show. I was still learning the craft and not ready to become a full-fledged wrestler.
Were you a fan as a kid?
Yeah, I love all the different personalities. I think it makes watching TV a lot more interesting. I like to watch everybody’s craft to see what they have to offer.
Why did you leave?
I had realized that I at some point I would wind up either forced to do Playboy and continuing wrestling and I didn’t see that as something I wanted to do at the time. I really wanted to move into movies and film production. So, I decided to pursue some other opportunities that came along. I was asked to be a Barker’s Beauty on “The Price is Right” and I decided to take opportunities that were more suited to me at the time. I never said I would close the door to the WWE, we decided it would an open door and if I wanted to come back great, if not no problem. We left on amicable terms and I just decided to pursue some other opportunities in Hollywood.
Do you still follow the product?
I do. I always watch the show and whenever there’s a live event I always make sure to attend it. I keep in touch with a lot of people, I keep in touch with the Orton’s, and they’re really great people.
I’m sure you’ve heard that RAW is currently having celebrity guest hosts, have they contacted you about hosting and would you do it?
I have not been approached to date but I would not turn it down it would be a great opportunity. I love the family at WWE and if Vince had asked me to something like that I would absolutely come back. But, I think a lot of that has to do with the fans. If the fans wanted me back, I’m back. The fans are what create careers. If the fans support me, I’m there. I will do whatever they want me to do.
How did the “Baywatch Beach Body Workout” video come about?
In Hollywood, when you’re first starting out and as you become a little more established you’re called and they say “Hey Lauren, are you interested in reading for this part?” and I said “oh I love it. It sounds great and lots of fun. Plus it’ll get me in shape.” So I went and read in front of the casting director and I ended up booking it. It was supposed to be a shared role between me and another girl. I’m not sure what happened to the other girl, but they ending up promoting me and they said “is it okay if we change it from ‘Baywatch: Beach Body Workout’ to ‘Baywatch Beach Body Workout with Lauren Jones’?” and I said, “Oh my gosh! Of course, I’m flattered!” I was flattered and honest with them and yes it was more work for me after I booked the role and became the lead instructor for the DVD series. It ended up being very successful. We were selling out in Wal-Mart. We had tons of postcards that were all over New York and LA, they ran some articles in Men’s Health, and it just became explosive. After that we did a bunch of PR, I did some news segments on all the different morning shows which was a lot of fun and it became an on-demand series on Exercise TV. So, there is a “Baywatch Beach Party Workout with Lauren Jones” which is one show On-Demand now and there’s another one called “Baywatch Abs with Lauren Jones” It’s been really successful and I’m glad to have been a part of it. That continued success has really been awesome for me and I’m real excited. I love it!
How did “Anchorwoman” come about?
I’d been in Hollywood and I got a call from my manager who said, “an opportunity has come through the door and I think this is perfect for you. You love hosting, you’ve always wanted to do the news and this maybe your opportunity.” And I said I’m going to take a chance.
I went through the ranks over at Fox broadcasting. And I went through months and months of interviews, trying to see if I was right for the job. Finally I got the phone call where they said, “Yup, you’re going to be our Anchorwoman” and I said all right lets do it. So, I flew down to Tyler, Texas, moved into the penthouse of the Austin Bank Building downtown, and filmed the show; it was part reality, part true-life events. It was a lot like “The Hills” that’s how I like to explain it.
It was a pretty great experience. I had a blast. I wish it didn’t cancelled as soon as it did. It had a lot of great comedic undertones and was a lot of fun. I would never take that experience back for anything in the world because it created a whirlwind of controversy, which was fun. To go out there and be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly, that was a great experience. I loved the media frenzy, I welcomed it.
There are a lot of dramas that go on behind the scenes in a real life newsroom and that’s what we were trying to show and show that comedic undertones in regards to that. I hope one day it will come out on DVD, I’ve heard rumors that might happen, and I’d love to see that happen so we can share the stories because it was a lot of fun.
Can you give us a rough idea of how the episodes were produced? We’re you an actual anchorwoman anchoring the six o’clock news?
I was on the five o’clock news with Lauren Jones and Annalisa Petrallia. She was a real life, credited, journalist that went to journalism school and became a journalist by climbing the ranks and going through that very rigorous process. I was just this model, in her perspective, whom gained all her fame through her body and was just going to come in and be an anchor overnight and it shocked her. It was very hard for her to accept. That was where the controversy stemmed from. It’s a very difficult job. You have to be credited, you have to be credible, you have to be able to deliver hard news and then here comes this blonde, myself, whose going to take over the poignant role and no ones going to believe her. It was her take on the matter. There was a lot of friction between her, and me so when I ended up doing the news she had to take a backseat to me when she’s the one who had gone through all that education and I didn’t have the background. I was given the job over her and that was very controversial and caused a lot of tension in the newsroom. It was funny and there were a lot of funny things that happened because of it.
