Lauren Avery

Lauren Avery

With A Fairy-Tale Backstory, This L.A. Princess Is Moving From Online It-Girl To Full-On Drama Queen

With A Fairy-Tale Backstory, This L.A. Princess Is Moving From Online It-Girl To Full-On Drama Queen

Photography: Dario Catellani

Styling: Vittoria Cerciello

Just about everything is haunting about Lauren Avery: her cultivated distance, her gloomy stories, her post-human lips. As an apparition of modern, morbid chicness, the land heiress (one of her family’s ranches was formerly the greater part of Orange County), 23, is poised to become one of the most fascinating types of actor: one who naturally commands the spotlight, but quivers in it. When we meet at a brightly lit greasy spoon in downtown Beverly Hills for a very early dinner, the eighth-generation Angeleno is gripped with self-deprecating anxiety. “Maybe it’s because you’re the first person I’ve spoken to all day,” she offers. “Sometimes I’ll say just two sentences a day. It’s the saddest thing ever.”

Born in Brentwood in the proverbial lap of luxury, Avery’s adolescence is rather harrowing. “If anything, my life is way more Grey Gardens than glamour.” She’s quick to point out that she has an eighth grade education, growing up “on an all-girls Mormon farm and in mental institutions from 13 to 18, in Utah, Oregon, and Wisconsin...The farm was a little twisted and weird, you know, Mormon, very brainwashy. Come to Jesus group, feed the horses, that sort of thing. I wasn’t a bad kid to begin with, but it made me a bad kid.” The latkes we’ve ordered arrive. “By the time I was 18, I was in a 6-by-6-foot cement cell in a lockdown facility.”

After returning to L.A., Avery found outlets in mumblecore adjunct Eugene Kotlyarenko’s shorts Feast of Burden (2012) and A Wonderful Cloud (2014). “I already feel like I’ve lived a couple different lives,” she says. “I’ve never gone to therapy, and as cheesy as it sounds, acting helps me get all my shit out.” Her biggest role so far is the starring one she plays on social media. “My first iPhone and my first boyfriend, I got them at the same time.” He taught her how to use Instagram, and through it she’s unearthed another side of California. “For me, L.A. is not Hollywood, it’s this niche world of country clubs and WASP culture that’s unsettling but comfortable at the same time.”

Last year, following the death of her grandmother Alice Avery (the matriarch of the Avery family and one of Los Angeles society as well), Lauren wrote, directed, and starred in Tears of Santa Barbara, a dreamy reenactment of her first days of mourning. As she drives the Bentley she stole from her stepfather onto the grounds of a coastal resort, the voice-over lisps, “Santa Barbara, California. The Four Seasons. Where my ancestors have come for refuge in times of great emotional distress. Your husband cheats on you with your sister? You go to Santa Barbara. Bad business deal? Go to Santa Barbara.” Era-defining movie stars usually evolve into playing versions of themselves in each role, blending reality and fantasy into a cocktail of intimate faking. One example is plucky Meg Ryan during the bubbly late ’80s, whose name Avery once used as her club kid alias. Dread and excess are more apt for today, and Avery is a perfect conduit. “I love Hollywood,” she confesses, “but if I ever get pigeonholed as a Marilyn Monroe type, I’ll let someone stab me.”

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Credits: Digital technicians Andrew Lawrence and Chris Nowling  Photo assistants David Jaffe, Brian Hahn, Paul Collins Stylist assistants Danielle Combs, Denticart Exil, Caitlyn Leary  Retouching House Tribeca  Production Amanda Jones and Alana Goldmann (Artlist) Catering Monterone, Coral Tree Café, Heirloom Catering  Location Attic Studios, NY & Siren Studios, LA

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