Jessica: Hey everyone! This is your host, Jessica Honegger, founder of the socially impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Welcome to the Going Scared podcast, where we have genuine and multifaceted conversations that will inspire you to live a life of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared. We’ve been on a little break this summer, and I have missed you guys. But while you were gone and I was gone, we actually learned a lot more about what you want to hear from this podcast through the survey that many of you took while we were on break. And one of the things that I love learning from the survey is that you are loving the diversity of our guests and the topics we cover. Which I loved reading that because I am just a multifaceted, multi-passionate person, and I find it really interesting to get to conversations from everything around body image, to entrepreneurship, to parenting tips, to how to rest well.
So, we’re going to keep bringing you more of that. You also said that you wanted to get to hear a little bit more about Noonday Collection products and you wanted to hear a little bit more about my life—just what’s happening, what’s going on. So, I’m going to do a couple of little mini episodes for your guys just giving you the BTS—Behind the Scenes of everything that goes on. And we’re just going to continue to have really interesting conversations with really interesting people. This season is super exciting.
I don’t want to give a lot away, but I am excited to introduce you to our first guest that’s going to kick off the season. Her name is Lauren Scruggs Kennedy. Lauren is a stylist, entrepreneur, and a limb difference advocate. In December of 2011, she was sucked into a plane propeller, which left her with a loss of one eye and one arm. She writes extensively about that experience in her 2012 book, Still LoLo. More recently, Lauren married Jason Kennedy, host of E News, and in today’s show we talk her journey of recovery after her accident, her recent marriage, and how her style has changed over time. I’m excited for you to give this show a listen.
Jessica: As I was thinking about what to talk with you about, I thought, "Where do I start?" I mean there’s fashion, there’s limb differences, there’s entrepreneurship, you have dry shampoo. And, girl, I have been using your dry shampoo and I didn’t know it was yours.
Lauren: Wait, are you serious? Where in the world?
Jessica: No, I received it, I think, at IF:Gathering, and I love it because it’s a great travel size to travel with. And I thought this is so interesting. I really liked it. And then today as I was prepping for the interview, I was like, "Oh my gosh, that’s Lauren’s dry shampoo."
Lauren: Wait, that’s so nuts. That’s the best thing ever.
Jessica: It is. So cool. So why don’t … first give us sort of the one on one because you’re so multifaceted, you’re so multi-passionate, I’d love for you to just kind of give, introduce yourself to our listeners.
Lauren: OK. Yes. So, I never know where to start, but I guess I’ll just say, so I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Super close to my family. I have a twin sister, and we’re like best friends and we had an interesting growing up time, so I loved it so much. But there’s kind of a big story there because my parents were married for 10 years, divorced for 7, and then they got remarried to each other. So, we learned a ton growing up just about relationship and community. And I feel like my sister and I took on the parent trap role and literally we would watch the movie and like do all that stuff on my parents to try them back together.
Jessica: That is amazing.
Lauren: Yes. So, they were divorced from year 4 to 11, so it was, yeah, during that whole phase.
Jessica: Did any of your tactics work, do you think?
Life without “The Plan”
Lauren: I don’t know. We would do … Oh my gosh. I remember one time we were like—I call my mom Mo, but I was like, "Mo, kiss me on this side of my cheek," and my dad on the other side, and then we would bend down so they would kiss. Just the dumbest things. But yeah, I remember … So, my mom became a Believer literally right after they got divorced, which led to this whole reconciliation journey. And I would watch my mom just spend time with God and journal, and she’d always been on this big comfy chair and have her coffee and her journal and her Bible. And so, my sister and I just always wanted to copy of my mom. So, I feel like we learned from her like how to spend time with God. And that was in my journal every day, just “I pray my parents get back together."
And so that was just a crazy journey, and I still like can’t believe that they’ve been back together now for about 20 years. And just such a learning experience but really good for both my sister and I relationally because we just had such, I don’t know, a realistic point of view rather than, I think lot of people, this is such a general statement, but I feel like the South can specifically be this way. I’ve learned this from just different cultures that I’ve lived … or when I lived in New York and then here in LA and then Dallas. But you can get so caught up in the like plan of life. Like, "Oh, OK, I’m graduated from college, now I get married and my husband’s gonna meet all my needs and my life’s going to be perfect, and then I’m gonna have kids."
And I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in. And I walked through that with some friends of mine. And so, I’m thankful for our experience because it didn’t put that perspective, or it made me not have that perspective on marriages more … I want a partner in life and, yeah, just a real relationship and I want to be vulnerable. And I think I realized the importance of communication and all those things. So that’s that one portion. And then…
“You can get so caught up in the like plan of life. … I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in. And I walked through that with some friends of mine. I’m thankful for our experience because … it made me not have that perspective.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
Jessica: I love that, though. I was just hanging out with a couple of 26-year-olds last night and they aren’t married yet, and they were like, "So what’s your advice?" And I said, "Just look for a life partner." "Love is fine, romance is great, but find a partner," and that’s really how my marriage has played out. We’re just really good partners for life. And I mean, he even quit his job a couple of years ago. He’s a fulltime stay-at-home father now, I’m running the company, and it’s like … I don’t think that would have happened if we just didn’t have a really clear understanding of partnerships. I love that that was kind of a key takeaway from walking through that with your parents.
