An Interview with a Dignified Woman
Photography by John Ryan Flaherty & Michael Church
Lauren is a 21-year-old singer/song-writer hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina . She took some time to talk with the Dignified Devil about music, men, sex and her life when not involved with those three. This is what we got from our conversation. Enjoy, gentlemen…
Let’s start with a term most men dread: “relationship.” They seem to become rarer and rarer these days. People are embracing the single lifestyle, do you have a theory as to why?
Lauren Jenkins: Well, I agree with you. For one thing, I think being single is easier. You can spend time with lots of different people and experiment more, you don’t have to be accountable and you can have fun without commitment. But for me personally, I’m kind of an old soul. I want to be able to trust and share everything with one person. Women seem to be more and more accepting of the single lifestyle and just having fun. It’s not all about getting married and having kids by 25 anymore.
So as an admitted old soul, how do you see yourself as a woman? What defines you mentally and physically?
LJ: (laughs) Well there’s no short and sweet answer to that. I’ve learned a lot and experienced a lot in the past 21 years. All of that experience has shaped me. I’m determined, competitive, artistic, emotional, and I’m always trying to self improve; mentally, physically, spiritually. I’m always hungry for more and I’m also a bit of a wanderer.
Our readers will say that 21 is young, and you don’t know what you don’t know, do you think people live more of life before 21 than they did in the past?
LJ: 21 is young, but then again I’ve traveled a lot of miles on my journey thus far, so I know a thing or two. Now days I think people are learning and experiencing things at a much younger age than they did in the past. Technology is one of the biggest factors in that. Now as a society there are a lot more doors that can be opened and the accessibility is available to anyone. I mean, I have a younger sister that (thanks to Facebook) has guys hitting on her that are 10 years older! Those kind of things are going to start to shape you and “peel back the curtain” of life, so to speak.
Do you think that’s a good thing?
LJ: Yes and no. There’s a lot of good that can come from knowledge and experience, but you’ve got to learn how to protect yourself from the bad… Like stalkers and losing your self confidence.
Let’s talk about women and social networks. Give our readers 3 tips on how to approach women on a social network.
LJ: (laughs) Well, it’s important to keep in mind that if you think she is worth reaching out to, you’re probably not the first to think so… 1. Don’t go for the obvious. If the only thing you say is “hey you are hot,” we don’t know how to respond to that. 2. Don’t be creepy. Make sure your photo isn’t of a sunset or a picture of yourself shirtless in the mirror. 3. Just be friendly. Try to find common ground and let it develop over time.
I can’t tell you how many times I get messages from guys that say the same basic thing….And let me tell you, it doesn’t really warrant a response.
What in your opinion is the hardest thing about being a woman in the modern age?
LJ: There’s a lot of pressure with being a woman. The roles have changed so much. We are no longer simply “housewives” (though there is nothing wrong with that). Now we are keeping up with the boys when it comes to fitness, success, and trying to look like Victoria Secret models. I think that’s the biggest place where women get it wrong. Looking and feeling great is good, but if that’s your one and only focus you aren’t really living.
And What about man? Let’s talk about him… How is he doing… Better or worse than 5 years ago?
LJ: Eh… it’s hard to say. I think men still have a ways to go. I think the biggest areas men need to focus on is personal style and having emotional/intellectual relationships with women. It would be nice if men would pay a little more attention to DD’s style section or pick up GQ every now and then (smiles).
Well, here is your big chance. Do you have any personal advice for men in the areas of sex, style, and how to relate better to women?
LJ: Well in terms of style, being well-groomed is a good start. A pair of great fitting jeans and white v-neck t-shirt is sexy and can make us weak in the knees.
Sex and relating to women… They kind of go hand in hand in my opinion. Often times the way to get a woman is capturing her heart and her ego. If she feels like you are giving her attention and engaging with her on what’s important to her, you will have her in the palm of your hand. So ask questions and listen.
