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Arbutus resident makes sitcom debut on season premiere of "Parks and Recreation"

By Keith Meisel, kmeisel@tribune.com

12:00 PM EDT, September 20, 2012

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Arbutus residents could be excused for thinking the character of Lacey in tonight's season premiere of the NBC-TV comedy, "Parks and Recreation" looks familiar.

Chances are, they may have seen actress Lauren White taking her dogs for a walk in her Arbutus neighborhood or around the nearby campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

White, a South Baltimore native who grew up in Westminster and graduated from the then-Western Maryland College, has lived in Arbutus since 2006.

"It's fantastic, to look outside and see kids riding their bikes and playing in the street," she said the morning before her network sitcom debut on WBAL Channel 11.

She said she considered other areas of Baltimore County, including Catonsville and Owings Mills. But she liked the proximity to the airport as well as access to major highways that living in the southwestern portion of the county provided.

She estimated about half of her performing jobs are in the Baltimore metro area and half out of state, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region.

She had an audition in Virginia on Wednesday, for example, and had an appearance later Thursday for the Jones Junction car dealership in Bel Air.

Her acting career, which included participating in drama productions at North Carroll High School, "had always been a hobby," she said.

"But you know how people say, 'You can't make a living doing that.' So I went to school and got my degrees," said White, who graduated from high school in 1998, at age 16, earned her communication degree in 2002 and a master's degree in exercise science in 2004.

Since graduating, White has developed an acting portfolio of commercials, films and television shows, including two appearances on "America's Most Wanted."

"I love entertaining people," she said. "There's no better feeling that having people come up to you and say they enjoyed seeing something I did. That really lights me up."

She said the role of Lacey is a "one-shot" deal, though there's a chance the character could be seen again.

"It's my first sitcom," she said. "I'm very excited. It'll be the first of many."