Lauren: Yeah. It’s so true. And kind of even now, so I’m skipping around a little bit, but I’m married now and I feel like just it … I don’t know that perspective. Jason and I are best friends. I feel like we literally … he left for less than 24 hours, 2 days ago, and we were both … we have like separation anxiety. But I’m so thankful for that because I feel like we’ve built our relationship so strong because we both have that same viewpoint, and we’re so vulnerable with each other and we almost value creating a safe place for one another, but encouraging each other literally in our struggles.
So, even a struggle that could affect me, that he has, or a struggle that could affect him that I have or the struggles that wouldn’t necessarily affect either of us but … or fall on either of us, but we just like encourage each other in our struggles and we’re like, "We’re on the same team." Yeah, it’s just a perspective to have, just grace, and we’re in a marriage, but just an understanding more of the purpose of marriage rather than it being love and romance, which I feel like that comes even heavier when you have such a vulnerable relationship, you know. If you focus on the friendship and the partnership, then you’re just like so crazy about each other, you know?
From Fashion to Physical Change
Jessica: Yeah, totally. So, fashion journalism.
Lauren: OK. So, I graduated college. And then during college, actually I started reporting for fashion weeks specifically in New York. And then I did one in Montreal, one in Paris. And I was just like so fully in that, and did two internships in New York and loved every minute of it, learned so much about the fashion industry. And so, yeah, after I graduated from college, I was like kind of took from all of my experiences, and I interned at Gossip Girl wardrobe, which was like super creative, and everyday was so different, and I would be going to show rooms a lot and dressing the actors and actresses in the show.
And it was a really small team, so it was super fun because they just let me kind of join in a lot of projects and let me wear a lot of hats with them. And then I worked at Michael Kors showroom. So that was another internship. So, I learned about just like the business end of things, fashion week, but on a different end, dressing models and preparing the clothing for them.
And then alongside, this is all alongside reporting for fashion week. So, after I graduated, I’m like, "What do I love and what do I wanna do?" Because there’s so many aspects of that industry. So I kind of gathered together all the things I loved the most and out of what I learned in my life experiences over the last two years before graduation, I was like, "I love writing, I love relationships, I love brands, I love sharing brands that I love. I love numbers and math and all these things." So, I was like, "I think I’m going to start a blog," which was like not really happening then. It was … I remember there were like five blogs that I knew of and that I could find, which is crazy to think about now because there’s just an…
Jessica: What year was that?
Lauren: It was 2011.
Jessica: OK. Yeah. So that was sort of right when blogs were beginning to take off.
Lauren: Yeah, I know it’s crazy because we had, I think, like eight girls. We were all friends in Dallas, but we were all starting a blog. Even our friend Amber starting Rewardstyle, which I feel like it just changed so much of the marketing industry and blog industry. We were all doing it at the same time, and we had no idea what we were doing because there was no history in the business and we would all just help each other and be like, "OK, how do we turn this into a business and how do we do this well?" And so, it’s kind of crazy to think about now because we were all at that point where there was just … yeah, it was just the very beginning phases.
But yes, I started my blog, which at the time I kind of had the vision to turn it into a print magazine one day. But about two months after I started my blog, it was really expanding quickly and growing a lot within the first couple of months. And then I had my accident where I was hit by a plane propeller. So, I lost my left hand and left eye and had a traumatic brain injury and just was on full recovery for about two years. So, I just paused everything career-oriented and just was healing physically and emotionally and spiritually. And I feel like my life just flipped upside down, but not … I don’t even mean that negatively. Just new passions I discovered. My story became basically national, the night of my accident, and no one knows how that happened. And so, yeah, it was like a big shift in life within a day.
Jessica: I mean, how did that … I mean you are just … you’re at that like beginning of this exciting career. You’re passionate, you love style, you love fashion, and then you have something very physical happened to you that changes your physicality, and yet you’ve been in this industry that’s notoriously overly focused on perfection and physicality. Tell us about that journey of reconciling those two things. And then I wanna talk of your style change, like pre-accident, post-accident.
Lauren: So, it was a really hard journey, to be honest. And I feel like anyone that’s gone through a trauma of any sort, I think one thing that happens or something I experienced is that kind of all your idols are right before your eyes because it’s almost the things that bother you the most or you kind of see what you held so much value in. And for me that was what I looked like physically. And it’s interesting because I didn’t realize that necessarily because I wasn’t thinking 24/7, but I looked. I was super like roll out of bed, brush my hair really fast, not put on much makeup, like throw on just like some clothes that I like was in the mood to wear, whatever. And I realized just how much, yeah, I valued that. But if I thought about it before my accident, I wouldn’t think I put much value in that. That makes sense?
“Anyone that’s gone through a trauma of any sort, I think one thing that happens or something I experienced is that kind of all your idols are right before your eyes … you kind of see what you held so much value in. And for me that was what I looked like physically.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
Volume in Vulnerability
Jessica: Yeah, totally.