She would always be like, “Lauren, are you serious can you really do this?” and I would have the wind blowing in my hair, with a fan in the background, then she’d be going this is ridiculous.
One of those episodes that didn’t get aired, which was a lot of fun and I have pictures of on my Facebook and my MySpace, one of the scenes was with Wilton, who was a photographer at the station. I had said to him “I’m going to do a news segment with the wind blowing.” He said, “You mean live, you’re going to do the five o’clock news and a fan’s going to blow on your hair? Dan, the news director, will never go for that.” I said “I bet he will and I bet if I can do all my work on time I can prove that I can do this. It will be a subtle enhancement, no one will really notice it but it will make watching the news a little bit more glamorous.” And he said, “Lauren this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Nobody wants to watch the news with the wind blowing in the news anchors hair.” And I said, “I’m going to show you I can do this and it is going to be hysterical, and I’m going to win this bet. He said, “Lauren, if Dan actually allows you to do that, I will wash your car in a Speedo.” And I said, “You’re on” and did everything I could to convince Dan this would enhance the news segment and to everybody’s disbelief I had a little fan blowing during a segment and because of that he had to wash my car, in a Speedo, and he did it with a cowboy hat on. It was hilarious. That episode never aired but I’ve got pictures of it on MySpace and Facebook.
Do you have an interest in journalism?
Yes. I’m from Mississippi and of course we all know Oprah Winfrey’s one of most successful women to come out of Mississippi. Strong, independent, successful, and a role model, I’ve always looked up to her for those attributes, Katie Couric as well, and I always thought ‘wow that would be a really great job’ and to have an opportunity come my way I said ‘yeah I’m going to take this. I can’t turn this down.’ I’ve always had an interest and that’s why when the opportunity came I took it.
Do you think your background in WWE was a factor to the negative press and ultimately the show being cancelled?
No, I don’t. I think the reason we got cancelled was not because of the audience but because of things that happened internally. I think the person that had approved the concept had been moved to a different position. A new person came in at the last minute and I don’t think approved the funding for the advertising. We had no advertising. We had no billboards. We had no magazine exposure. We had no viewership. We had 2.7 million viewers according to the Nielson Ratings and that was with no advertising. Had we had advertising I’m convinced we would’ve stayed on the air and had another season.
Do you have any other projects coming out?
I will always have acting projects coming out because I love the creative side of it and I’m passionate about it. Shifting focus, I am working on an underground project. I am doing a Lauren Jones branded shoe. You’re the first person I’ve told about this. It’s going to be a contemporary women’s shoe line and it’s going to be sold internationally. It’s been in development for about two weeks. I’m doing this because I love shoes, I love fashion and it’s a really cool way to be more involved in the industry. I can’t wait for all the fashion shows.
Can you tell me about your radio show, “The Radio Shopping Network”?
I am from Mississippi originally and I was asked to host. I thought it would be a great way to test the waters in radio. It was kind of an exploration of radio. I’ve been on the radio before, as a guest on KISS-FM in L.A. with Ryan Seacrest. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s more of a part-time thing and it allows me to be closer to home. I’m a family person. It’s a great way for me to keep many irons in the fire.
Any chance you’ll be posing for Playboy in the near future?
I started out really young and I wasn’t comfortable then. I saw a very lengthy career and a lot of opportunities by not posing for Playboy. I didn’t want that limitation. Now, I’ve broadened my horizons and I see it not as a limitation but a launching pad. I’m not going to say I’ll turn it down, I don’t know, but I’ve not been given the offer I would like. So, we’ll see. It might be yes. I do have Oprah Magazine and Maxim coming out this month.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I’m a huge country music fan. I love everything from Avril Lavigne to Mickey Avalon. I actually recorded a demo but I keep that on the D.L.L. I don’t play it for very many people.
What’s your idea of a good night out and a bad night out?
You’re going to think I’m lame. My favorite idea of a good night out is a wonderful dinner with family or your significant other, and enjoying a really great meal, watching a movie, and going to bed. A bad night for me is going into a really crowded bar and having people spill drinks on me, and climb all over me. I’m not a party girl, but once in a blue moon I’ll go wild.
What are favorite places to go?
Turn ons and Turn offs?
Turn ons, friendly, optimistic, ambitious driven people. I love when people see the world and all the opportunities it has to offer. Turn offs; someone whose close minded, pessimistic, down on themselves and other people, wants to bring other people down is a total turn off. Things I like; I love chocolate, cats, I have three cats two dogs, I love animals, I love water, I love the view when you’re in Los Angeles and you go over to Santa Monica and you can see the water. My dream is to build a giant castle over in Santa Monica.
Any parting words for your fans?
You can’t create a celebrity without your fans.
Visit Lauren’s personal site at Lauren Jones.net. The Lauren Jones Footwear Collection goes on sale February 10, 2010 but you can pre-order them at Lauren Jones Collection Online, Nordstrom, Endless, Zappos, and all Alfred Angelo and Belk stores.
Interview conducted by Todd Matthy