Lauren Lindberg is a busy woman. She’s in college, she’s making movies and she’s making history. As a teen finalist in the Seventeen Magazine “Pretty Amazing” contest, Lindberg, a Danville resident, was featured in the magazine last year. Now she is coming to speak at the Soroptimist International of the San Ramon Valley’s 8th annual She’s All That conference for middle school girls on Feb. 11.We checked in with Lindberg and found out a little more about her pretty amazing life.
ANNB: At 18, you already have a page on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) listing, a spot in Seventeen Magazine, and screenings of your films at 24 national and international film festivals. What is the key to your success?
LL: The key to success is finding something you are passionate about. For me, I have found my passion in documentary filmmaking, and in highlighting important social issues. The page on IMDb, spot in Seventeen and screenings at 24 film festivals are results of the many hours and hard work that I have put into my filmmaking. The happiness I feel when making movies is my biggest reward. I think all these factors have helped me make films that have resulted in all the recognition.
ANNB: Tell us about where you were and what you were doing when you learned you were selected as a finalist in Seventeen Magazine’s “Pretty Amazing” real girl cover contest. What did it mean to you?
LL: I applied for the contest on a whim. I was up late one night and saw an advertisement in Seventeen, and thought “why not? I could use a scholarship!” Several months later, in April, I received an email saying I was moving to the next round. I was shocked! But I still didn’t think I would be selected--- Seventeen had all the potential girls make numerous videos and answer interview after interview. I didn’t think I had a chance! Then, while on a bus during a class field trip, I got a call from Anne Shoket, the editor of Seventeen, who told me I was selected as one of the five finalists and I would be flown to New York. I was extremely excited, but even then, I did not realize the immense impact the trip would ultimately have on me.
ANNB: Tell us about the cover photo shoot, makeover and meeting the judges (I think it was the judges?) in New York. What was that like?
LL: From the beginning of the trip to the end, they treated all five of us like celebrities. We were met at the airport by limos, we got our hair done at an incredibly fancy salon, and our makeup was done everyday by professional makeup artists, who were used to doing makeup on the biggest stars. We also got to actually meet some celebrities: Anne Shoket, Jared Eng (of Just Jared) and Miranda Cosgrove, of iCarly. Because I had grown up reading Seventeen and Anne’s Editors letter in every issue, I had watched “iCarly” and “Drake and Josh”. Even so, meeting them actually surprised me. Anne Shoket was so poised and elegant, Miranda was just the sweetest girl. Jared was very relatable to me, because of the way that he started small and built his celebrity blog by doing what he loves, just like I’ve done.
ANNB: What do you hope to share at the “She’s All That” event to inspire young girls?
LL: Because I’m a part of Reach Out’s National Youth Council, my eyes have been opened to how many teens actually struggle with issues similar to what I went through a few years ago. I went through a difficult time when I suffered from depression. However, when I started making movies, I discovered that I could use filmmaking as a microphone to bring awareness to different issues, and help other people find their voices. I feel like I have a purpose. There are so many girls today that go through depression and think there is no hope. I want to let them know that there is always a way out, and that there is so much to live for. Because I was able to overcome my struggle with depression, I have realized how important it is to get my message out and so I stress the importance of finding and exploring your passion.
ANNB: Tell us about how you got started making films.
LL: I started making movies when I was around 9 years old. I would invite my friends over and we would make scripts, dress up, and act out silly stories. In 8th grade, I joined a video production class at my school and learned how to edit. I used this newfound knowledge to create a remake of Avril Lavigne’s music video ‘Girlfriend,’ which since then has hundreds of comments and has been viewed more than 55,000 times.
ANNB: You have so much going on right now, how do you juggle it all? What advice will you give on this topic at the She’s All That conference?
LL: I am still learning a lot about time management, and have pulled a few all-nighters since I’ve started college, however, what I’ve found is that staying ahead is key. At SAT, I will stress the importance of staying on top of things, and my advice for keeping a low stress level, and getting stuff done well and on time! The other thing that I have found is that whenever I do my absolute best at something, it turns out well. It’s when I rush through something, or don’t give something my best shot that things turn out just o.k. LL: You have shared your struggles with attention deficit disorder as well as depression.
ANNB: How did you break through that and what advice do you have for other teens/young women dealing with that?
LL: During sophomore year, I went through some drastic emotional changes. I withdrew from everyone and everything. Although I was miserable, I figured that it was just the way I was. My teachers began to notice this change and urged me to see a doctor. Once I discovered that I had ADD and depression, I no longer felt like I was trapped in that state, but that I could do something about it. I began working with my teachers, and they helped me think of ways that I could work around my ADD and be successful in their class. As I began to do better in school, my mood began to lift. I learned that I could take something I am passionate about, filmmaking, and use it to empower myself and others. I have learned about the importance of not giving up. I want to stress that if you ever feel hopeless, know that it is not permanent. There are people who understand and so many resources that can help you.
ANNB: You are studying filmmaking at Chapman University and hope to be a filmmaker. How is that going and what are you working on now?
LL: I have completed my first semester at Chapman and I love it. Because of the huge adjustment from high school, I used my first semester to get adapted to all of the changes and focus on my schoolwork, but next semester I will have the opportunity to really expand in the filmmaking area. I am taking my first hands-on filmmaking class and I am excited to figure out what I will do next!
ANNB: We understand that the The Factory, a youth program sponsored by the Bay Area Video Coalition in Oakland, was very helpful to you. Tell us about that?
LL: Because filmmaking is what ultimately pulled me out of my slump, I did not want to stop making films when the video production class at my school was canceled after my junior year. As soon as I joined The Factory, I became aware that it was a place where I could truly grow as a filmmaker. The Factory not only supplied me with equipment I needed, and insight from fellow filmmakers and instructors, but it also provided me with the opportunities that inspired me to focus on making films that empower change. The Factory helped me distribute my films to different film festivals, and even funded trips so that I could go see my films screen.
ANNB: What other message do you have for teens these days?
LL: Everyone has so much potential. Don’t be scared to reach for your goals, and pursue your dreams.
Also, we are very lucky that we live in today’s time period. So much of what we do is based upon using technology, and there probably has never been a better time to be a girl---any girl of any age can make a blog, publish a book, make a music video, put something on youtube, or start a charity. Every girl can pursue her dreams! Whatever it is that inspires you, go for it! --JYP
The She's All That conference is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat. Feb. 11 at San Ramon Valley High School, 510 Danville Blvd. in Danville. For more information, call 925-519-0754 or email
. Pre-registration is required and classes will be filled on a first-registered basis. After Lindberg's talk, girls will attend three workshops from a list that includes sessions on talking to boys, self defense, relating to parents, hip hop, cyber safety and personal style. Workshops for parents are also available. For more information, visit: http://www.soroptimist-sr.org/
Julie Youngblood Perales, a Soroptimist, has been recruiting top talent nationally for Fortune 500 companies for the last 10 years. She has been a senior recruiter for Toll Brothers Home Builders in San Ramon for the last 6 years and also enjoys individually coaching and advising people who are in a career transition and job search mode. Contact her through at