Lauren: I felt like I was just more stuck. Like, "Oh my gosh, I can’t get my hand back and healing is slow." I got a prosthetic really quickly just to get back to life where I wouldn’t have to wear a patch all the time. And the first one you get, like your muscles around your eye are still healing, so it’s swollen. And my head was half shaved, so just waiting for my hair to grow out. And I think it was just such a learning journey and just having patience and knowing, "Oh my gosh, OK, where’s my identity and where can I put my hope?" And I had such or I have such an amazing community, and just so many people wrapped around our family and me during our healing. And there were just times where I was like, "This still just is not enough, and I need Jesus."
And for me, that whole process really deepened my faith and made it so much more real for me because I had such a need for Jesus. And I still look back at those times and I’m like, "I’m so thankful for those like precious moments where I really like grew in my dependence for the Lord." And yeah. So, it was hard to reconcile even just, yeah, my industry and then what I looked like and just that fear of, "Oh my gosh, what are people gonna think of me now?" And just their perspective of me changed and really struggling with putting a lot of weight on what other people thought of me. And I kind of was proven wrong with that assumption or fear because I feel like just so many people related to my story. And it’s one of those things where God is working so heavily, but I personally, as a human, wasn’t doing much. I was just like living my life.
“I feel like just so many people related to my story. And it’s one of those things where God is working so heavily, but I personally, as a human, wasn’t doing much. I was just like living my life.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
And so, it was really cool to see just, yeah, just how people were encouraged in their own pain. And I think the story in a way made me more relatable to people because I think a lot of times I am just like speaking from what’s kind of been created through social media and all that today. But you can look at someone like a blogger or an influencer or a celebrity or whoever it might be, and they’re not relatable in any sort of way. And so, I’m thankful for my story, not that all these people knew who I was at that moment or anything, but just I think just anything vulnerable or anything relating to pain and just the ability to use your experience to … Yeah, I keep saying vulnerability, but just to be vulnerable and courageous to tell what you’ve learned just impacts people a lot. So, I’m thankful for that time.
“I keep saying vulnerability, but just to be vulnerable and courageous to tell what you’ve learned just impacts people a lot.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
Jessica: And so when you’re recovering for two years, which is a full-time job, I mean I have had friends with traumatic brain injuries and it is … there’s so much hope because of what the brain is capable of restoring too, but then it’s also such an unpredictable journey. And what were you thinking about your career at that point? Were you thinking, "Gosh, I still…" I mean you didn’t change your loves and your passion, and you loved fashion and you loved writing, and so how did that sort of evolve as you began to recover and kind of get back to work?
Lauren: So, I feel like during those two years I didn’t even have mental space to even think about my career, which is kind of good now that I think about it. But one thing that kind of came up actually was Stranded, our dry shampoo, and I moved in with my best friend probably … I’m so bad with timelines, but I wanna stay around like a year after my accident, and this idea sparked up. And so we started working on that project, which was kind of my first like give back to my career, kind of, job or project. And then I ended up … so I hired this girl … it’s just so crazy, but she lived in Dallas. I had never met her in person, but she was looking to start a blog and she started blogging on my blog, which had been basically like on pause for that period of time. And I feel like she … it was so cool because she like learned so much and kind of learned the blogging industry, and I was kind of in the background. She would ask me questions, but she was posting on my blog, which I feel like got it more out in the open and on the map again, and kind of gave it a refresh button kind of thing.
Jessica: Was she blogging on your behalf or as like as her, or were you dictating to her? What did that look like?
Lauren: Yeah, she was blogging on her … so on my site, but on … It was almost like it was her blog, but on just my URL, if that makes sense. But it was so perfect for the time and so nice. But I feel like she’s kind of in the person that spurred me on into getting back to everything because just being in the background kind of got my mind working again on what blogging looks like. It got me thinking about, "Hey, what do I wanna focus on? What’s my brand? What are my passions? How can I talk about things that I’ve learned and incorporate that into fashion?” and things like that.
And so, she actually started her own blog after probably like two years of writing on mine. And I’m like, "Oh my gosh, OK, here we go." I need to continue this and had an amazing friend of mine, she’s like my assistant, which sounds weird. She’s like one of my really good friends, but she just does so much for the blog. And then we really have redefined my brand in the last couple of years through my friend Julie Solomon. She helped me kind of hone in on what my brand is and what my passions are and, yeah, all of that. So, I know I’m kind of hopping around a lot, but that’s how I got back to everything and had new passions. My passions really shifted. They were still the same and like innate with me still the same, but they just changed in a lot of ways.
Passion for Prosthetic Fashion
Jessica: Yeah. Tell us a little bit more about that. Like how your passions do shift because you could have come out of that and been like a fashion whatever. It’s so shallow or forget that. And I just love how that you didn’t do that, you know, and you have an amazing sense of style. I love your style. And so, what are some of those shifts that you saw that began to happen? Like, when you say your brand evolved, you know, what does a traumatic injury kind of look like? How does that show up for you?
Lauren: Yeah, so one thing, it’s kind of funny. I feel like right after my accident … you’re just subscribed to all these brands and, you know, things that you get emails from. And I was just getting so many fashion emails and I told my mom one day, I was like, "I swear if I see another email about a shirt, like I’m just gonna freak out because I’m, like, ‘This is so not important.’" And I feel like you go from like such an extreme right after you experienced something like that and then do get back into life.
