Lauren Foster

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Interviews

The International “IT” Girl 

Lauren Foster

To understand the world of Lauren Foster, imagine that you were enjoying a quiet dinner with friends  at a trendy restaurant. Suddenly, without warning a bald 6’1” African American woman jumps on your table and starts to dance.

Your first thought might be “When am I going to wake up,” while the second was “I hope not too soon – because she’s fabulous!”

During her days as the the international “IT” girl: who on any given day might be hanging out with Natalie Cole, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, or Carmen Electra, and has been long known as the international party circuits’ most notorious blond, that was not an uncommon event.

Beautiful and charming, with a wicked sense of humor, the Sunday Times of South Africa referred to her as “ruthlessly glamorous with a bombe of blonde hair and such sharp cheekbones they appear to lightly pierce her flawless skin.”

The 6’1” bald woman was none other than the dynamic Kevin Aviance. Lauren was organizing the Friday night Snow Ball for White Party Week in Miami, and Kevin wanted to be included on the entertainment bill. So, Kevin did what Kevin does best: made his presence felt. “I was totally unprepared,” Lauren told me. “I had met Kevin once before, but just briefly – we didn’t really know one another.  My food flew everywhere; dishes and glasses hit the floor. No one knew what was happening. But Kevin was larger than life, just incredible: I hired him on the spot!”

Lauren’s career as a party promoter was diverse – including the Democratic Nomination Party for Al Gore; the Charlie’s Angels Wrap Party for Drew Barrymore, scores of corporate and private parties like one she arranged in the Bahamas for a client that cost $2 million dollars.

But long before Lauren thrived as an international party organizer/promoter  she had already had a very successful 11-year modeling

Lauren in Scope Magazine

career; dated royalty and celebrities alike, traveled the world as tour manager for Grace Jones – and then later Boy George. Her life reads like a novel; rich in success, drama and unexpected turns. If I hadn’t talked with her one on one I would have sworn she was a character from the imagination of Danielle Steele. To my surprise and delight, she was a personality that floats effortlessly among the stars with her feet solidly on the ground.

Lauren Foster grew up in Durban, South Africa, and was born biologically male to a father who worked as an accountant and a mother

that was a homemaker.

When asked what her dreams were, she told me, “At 5-years old I wanted to be an actress, at 10 a dancer, and by the time I was 21-years old I was in Paris modeling for fashion designer Yves St. Laurent and then later graced the pages of VOGUE.

Lauren and I chatted for about an hour and a half or so,  about everything, and anything. We talked about synchronicity, creating one’s own destiny, life, love, career, and the aspects of being transgender. Here are excerpts of that conversation. Hey, I can’t divulge everything (insert my smile here.) because  she has a book in the making, so you’ll simply have to make the purchase if you want to know more.

EXCERPTS OF THE INTERVIEW

B – If someone asked, how would you say you identify, as a woman or a transsexual woman? What do you think — if anything — is the difference? Lauren — I don’t know if there is a difference. Being born with the incorrect genitalia has definitely influenced my “Life Experience” but I believe I was born female. I think the “Journey” is the only difference.

At what age did you transition and was your family supportive? I was 18 years old. Yes, my family was extremely supportive. They paid for my surgery and welcomed my friends and lovers into their home. My Mother and grandmother always encouraged me to be myself and I am the person I am today because of my family

How did you end up modeling in Paris? I went to Johannesburg at 15, was discovered at 16 and signed to a top agency that had sister agencies in Europe.

What was your Best Job?
 It is difficult to say. I have been very fortunate. I modeled internationally for 11 years; I’ve worked as Tour Manager for Grace Jones and Boy George. I had a 12-year stint with one of the biggest party promoters in the world and now have an amazing career managing a top age management institute in Miami.

How did you get into the party promotion business? I was living with an infamous promoter, Jeffrey Sanker – in the former home of Marilyn Monroe. My modeling career was winding down when his assistant broke his arm – he locked himself out and was trying to get into his apartment through the second story window and fell. Jeffrey asked if I could help him out and a few days later he fired his assistant and it was the start of a 12-year career.

Was promoting something you ever considered before you did it? No, not really. Although, throwing parties has always been in my blood. At 10 years old I would wait until my parents left for a dinner party and invite all my friends over. I would clear the living room furniture, open the doors to the patio and put speakers by our pool. I would blast all my Bowie albums and drink all the sherry.

Did you have a favorite party? 
I always loved the White Party in Palm Springs. The gorgeous gay boys took over the city and for a week made it their own. But I think the best party I ever attended was a house party in the Pines (Fire Island.) Calvin Klein and super model Linda Evangalista were there, among others,  and it was the first party that introduced DJ Victor Calderone who went on to become one of the greats.

Did your closeness with the gay community evolve from the party scene?Yes, it was a by-product of being Queen of The Circuit World for so long. The Gay community has been very supportive of me and I appreciate that.

Does the gay community “get it” about what being transgender meant? No, we have an ongoing debate over why transgender people want to be someone else.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? You would think I would say it was my VOGUE spread, but in retrospect I believe my greatest accomplishment is teaching others, through example, that women like myself are no different.

Who is your Idol, the person that most impacted your life? I looked up to my mother all my life. She was classy, classic, loving and smart. She passed away 6 years ago and I miss her every day.

Was there a defining moment in your life? Waking up and being true to myself, and the family I had was my defining moment. I think that being TS shouldn’t be one’s defining statement, it should just be part of our life’s journey, our experience.

What advise would you give to other TS women pursuing success? Attain your success through your talents rather than the fact that you’re a TS women. Be known for what you do, not what you are.

Do you have an opinion about those that live their lives stealth Vs those that are “out”? No. I think everyone has to do what works best for them. Paper Magazine wrote that I lived in stealth and that I “gracefully slipped into society.” I resent that because I worked hard and was the mistress of my fate . We should be portrayed as normal loving people, recognized for the work we do and who we are rather than what we are.

Did you come out or were you outed? I never denied my past, but I never flaunted it either. My life was thrust into the spotlight however after I was disqualified from the Miss South Africa Pageant. I was modeling then so I figured I would just go quietly. Wrong. Another model sold my story to a tabloid. So I thought, if my story is going to be out there, then it might as well be in my own words. I got in touch with a writer from Reuters and well, everyone knew after that.

Any regrets about it? No, I don’t have any regrets. It affected my career though. I lost all campaign opportunities but it didn’t affect my runway work.

Any great loves you want to talk about? I have been very fortunate and had quite a few great loves. My first boyfriend and I are still very close and I see him when I’m in London. The greatest love of all was while I lived in LA. He was an artist and taught me so much about love, pain and life. He passed away a few years back.I had a fun romance with Arturo Durazo, The Chief of Police of Mexico. He was a very generous man. My husband is a sweetheart. All in all, I have had fun with love.

Lauren, it has been an absolute delight and I thank you so much for your time and canter. You are such a great role model that people can learn from. Thank you Brie. You’ve been an absolute darling. I hope the readers enjoy my comments. I will let you know when my book comes out. I have so much more to say but don’t want to give it all away but be prepared for names, names and more gossip!

Fabulous! Lauren, I LOVE good gossip!

(PUBLISHED in Girl Talk Magazine )

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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