Camden Close-Up: Lauren Kaye
Love Camden loves its local talent. We aim to celebrate everything cultural in the borough, from Hampstead to Kilburn, from the British Library to that little café around the corner - we are always out to show what Camden has to offer. As part of this we launched our Camden Close-Up series: interviews with artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and downright interesting figures that live, work or are inspired by the borough.
This month we interviewed Lauren Kaye, a Poet, Filmmaker, Author, and new Playwright and Theatre Producer with the production of her debut play I'm All In LIVE which premiered at Camden Fringe Festival this summer at Camden People's Theatre.
1. What would you do if you weren’t doing this? What would your parallel life look like?
I wanted to be and do many things growing up, not that that’s changed much. But, it was my biggest dream to become a professional Dancer- and to be amazing. This would have been in ballet, jazz, tap, street dance and most definitely Latin ballroom. Dance lessons and stage school meant a lot to me as a child because I wanted dance in theatre, film, TV and music videos. Alternatively, and I felt this more since my first year of university, I would be fluent in either of the 3 languages that I have studied and have taken it up professionally by translating. Purely as a side hustle not as a main income, that would give me great joy as I love languages and always wished I’d taken it further. To be clear, I would’ve been a Translator on top of dancing as we all know most Dancers are broke. My other dream career would be a Chef, Pastry Chef with an internet series produced in my spare time and branded products sold worldwide.
In any life I would be full of ambition most likely doing something creative but in a parallel life, it would be doing something less stressful altogether.
2. What do you think is most important: luck, chance, opportunity or hard-graft?
Hard work is extremely important to me and valued by others. Everyone respects a hard-worker and respect from others is valuable. Even more so respect for yourself, when you know you have worked hard for something and achieved your goal as a result. There’s less ratings when success or a prize is just given to you without you having the drive, grind or desire for it. However, opportunity and chance (one of the same to me) is everything. Many people such as myself, have worked hard and got very few opportunities to reach that next level or chance to prove themselves where it counts. It often takes being given the right opportunity- and taking it, to really make things happen for you. Things happen when they happen and some people are unfortunately much luckier than others however, even in moments of doubt I know and have witnessed that hard work pays off.
3. What has been your most career defining moment to date and why?
I had to think about that one. Publishing I’m All In my debut poetry book, defined my career the most. I think more so because it was recent with it only being three years ago and I am still seeing positive effects of its cause. Becoming a ‘published Author’ put me in a completely different (higher) standing. Everyone who knows me personally and many people who have listened to my poetry, who infact have been the most encouraging of me to write a book, those people are not the least surprised as to them it was overdue. However, for anyone new that I meet, especially in the industry or from the press, they are far more intrigued and impressed after having known that I published a book. It has since opened many doors and brought various new opportunities that were unlikely beforehand. It also confirmed to me that I can still enjoy doing media outside of film. Film is where my heart, passion, ambition, joy, grief, time and money has been since I was 17yrs old.
Publishing was an interest of mine but not a burning desire. I didn’t expect it to come so soon or in relation to my poetry, as I would’ve bet on a novel but there you go. I love that I was able to focus on the creativity more so than the hustle and bustle unlike in film. The fact that it was self-published is also what made it career defining. Coming into the self-publishing world changed the whole shebang in a great way. It made me step up my game in graphic design since I had to design my own book cover and all the branded art work, I became better at executing a marketing campaign, grew my audience and made products that I am very proud of. It’s important to be proud of what you do, a renowned Chef taught me that. Truth be told, being proud of a product as opposed to just profiting off a product has a great effect on what business moves defines your career for you personally.
4. What are you most proud of and what are you least proud of……and why?
I’m least proud of times in the past that I did not say or do what I really wanted and allowed fear or doubt to dictate my choices for me.
On the other hand, what leaves me beaming with pride is most definitely my Custom Poetry Greeting Cards™. Founding these products and creating each and every one has been the most wonderful thing to come into my life for a while. They make me happy when I design them, hand-make them, write them and hand them over to my customers. Even more so, they make people happy! That’s the cream with my strawberry right there! It is one of the most profitable things I have done which I needed as a Sole Trader in creative industries, who knows what it feels like to be between jobs or spending months creating something such as a film, play, book or event while not generating an income. I have wanted to make greetings cards for many years, always did the odd little design for a family member as a child and as a young adult I knew I wanted to get into making professional cards for the public but could not get my foot in the door.
As usual, I ended up creating my own opportunity since none were coming my way and doors remained closed by gate-keeping corporates or what have you. So, I capitalised on my talents along with my growing reputation as a Poet and created my fabulous cards. Could not be more proud of myself! My products are on peoples shelves, recipients cry happy tears and post on social media or call me to say so, my family argues over who received a custom card from me and whose is better. I often get told that mine are better than Clintons and can rival other high street retailers. The feeling that I get from all of that, knowing that I wanted this for so long and done it all independently is invaluable.
5. Tell us a secret
I feed the homeless with my own home-cooked meals.
For over 20 years Writer, Poet and Filmmaker Lauren Kaye has written poetry, scripts and stories. In recent years Kaye has written and designed greeting cards, self-published a poetry book and has written her first produced stage play. Kaye's writing expands into the food industry and can be found on her food blog Deevah’s Cravings.
Born and raised in London, Lauren Kaye studied Culinary and moved onto Media and Production. Kaye has always developed her craft in creative industries to become a professional Filmmaker, Writer turned Author and Entrepreneur. Between the time Kaye continued to write and perform poetry at various showcases and special events including festivals, expos and launches. Having directed several short films and indie music videos, Kaye’s work has been featured in international film festivals including Cannes Film Festival.
In 2009 Kaye launched a poetry and live music showcase Poetic Justice under her events company Infiniti Promotions, which she hosted while promoting underground talent. Exclusively sold through her company, Kaye founded Custom Poetry Greeting Cards™ in 2014. In 2015 she published her first poetry collection I'm All In which is now being adapted into a play. The play I'm All In LIVE will be Lauren's directorial debut in theatre and will also be featured at Camden Fringe Festival this August.
Website: LK Knows Her Writes