But it was funny. So, I transitioned out of that. But I was like, I think I was just craving the desire to just be real and focus on things that were important but also supporting being who you are. And I feel like fashion is a huge part of that and just how to express yourself and be creative and things like that. So that’s kind of my blend of what I like to do on the blog. But a huge passion of mine was just the prosthetic world. And so, I received like a few prosthetic arms within six months of my accident because they encourage that because your arm will atrophy, and it’s important just to get right to it. So, my insurance covered the majority of my arm, so I thought that was just such a common thing.
“I think I was just craving the desire to just be real and focus on things that were important but also supporting being who you are. And I feel like fashion is a huge part of that and just how to express yourself and be creative and things like that.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
And then I started meeting girls that would just come up to me in the grocery store or at an event I was at or something like that and just show me their arm and they’re like, "Hello, where did you get your arm? Mine is falling apart. I have holes in my thumb," like just so many things. And I just realized over time, so even another friend of a friend, she was deciding whether or not to save for in vitro or another arm. And I just kept hearing story after story and realizing insurance rarely covers a really good quality prosthetic arm.
And it just broke my heart, and I just remember exactly where I was in Dallas in my car. It’s so weird. And I just started praying about it. I was like, "God, I wanna be a part of like a shift in this. I wanna help." And I know how much wholeness my prosthetic arms have brought me in. They even just got me back to life, like my work out prosthesis, like I can do really anything in the gym.
And just to think of people, like girls, girls specifically, going through such loss and then having to have that burden on their shoulders of fighting insurance, which is just terrible for something that they need. Yeah. And so, we started the Lauren Scruggs Kennedy Foundation within that next few years. But it was a really cool process of just meeting another girl who had a similar passion that lost her leg when she was eight in a train accident. And then my friend Lisa, who’s almost 60, and she lost her leg when she was 16.
And they just started noticing that, yeah, they just had the same burden. And so, my friend Bethany Hamilton, so she lost her arm when she was bit by a shark, I think, a little over 10 years ago now, which is crazy. But she and I started this retreat for girls that have lost limbs, and that’s when we really started noticing, "Oh my gosh. OK. So many girls…" We were more like arm people. So, it’s grown into like girls that have lost legs that have come in. But the first year it was like majority girls that had lost arms, and they’re about 15, and none of them had a prosthetic arm on. And I was so confused. I’m like, "Wait, where are everyone’s arms? Do you want one, do you not want one?" We’re just so curious about it. And that’s when we started realizing the struggle with insurance.
Jessica: Oh, a lot of people didn’t have them because of insurance.
Lauren: Yes. That was like the whole … everyone’s answer to why they didn’t have one was that, and so that’s what kind of led to the birth of the foundation. But yeah, that was another huge passion in mind because it’s so interesting because, OK, so like a prosthetic arm is a physical thing, but it just ignites a lot of confidence in someone that’s experienced loss, a limb loss, and yeah. And it just also reminds me of that scripture of just comfort as you are comforted. And it’s just been cool to be able to do that through the foundation. And then just see just such a shift in these girls’ lives and also just to have someone to walk through the prosthetic journey with because you don’t ever expect to have to like pick an arm or leg and you’re like, "How do I do this and where do I go?"
“A prosthetic arm is a physical thing, but it just ignites a lot of confidence in someone that’s experienced loss, a limb loss, and yeah. And it just also reminds me of that scripture of just comfort as you are comforted. And it’s just been cool to be able to do that through the [Lauren Scruggs Kennedy Foundation ].” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
Jessica: No kidding.
Jessica: Take us on a little bit of a journey from someone that you’ve gotten to know and who’s gotten to receive a limb, thanks to your work.
Lauren: Oh, my gosh, there’s so many amazing stories. It’s hard to choose. But, so our first girl, she is so amazing. But she was about to get married, and she had just experienced a limb loss, like, I wanna say six months to a year before she was about to get married. So, it was just like a crazy journey. And the other girl was so short and sweet, but she received her arm and she’s just the most joyful, like full-of-life person. And just seeing her gratefulness but also her desire to help other women because of what she experienced through like the gifting of an arm was just so cool. Yeah. And then another girl, she’s like just … I love her so much, but she has battled cancer for years and has a little boy, and so she received an arm. Just like amazing … I don’t know, these women are so courageous and incredible.
And another really good friend of mine, Carrie, she was actually one of the first girls at the retreat that we did. So, I think that started like six years ago maybe. And she was like a little shy and just not super confident. With her, I don’t know, I think she was just still kind of finding her identity and, we gifted her an arm, I think, like two weeks ago or a month ago. I’m so, again, like bad with time, but it was really recent, and she was born without her arm. But just to see over the years … now she’s a leader at the retreat and she’s just so amazing. And she does physical therapy, that’s her job. I don’t know, just to see how it helps these girls have this new level of confidence, but also it helps her with her job, with physical therapy, and yeah.
Jessica: Yeah. And just standing in the gap. I mean, I think for those of us that haven’t had to deal with insurance over complex issues, it’s easy for me to think, "Well, of course insurance would cover these things." I told you about my best friend, my best friend, her husband is a prostheticist, and then they’ve adopted one child that is missing one limb, his leg, and then they adopted another child that has no legs and one arm.
