Love Is Blind's Lauren: 'If We Made It Through 2020, We Can Make It Another 100 Years'

The reality TV favourite chats about being locked down with husband Cameron and the pressures of being in the public eye in our new interview series, 2020: The Year That Wasn’t.

It might feel like a lifetime ago, but it was actually only earlier this year that Netflix’s unique series Love Is Blind gripped reality TV fans all over the world.

The show’s unique – and, in hindsight, weirdly prescient – premise saw single contestants living in isolated pods, communicating with prospective love interests without actually being able to touch or even see them. They only actually came face-to-face with one another after they got engaged, and cameras then followed them all the way down the aisle on each of their big days.

The show definitely had potential for toe-curling viewing (and it certainly had its moments!), but it also introduced us to the living embodiment of #CoupleGoals in the form of Lauren and Cameron, who viewers quickly took into their hearts.

Cameron proposing to Lauren during their first face-to-face meeting
Cameron proposing to Lauren during their first face-to-face meeting

Unfortunately, shortly after the series reached its grand finale, the coronavirus pandemic changed everything, and the victory lap that would usually follow a water-cooler show like Love Is Blind had to be put on hold for the couple, who had actually been married for around 18 months by the time the world saw their wedding.

For HuffPost UK’s new interview series 2020: The Year That Wasn’t, we spoke to Lauren Speed-Hamilton about heading back into isolation nearly two years after filming in the pods, and the pressures of being new in the public eye at a time of civil unrest…

Thinking back to January, how did you feel looking ahead to 2020?

At the start of the year I was pretty optimistic and nervous at the same time, because the show was about to come out, and I didn’t know what to expect.

And then, right before the show dropped, that’s when Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident. After that happened, it was just like, ‘this year is off to such a crazy start’. His death actually impacted the show, which I don’t think a lot of people know, because nobody was trying to promote a new show in the US after Kobe’s death. So January was a whole bag of mixed emotions.

Cam and I had been married for a year and a half leading up to the show, so I was just wishing for the best. I knew I’d been true to myself the whole time, but when it comes to television and stuff, you never really know how you’re going to be portrayed or edited. And it’s so precious because it’s our lives and our love story, and we just wanted it to be right. So leading up to that – I was very scared! I was very nervous, and just trying to keep calm and not have nervous breakdowns and anxiety attacks.

Lauren during the early days of Love Is Blind
Lauren during the early days of Love Is Blind

The portrayal of us in the show was actually pretty on it, I have to admit. Although I will say that I do think the show zhuzhed up the interracial aspects of our relationship. Like, we didn’t talk about being interracial as often as the show portrayed – but every time we mentioned it, you’d better believe it made the cut.

It is something we talked about, but it wasn’t like, ‘hey, we’re at dinner, y’know, I’m Black?’. But overall, I think the show really captured mine and Cameron’s personalities and who we are. So we were happy.

How much did lockdown affect what you already had planned for the year?

At first, it was an adjustment like, ‘man, I pictured this year being so different’. 2020 just took everybody’s plans and was like ‘nope, this is how we’re gonna do it’. But at the same time, being able to roll with everything that the universe handed us this year and still make the most of it is a blessing.

So many people had such a difficult year that I just felt blessed to be able to continue working and doing things, I just have a total feeling of gratefulness and I’m so humbled. That’s really my takeaway.

We were just like everybody else, we turned to TikTok, making dances and stuff, but it really worked for us. And it really gave us a chance to connect with people who became supporters from the show. They got to see the continuation of our lives – once again, in this kind of pod-like situation, which is so crazy, because that’s how everybody met us, and that’s how it continued once the show came out due to quarantine and everything. The timing is really insane.

Lauren and Cameron with their fellow Love Is Blind stars during the show's reunion special.
Lauren and Cameron with their fellow Love Is Blind stars during the show's reunion special.

How did you make it work in 2020, and what are you most proud of?

I think I was really just proud of the fact that I was able to be completely myself, have this platform and be able to talk to and engage with so many different people from around the world, and help people to see light in such dark times. And just the fact that our love story really touched so many people, to me, I think that’s wonderful, because I was just being myself. I don’t know if that’s something to be proud of, but it makes me feel good.

And also, outside of the show, here in the US with the whole Black Lives Matter movement... being a Black woman and being able to have my platform and use it and share information and share how I’m feeling in the moment – because there are so many people that are really tuned into my life at the moment – I just feel blessed that I was able to be a voice during those times for so many people.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge or the lowest point of the year?

We were just talking about the whole Black Lives Matter movement… and that was definitely hard. It was hard for me to experience as a Black woman... and in the same token that I said I was happy I could be voice, it was hard to adjust to all of that attention and the platform during a time like this. I really had to take a moment to myself and make sure my mental health was OK.

When everything was happening, it felt like everyone was looking to me, like, ‘Lauren what do we do? Say something! Tell us how to feel’, and it’s like, ‘girl, I’m trying to understand how I feel – I’m trying not to wake up and just cry some days’, you know? That was really challenging. I really had to take time for myself to process what was going on before I could speak publicly about everything.

And even in our household, there were times when Cam and I really had to have some difficult conversations, just being an interracial couple, about how I’m feeling and how he’s feeling and how we’re feeling together. Even though it’s a time for growth, we all know that growth can come with growth pains, and that was a hard time mentally, for me.

Lauren and Cameron's wedding day was a high-point of the Love Is Blind finale
Lauren and Cameron's wedding day was a high-point of the Love Is Blind finale

What’s the one thing that got you through lockdown?

Snacks! I love snacks. Which is probably not the best all the time, but it kept me sane, for sure. Me and Cameron actually did a whole Star Wars binge, and I’d never seen those movies before. And you know what, I’m a fan now. I’m so late to the party, but I love it. Cam made me a fan, for sure.

What’s been the biggest lesson that you’re taking away from 2020?

I learned a lot about myself. That I’m strong, and that I’m determined. And that family is everything. This year really made me realise the value of family, and love, and just knowing my own strength within myself – even though challenges come, I’m one to fight and work hard, regardless.

Lauren says she's feeling optimistic as she looks ahead to 2021
Lauren says she's feeling optimistic as she looks ahead to 2021

How do you feel now looking ahead to 2021?

I feel optimistic, actually. I feel happy, I feel excited. There are so many awesome things that we have planned for 2021, so I’m really excited to get in there and continue living life and growing and sharing everything that the world has to offer.

2020 was like the ultimate test. Even though we were already married for like a year and a half, this year, everything that we went through, being stuck inside – I shouldn’t say stuck, because we have to be inside – but working together and living together, everything together, it’s definitely a challenge. So if we can get through that, and the [Love Is Blind] pods, we’re OK, we can make it another 100 years probably.

Love Is Blind is available to watch on Netflix in full now. Lauren and Cameron can also be seen in the new special The Netflix Afterparty: The Best Shows Of The Worst Year, streaming now.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


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