Q&A with Lauren Cerand:
Tell me a little bit about yourself, who you are, and where you are from.
I’m from Maryland, and from another time. I’ve always felt different from other people, and connected to another era and many kindred spirits. When scientists announced they’d discovered “the diamond planet,” I thought, well, maybe that’s it.
Please tell me where you work and explain what your job entails.
I am an independent public relations representative. I work for myself, and for my clients, to help them tell their story effectively to their desired audience. My job can entail anything from parties, to being in the right place at the right time, to conjuring an opportunity that no one thought of yet. It is mostly the middle thing.
How do you make someone play attention?
By creating the perception of scarcity, and being discerning. Otherwise, why bother?
What has been your career path?
I have always been a publicist, although in different capacities. I didn’t know what job I would do after I graduated with a degree in labor relations –– organizing was the thing, but I didn’t think people picking strawberries wanted me knocking on their door. It was frowned on to love working at headquarters, but I loved the meta-aspects of it. I was 22 and I knew by 30 I’d be at the top of my game, and my game would be an antique. I made the difficult choice to leave an established career path, and there was no question I’d crush it, for starvation… nothing. More than once in the past decade, people asked me if I was really “alright” with my choices and I said, absolutely, I’m fine. Inside, I thought, you don’t have to eat so much.
How did you figure out what you wanted to do? Anything thing or anyone in particular that influenced your life, therefore gave you direction?
I grew up with money, but it was temporal. My parents were poor, and their parents were poor. I flew privately and had a very privileged life up to a point –– my parents hated each other, actually –– and I was always aware that, as the Diamond Sutra says, this fleeting world is : “A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightning in a summer cloud; A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.” I didn’t want to die, at least not yet, and so I did what I had to do to stay in New York.
How did you learn to do what you do?
Intuition. Not caring what other people think. By loving failure like a soul mate that leads one from this world to the next. Success comes easy, and leaves soon. You have to see projects, clients, yourself, so far in the future that it can’t be real, and yet, it’s been borne out exactly as you’d hoped. Blood, sweat and tears make it so.
I was betrayed once. It made me stronger.
What is one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
For seven years, I brought together authors and musicians in conversation for Barnes & Noble’s “Upstairs at the Square” series. Once, I was fifteen minutes from absolute failure and my partner said, “I’ve seen you pull bigger rabbits out of smaller hats.” I did.
What are you currently working on?
An amazing novelist called Katherine Bucknell, who writes extraordinary novels when she is not Isherwood’s biographer; Masha Hamilton, who’s based in Kabul and blows most writers of contemporary fiction out of the water. A literary festival in remote Eastern Washington for a patron who wanted one. I make it so.
Describe your style. Is your personal style different from your professional style?
My professional style is in and of the future. My personal style is a hundred years ago. My values –– integrity, honor, loyalty and so on –– are absolutely medieval.
What do you love about the work you do?
I save people from certain fate.
Anything unexpected about the work you do? Something you didn’t know before you started on this path?
Arrogance is a sweet cloak. Confidence is necessary. Success is not assured.
Where do you get inspiration?
I am inspired by the sense that life is so short. I have so very little time in this life. It amazes me –– shocks me, actually –– that other people seldom feel this way.
Are there any words you live by?
“Caetera Fama,” which is inscribed on a portrait of Renaissance courtier, soldier and poet Sir Philip Sidney, which I interpret as “what you see is what you see, the rest is fame.” See what is in front of you. That is real. Everything else is fleeting.
What is your dream project?
A grand estate. Some sort of legacy.
Any interesting stories about the work you’ve done or an experience you’ve had?
Too many to tell. People always want to write down what I say. Perhaps they will remember. It’s not for me to do.
Would you like me to provide a link to your website or blog?
www.luxlotus.com for my blog, although I quit after it got me in trouble. Men have always been my weakness, and they can be so particular about being exposed.