And so, I’ve just learned so much being friends with them, and we did come down to the ranch recently. My folks have a ranch. I’m Texas, too, here. And I think he … I mean, just see getting to see what that limb was able to do, I mean for one of the kids with his leg, I mean, who was just running around with the rest of the kids. He’s super athletic.
And then for Tessa, the little girl, she has a wheelchair. And I mean it was such a crazy story like figuring out how to get insurance to take care of this. We all do that enables her to … even in the crazy grass and the gravel roads, and she’s just like going for it. And I just love your work with people with limb differences because it is such a distinct disability or different ability, and I love that you’ve brought so much light to that. How has that affected your style? I’m curious. When you think about how your style has evolved over the years, how would you describe your style?
Shifts in Style and Lifestyle
Lauren: OK, so it was funny. My sister told me a couple of years ago, she was like, "Your style has changed so much since you moved to LA." I was like, "Really? How did that change?" And she just said, "It’s like more chill and just like really neutral and all the stuff." And so, I feel like I’ve always kind of been that way, just more … I don’t know ever how to describe it, but just, I love the beach and just the lake and water and sun, and just like natural look. And so, I think I’ve just evolved more into that. So just, like, chill, comfortable.
Jessica: California. I like California style.
Lauren: Oh, it’s the best. And even I get like overwhelmed if I have to wear a dress and like, "Oh, my gosh." I’m getting more into them a little bit, but like a dressy dress. I’m just like, "This is so not me. I can’t wait to get out of it and get back into like jeans,” or like whatever. But yes. So, I’m like very minimal on accessories. I’m just like … I think minimal might be another good description. But yeah, it’s interesting because sometimes I think about this, but I am a fashion blogger. I think I have gone way more into focusing on wellness and all that, but like incorporating it into fashion.
But I don’t have very natural gift of like putting an outfit together sometimes. It’s like, I’m even experiencing this, we’re renovating our house right now, and I have the hardest time picturing something. I can’t picture what … you know what I’m saying? Like a new floor at this countertop and these … you know? So, I’m like, I can tell you what I like in a picture, but I just like can’t always do that myself. So, I feel similar with fashion. Like, I just dress kind of how I’m feeling that day. And then also just on day-to-day errand things I’m just wearing like yoga pants and workout clothes.
Jessica: You should see what I’m wearing right now. Workout clothes. Nobody knows in podcast interviews. As you’re renovating your house, are there any things that you’re taking into mind in regards to not having an arm or are there any considerations there?
Lauren: Not really. It’s so interesting. Some people ask me this, “Is anything hard for you to do or was hard to learn how to do?” And it’s just so crazy how fast your body adapts to one arm. Like I just … I really don’t think about it very much because you just … it’s almost like your body just has an instinct to do something differently or to figure it out. And yeah, so I haven’t really had to think about it with our house or anything. But yeah, I think the hardest thing for me was learning how to round brush my hair again. And the craziest thing happened. It was so cool.
“It’s just so crazy how fast your body adapts to one arm. … I really don’t think about it very much because … it’s almost like your body just has an instinct to do something differently or to figure it out.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
We actually were talking about this lady the other day, but when I was dating Jason, I went to this birthday party when I was out here in LA. And there was this lady that Jason worked with for like seven years, and that whole seven years he had no idea that she had a prosthetic arm. It just looked really realistic. And in one day it was really funny how they found out, but she asked for help to like butter her like a bagel they’re eating. And he was like, "Butter your own bagel," like kidding with her. And she was like, "I literally can’t." And he was like, "Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. I had no idea."
And so, although this day … So, we ended up … he was like, "I really want you to meet her." And she happened to be at this party and I, like, meet her, and I’m like, "Oh, my gosh, you round brush your hair, don’t you?" Because it just looked it … I could tell. And she was like, "Yes." And I’m like, "I cannot figure out how to do and it’s driving me crazy." And she was like, "I’m gonna send you a video, and I think it’ll help." In that video literally it was like it for me. It just taught me how to do that.
Jessica: Wow. That’s amazing. I hope you’ve shared that video on your blog.
Lauren: I have it. I honestly need to find it, like it was so long ago, and I didn’t even think twice. Like I just was like … yeah, I didn’t even think to share it at the time, but I really need to look back and see if I can find it. But it’s just so funny how little moments like that happen.
Jessica: Yeah, looking … There’s someone out there struggling, she can’t figure it out, so…
Lauren: Yes, I’m like, "What are the odds?" Like that’s so crazy. Yeah. So, there’s been like little things like that, but for the most part it’s like…
Love and Partnership
Jessica: OK, so you mentioned that your husband, you no longer live in Texas, take us on that journey real quick because now you live in LA and you’re … can I still call you a newlywed? I don’t know at what point you can say you’re no longer a newlywed.
Lauren: I feel like we still are. I know, we’ve been married for almost five years, but I feel like … I don’t know, we just are closer than ever, and we just love each other so much. I’m sure you all experienced the same thing, but yeah, it’s so special. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, would we be a newlywed in five years?
Jessica: I don’t know. Let’s call it a newlywed. Let’s just say it.
Lauren: Yeah, let’s do it.
Jessica: I mean, if you’re gonna be married for 50 years, you know, you’re new.
Lauren: Good point. It’s true.
Jessica: Heck, I didn’t really wed with that being the definition.