I’ll never forget this one time a girlfriend and I were at a bar and this guy came up to her and engaged in a great conversation. He didn’t offer to buy her a drink, but he pretty much had her as soon as he got her talking about her life. She wasn’t on guard because he wasn’t treating her like a piece of meat. Hook. Line. Sinker.
So let’s talk sex. What do you think men get wrong about women from a sexual standpoint?
LJ: Well I think that it’s really not that hard to find a woman who’s ready to go home with you. From what I’ve witnessed, guys rarely go home alone because there’s an increasing percentage of women who just want to “have fun” with no strings attached. However, I’ve also noticed that the men who seem the most satisfied are the ones that have had to work for what they have. A lot of guys aren’t willing to put in the work.
I don’t know if that answers the question…
LJ: Sure it does! Short and sweet– a lot of us want a good time just as much as all the guys. So don’t be afraid, it’s not all about rings and babies anymore!
What about the other side of the coin, what do you think women get wrong about men from a sexual standpoint?
LJ: That’s a good question, and maybe I should be asking you that! All women understand that men are very visual creatures, but I think some of the most captivating women are those that don’t lay it all out there from the get go. I think women shouldn’t be so eager. Men like a challenge and I think they generally like women who aren’t seen around town with several different men. As much as women don’t want to admit it, I think the double standard of “guys can sleep around and women can’t” still exists.
What about you. Is there something that would surprise the average guy about you sexually?
LJ: I think sometimes people see some of my photos and assume that I am promiscuous, but I can assure I am not. It may be the old soul in me, but I have this need to protect myself physically and emotionally. Maybe that’s why I love modeling so much. It’s my way to express without so much risk.
Do you think men and women see you differently, when looking at you as a model?
LJ: Yes. I think often times men see it on a very surface level of “hot or not” while women can be very critical. And then there are the artists who can see a photograph as art and a form of expression. I once did a campaign for body wash and I was topless, everything was covered and implied of course, but I got so much grief from a female family member and my character was attacked. However I still had the same character before and after the shoot. I think that can be hard for women to understand.
That brings up how women are portrayed in the media… where do you stand on that? Do you feel women are being taken advantage of? Objectified?
LJ: Yes, but no. I think women objectify themselves. We put so much emphasis on looking great and looking sexy instead of being great and being sexy. I mean what good is it if you’ve got an amazing body but that’s it? Where’s the substance? Being a heroine to me is much more sexy than a being just a sex goddess. That’s what I’m after.
I wanna talk about music. how did you get into the music business?
LJ: It was one of those “one step leads to another” type things. I started playing and writing when I was about 15. Then I started playing at gigs, moved to Memphis, got vocal training in NYC and so on and so forth. Now I’m finishing up my own EP in Nashville!
Where did your love of music come from?
LJ: My dad, for sure. I was his concert buddy from the time I was 8 and the music was never too loud for me! (laughs)
If your life was an album, any album, what would it be and why?
LJ: Oh that’s a good question! Bravo! Anything by Brittney Spears… Kidding. Off the top of my head it would have to be Mescalito by Ryan Bingham (who is very dignified, indeed). Because I’m at this point of my life where I am getting back to what’s important and simple in life, I’m a wanderer and I’m working hard for what I want.
What about a sex playlist… you seem like the person to ask…
OK, we could talk to you all day, but all good things have to come to an end. We like to end these conversations with a dirty joke from a beautiful woman. Do you have one?
LJ: (laughs) I read the DD you know, and I was afraid you were going to ask that! Okay– What do men and cars have in common?… They both know how to misfire! I know that’s so corny but it makes me laugh every time!
And as a bonus you lucky bastards here is a new video by Lauren for her new song MAPS. Music & Lyrics by Lauren Jenkins Produced by Trey Bruce.
+++You can get more information on Lauren Jenkins by following her on Facebook, her Myspace page and on Twitter.