Lauren White recalls participating in drama productions at North Carroll High School with renowned local teacher Roberta Gore, but admits her love of acting started a bit earlier. Specifically, as an infant.
"I had a great experience with (Gore's) classes, but I think it was in my blood when I was born," she said.
When White was not yet 10, she grabbed a VHS camcorder and created her first show, "Way Cool." For her, it was a strong hint that she belonged near the camera.
Since graduating from North Carroll High School in 1998, at age 16, and from then-Western Maryland College with degrees in 2002 and 2004, White has developed an acting portfolio of commercials, films and television shows way beyond "Way Cool."
This week, her career will take another step when she appears on Thursday, Sept. 20, as the character, "Lacey," on the season premiere of the NBC-TV comedy, "Parks and Recreation." The show appears locally on WBAL Channel 11.
"The experience was fantastic, as I've always enjoyed the show," she said in an email interview regarding the "Parks and Recreation" role. "(It) has a fantastic crew."
After college, White launched her career co-writing, producing, directing and starring in "Little Bits," a web-based sketch comedy series. She said the production was inspired by "Saturday Night Live," "MadTV" and other shows that focused a spotlight on young female comedians such as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig.
It's satisfying then, to appear with Poehler on "Parks and Recreation," White said.
"It's an honor to work with these brilliant, talented actors and be a part of such a hilarious show," she said.
She said the role of Lacey is a "one-shot" deal, though there's a chance the character could be seen again. "There is a possibly for recurring, but I am not holding my breath," she said.
White also performs in front of the camera as the emcee of two monthly Baltimore productions of "RAW: Natural Born Artists" — a showcase for visual and performing arts, fashion and music — and has appeared in films and on television in numerous commercials, as a re-enactor on "America's Most Wanted," and performing in training films. She's also a volunteer with the dog rescue organization, Mutts Matter.
She was born in Baltimore and lives in Baltimore County now, but makes frequent visits back to her teen haunts in Carroll County where her mom and dad, Nancy White and Willie Heater, still live in Westminster.
Of her time at North Carroll High and WMC, she said her most fond memories revolve around, "making great friends who have lasted years and years." She recalls appearing in the high school production of "Treasure Island," directed by then-fellow student Christina Treppe, who she said remains a close friend.
"My mom still has the yellowed newspaper clipping on the refrigerator," she said.
White earned a communications degree from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, in 2002, then returned for a masters in exercise science — biomechanics, kinesiology and physiology — in 2004.
Those fields of study don't exactly point to a person who has spent her career chasing acting roles and comedy sketches, but White said those pursuits have always been part of her life.
"It's always been a passion — enjoying entertaining people and giving them an escape from their day-to-day lives," she said. "You can't deny what you're supposed to do."