Lauren: Yes. Oh, my gosh, I love it.
Jessica: OK. So how did you meet Jason?
Lauren: OK, so when my accident happened … So he’s a host on "E! News" and his co-host, Giuliana Rancic, she was actually going through breast cancer at the time, so she was getting a double mastectomy, and she saw my story when she was healing in the hospital. She saw it on TV, and she just told her husband, Bill, "I have to get ahold of her." And he did tell her like, she has so much life ahead of her and just encourage her, and all these things.
So, she reached out on Twitter one day, and we just really started getting to know each other. She was like super real with me. We Skyped a few times, talked on the phone a little bit. And so probably after like about a year, she was like, "Do you wanna come to LA? I’d love to meet you in person and do an interview." And I had done a few interviews with people just about my accident, like Today Show, Katie Couric, things like that. And she was like the one person where I would just like so excited because I just felt like I had a relationship with her. And I feel like all the other press stuff, it’s just like … I don’t know, I never like how to explain it, but it just was so sudden. And so, we had to make so many decisions so quickly. And I feel like this one is just so different because it was like I knew … I got to know her pretty well. And it just was like a really just a gift to hear just her own struggle with her journey. It’s really great to connect with her.
So I go to LA with my mom, and it was actually really funny because I was doing my rehab at this place called Athlete’s Performance, and I was like the only girl, but I’d be there every day for like two hours with my physical therapist who is also a trainer. So, she was just like kicking my butt while helping me just heal at the same time. I loved it so much. But there were like 20 guys probably that were around my age, like minor, major baseball and football players. And they just became like my brothers and just good friends. And there’s this one guy, I just had the biggest crush on him ever, and we would like hang out. I was like hanging out with some of these guys just outside of training and stuff. But I was like apologizing to my mom before, I’m like, "I am so sorry, I’m so distracted. I’ve got the biggest crush on this guy."
And so just like funny how life happens. But I came here to interview with Giuliana, and she was like, "Do you know Jason Kennedy?" And it was like, "I think so, like it sounds kind of familiar." And she was like, "I want you to come to set and meet him. I just feel like you guys would be great to know in the industry,” all this stuff. And so, I was like, "OK." And my mom and I went to set that afternoon and met him, and it was just like a normal meeting thing. And I’m like, "Oh, my gosh, what’s your watch brand? My dad loves watches." And he was like, "What are y’all doing, like, here in LA?" And he wrote like a few spots for us to go to and then put his number at the bottom and was like, "I’m going hiking with one of my really good friends tomorrow. If you guys wanna join, just text me."
Jessica: Nice move.
Lauren: Smooth, right? But I do not think anything of it. I’m so like … some of those things just go over my head. So yeah, so the next day I ended up texting him. There’s like a lot of details to the story, so I’m just gonna leave those out because it’ll like go on forever. But I ended up texting him, which was very unlike me because I don’t know how you were, but I was like very Southern in that way, and like I just had guys contacting me. I, like, wasn’t a big…
Jessica: I’m so over it. It’s not how I’m raising my daughter, but I was definitely raised that way.
Lauren: I know. Me too. So anyways, I texted him, but we ended up going for a hike and it was, like, just the best. I feel like he was just so real. I feel like, yeah, there’s just nothing … You know, when you meet someone you’re just like, “Wow, they are who they are and they’re just, like, that is who they are.” You just don’t…
Jessica: They’re refreshing.
Lauren: Yeah. It was so refreshing. He just thought about so many things prior. My mom and I were driving, and we think we’re going to the canyon, and we’re going to his house. And we were like, "Oh, my gosh, I hope he’s not like a creepy guy or something." Like we were just like, "We’re going to his house and we don’t know him at all." But he had us come there just because you lose service on the canyon. So, we wouldn’t have been able to meet, and he has all the water bottles and all the stuff. But yeah. So, as we got to talk a lot in the hike and just like so fun. And then later I found out he had actually been watching my story since the night of my accident.
Lauren: Yeah. And he was just so intrigued by it, and he … I know this about him now, but when he gets hooked on a story, he will research it for hours and just follow every ounce of it. And so that’s kind of what he did with my story. And he watched … I did this segment on Dateline, I think, yeah, with Natalie Morales, and he was watching it in his room, and he told one of his roommates, he was like, "I want to marry a girl like that."
Jessica: No way.
Lauren: Yeah, I like found all these things obviously after we had been dating a little bit, but just the craziest thing. But after the hike, so his friend Ryan was with us, and my mom and I had left, and Ryan was like tearing up in his house and Jason’s like, "Ry, you OK? Like, what’s happening?" And he was like, "I just feel like you and Lo would be so great together." And Jason was like, "Yeah, you might be right." And he just started really pursuing me after that. Long distance and, yeah, they were like happening so fast.
Moving Through Life as It Comes
Jessica: OK. So being a true southern girl, my parents, I ended up marrying a guy from Indiana, but I mean, that was like, might as well have been from some other foreign culture. What was your family thinking? Were they like, "We’re gonna lose her to California"?
Lauren: Oh, my gosh, I know. So, oh, man, this is such an interesting like trait about me, but I’ve realized it for the last probably like 10 years, but I am the type that does not think about sometimes the reality of certain things until I’m in it. So even like something that should be a little nerve wracking … even when I was doing some of those interviews, I was not nervous for any of them and that I would like think about it afterwards and I’m like, "Oh, my gosh, that was so scary. How was I not nervous or whatever." But it’s almost like I shut my brain off to, I don’t know, protect myself or something. And I feel like the whole time Jason and I were dating, I was not thinking about the life change it would be to move to LA and leave my family. I’m leaving my community and all of that.
“I am the type that does not think about sometimes the reality of certain things until I’m in it.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
And then it all hit me when I was in it, which is just a pattern of mine. But I don’t feel like I talked to my parents much about it because they weren’t bringing it up to me because they’re just kind of like just supporting … they love and always have loved Jason so much. So, they’re so excited about it, but I know they’re thinking about it. We just didn’t really talk about it much until it happened. And then I just was like … I feel like I was in shambles for a while and still kind of into this thing.
Jessica: You’re like, "I’m moving to California."
Lauren: Yes. And you know, like when something’s really exciting, like, "Oh, my gosh, I can’t wait to be with Jason in the same city now, and it’s gonna be amazing. And I’m just so excited to be married to him." And that was more in my mind rather than, "Oh crap, I’m like leaving all my people I have grown up and just this culture and all these things." And so, I think that’s why I wasn’t thinking about it, but it’s been honestly like one of the biggest struggles the last five years. And it’s been good just because it’s … I feel like that is one aspect that’s grow Jason and I so, so close because, well part of … I know the term like leave and cleave, but like just literally learning like, "OK, Jason’s like my person now and I need to trust him with all these things that I’ve depended on my family for," because I think it’s just been so hard because my family and I got so close after already being close just through the divorce and through my accident, and it just bonds you like nothing else.
And so, moving here and coming to a city where no one knew about my accident, which is refreshing and awesome, just because I didn’t have to like talk about it all the time or whatever, but it was nice in a way. But just regarding friends, like I experienced super, really intense fatigue, and even like, I don’t know, in Dallas, all my friends went through with me, so I would just be so confident without my arm on. And even my eye, I take out all the time, but my friends don’t even know when it’s out because they’re just so used to like my eye like that. But here it’s just been a struggle in all those ways because, yeah, I was like coming into this unknown universe, and it just felt really lonely, to be honest.
Jessica: Unless your husband works in this industry, too.
Lauren: Yes. Yes.
Jessica: And LA is notoriously known for loneliness. Any of my friends that have moved to LA are just like, there’s like a spirit of loneliness there.
Lauren: Yes. It’s so crazy, because even like Jason just puts so much effort into creating community here and he has an incredible community. It’s like one, like, I’ve never seen before in my life and it’s such a gift, but I feel like it’s like guys, which is awesome, but I’m like, for me, it’s been such a struggle just really developing deep friendships with girls, and a lot of it has to do it … honestly, just like my 3 closest friends live 45 minutes to an hour for me and so … and that’s just LA. They just lived with in a different part of LA, which everyone does, like no one really lives close by. And so, it, yeah, it’s so true.
And I feel like I’m the type too that does really well just with one or two really good friends and just my family and all the stuff. And here, even last night, this sounds like so depressing.
But I had an event, Jason was gone for like two nights just randomly for this work thing. And I had this event, I was like … he goes, "You need to invite someone. Don’t go by herself." And it was like, "I know," but I was like, "I don’t know who to invite," because this friend is gone because her husband is an actor, so they leave for months at a time. And then my friend, other friend, had this like procedure on her eyes, so she couldn’t leave the house. And then like I asked three other girls and they just were not available or they live farther away. And I’m like, this is just the story of the city, like it was kind of a picture of “This can be like kind of lonely, you know?” So, it’s been a learning experience, but…
Jessica: And especially growing up with a twin, where does your sister live?
Lauren: She lives in Dallas. So, everyone’s in Dallas. My family’s there.
Jessica: Jason, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Lauren: I know. Oh, my gosh. It’s like the biggest, probably, topic of conversation we have, but it’s so … this is just getting really real. But like … or being really like … he knows the situation so well and he’s such an amazing supporter and makes such an effort just creating a lot of times with my family just to help with the situation. But you know when there’s just a situation and there’s not a solution, so his job, he is so called to this industry, it’s amazing. Like just the ministry he has just by living his life, like not even, you know … just, it’s really, really incredible.
Jessica: Just his job as a vocation. Yeah.
Lauren: Yes, yes. And just the community here, and, like, he started this Bible study in his house that’s turned into a church plant here, and just so many amazing things. And he is so called, and I see that so strongly on his life, but I don’t feel very called here, and it’s been a struggle. So, it’s a weird thing to deal with. And my friend and I last night actually were texting, she was like, "Can we create a support group for like struggling with LA but our husbands loving it?" Like just to literally support each other and encourage each other. And I was like cracking up. We were laughing so hard, but we were like, "Actually, can we, just to like help each other?"
Jessica: That’s actually a great idea.
Jessica: Yeah. Totally.
Lauren: It’s just silly. But like, so yeah, it came out of a joke and then we were both like, "Oh wow, that’s actually a great idea."
Stranded: Clean, Healthy, and Dry Shampoo
Jessica: This is a thing. This is a thing. Well, some of it too is finding your thing, you know. So, tell me a little bit about dry shampoo. Is that of the things that you’re really pursuing now?
Lauren: Yes. So, to put a long story short, so I, after my accident, started really researching. I had like a lot of bloating issues for years and years. And so, I really started like digging into health, and my parents are super healthy and active and nutritious and stuff. So, I feel like I learned a lot growing up, but I really started digging into like, "How can I just feel good and not be bloated all the time and all these things?" So, one of those aspects was clean beauty and just the products we use and all the stuff. So when I was living with Anna, after my accident, she had this idea to create a dry shampoo for brunettes because she and I are blondes, and we used baby powder, and we’re like, "Oh, my gosh, brunettes can’t really use this because it’ll turn their hair gray."
And so, we started doing a lot of research and came up with this formula for just a really healthy dry shampoo, and it’s just become such a passion of mine, just the whole clean beauty space. And I feel like it’s just been exploding in the last four or five years. Just the growth of products in this industry is shifting so much. It’s so cool. So yeah, we’ve created a little team, so it’s Anna and I, who’s my best friend, and then my sister, my twin sister, Brittany, and then her husband, Shawn, does all the business, and then our friend Lawson in Dallas does all the design and all of that.
So, it’s been so fun. And then this is random, but Jason posted this video of me, I think, it was like two years ago. They’re just cleaning an airplane seat. And it was just like a funny random Insta Story, and it like went viral and all these people just started sending us videos of cleaning airplane seats. We were like, "What is happening?" Yeah. I would just like the funniest thing and we’re like, "Oh, my gosh, I guess this really connects with people." And so, we got to the point where we’re like, "We should create some wipes, like some really good, nontoxic, but powerful surface wipes that are really good for your hands that aren’t heavy in alcohol." Things like that. So, we’ve been in that process, and we’re launching in the third quarter of this year actually a new version of our dry shampoo and then also the wipes. So, we’re really excited.
Jessica: That’s awesome because it’s true, the beauty industry has exploded. So, it’s the right time for it, and you already have, you know, an audience that would want to buy your products. So, I love it. I mean, I love your dry shampoo. It’s a great alternative to taking some of my like sprays through airport. So, I’m in.
Lauren: So happy you love it. Yay. Let me know if you ever need a refill.
Jessica: OK. I will. I will. So, can we buy it online? Is that where we can buy it?
Lauren: Yes. So, it’s all being sold on the Stranded Shop, and then after we launch in the fall or late summer, we’re pursuing some retail things, but we had to basically figure out … The way we were manufacturing, it wasn’t like retailable. That’s not a word, but…
Jessica: OK. I see what you’re saying.
Lauren: Yeah. Yeah. It was almost too … we are paying too much for the bottle to like put it into retail. So, it’d be like a crazy expensive bottle, if that makes sense. So yes, we’ve learned so much. That’s been like part of the journey. But yeah, it’s been fun.
Jessica: So, is that what’s next for you, is kind of developing a product line to go along with your focus on wellness on your blog?
Lauren: Yes. And then a big project that I launched in January was the Clean Sweep. So, it’s like a 90-day subscription program, but it’s an instant download thing. So, you can kind of take it at your own pace, but I just was getting so many questions about how to clean up your life and just what products to use, makeup, beauty, cleaning products, all those things. And I was like, "I feel like I just need to create a resource because it’ll just answer all these questions and you can get it in one swoop." And I talk about just how to fill up your pantry with things that are really healthy for you, fill up your fridge, clean all those out as well, what to replace them with. And then just how to slowly kind of, I don’t know, switch things out that you’re using that are toxic to your health and your body and your kids and all these things.
So, it’s been so fun, and it’s been a fun journey to be on with people because I feel like more than ever, people are just really getting a hold of their health and they want resources. And I feel like there’s so many fad diets that come out so often, and I think those can kind of like keep you from fully understanding what’s right for your body because they feel like everyone … That’s really general. But a lot of people want like a quick fix, and “I wanna lose weight and I want to feel better and I wanna look good.” And so, they just try everything. But just making it a process and learning what’s best for your body, and yeah, that’s kind of the goal of the Clean Sweep. So, it’s been super fun, and it’s fun to kind of line it up with the products, and we’re trying to just kind of create missing gaps in the industry with our products. So yeah, it’s been a fun journey and like random, but I feel like that’s how God does it. Just he’ll put something in your path and just to see how it comes about is pretty cool.
“I feel like more than ever, people are just really getting a hold of their health and they want resources. … A lot of people want like a quick fix … so, they just try everything. But just making it a process and learning what’s best for your body. … that’s kind of the goal of the Clean Sweep.” Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
Jessica: To keep up with Lauren, head on over to laurenscruggskennedy.com. We’re also doing a really fun giveaway on Instagram, so be sure and check that out. And now that I’m back, if you have not left a review yet for Going Scared or you’re a new listener, would you head on over to the review section on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts, leave a review, because that is also a helpful way for our team to be informed about what you’re taking away from this and what you wanna hear more from. And it also helps people who may have never heard of Going Scared to hear about us. So, if you’re new to the Going Scared podcast, or if you’re joining us after our little break, I’d love for you to head on over and give us a review.
Our wonderful music for today’s show is by my friend, Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.