There is an amazing article by Jennifer Dean about Lauren Potter on The Press Enterprise. Lauren will be starring as a cheerleader with down syndrome on an upcoming episode of Glee. There is also a video speaking with her on her experience. You should definitely check it out! I hear that the role will be very inspiring.
Charlotte Bray / The Press-Enterprise
Lauren Potter, left, practiced her lines for “Glee” with her mother, Robin Sinkhorn. “She memorizes easily … you never have to feed her lines,” Sinkhorn said. “I’m shocked because she really hasn’t had any formal training.”
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Riverside has a new prime-time star ready to make her television debut. Poly High School graduate Lauren Potter will co-star in a one-hour episode, “Wheels,” in Fox TV’s new series “Glee,” premiering this fall.
Lauren has Down syndrome and is a member of The Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, a nonprofit agency that offers programs, resources, education, counseling and more.
The association has an in-house talent agency, Hearts and Hands, which casting directors can contact when searching for an actor with Down syndrome. Lauren was contacted when the part came up.
“She and 13 others from various agencies auditioned for the part,” said Robin Sinkhorn, Lauren’s mother. “She then got the call-back, then got the role.”
This is Lauren’s second role; her first was in the feature film “Mr. Blue Sky,” which was in theaters in 2007. She played a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who falls in love with a boy who has no disability.
The “Glee” storyline follows high school teacher Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, as he tries to transform a rough-around-the-edges Glee Club to its former glory. One big obstacle in Schuester’s path is the high school’s cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, played by Jane Lynch.
“It was great filming it, and it was a lot of fun,” Lauren said. “I love ‘Glee’ and it was a great experience meeting all the characters.”
Lauren, 19, plays the character Becky Johnson, a 16-year-old sophomore at McKinley High School who tries out for the cheerleading squad. The coach is really tough on her, but she makes the squad.
“It was kind of ironic because Lauren tried out for Poly cheerleading this year,” Sinkhorn said. “She didn’t make it. She was really heartbroken. Then here comes this role and in it she wears a cheerleading outfit and makes the team.”
Lauren had a trick she used when playing the part of Becky Johnson.
“I became that person,” she said. “I practiced my script a lot and my mom would do it with me. She’d say, ‘Wow, you know every single line.’ ”
“She memorizes easily … you never have to feed her lines,” Sinkhorn said. “I’m shocked because she really hasn’t had any formal training. She took drama at Poly, but that’s about it other than her dance lessons she’s been taking since age 2.”
Lauren enjoyed the two-day shoot but said it bothered her that when people looked at her, they first saw the Down syndrome.
“It’s really hard for me when people see me as a Down syndrome kid,” she said. “I want them to see me as typical.”
“She’s so smart and it’s difficult that she can see the differences,” Sinkhorn said. “The kids on ‘Glee,’ they’re all in their 20s and they were all so sweet. But she’d see them and say, ‘I want to be doing what they’re doing.’ ”
Lauren has a lot of plans for the future now that she has graduated.
She’ll be going into Riverside School District’s Project Team, which is a transition program for students with mental or physical disabilities that offers job training and self-sufficiency basics. She has also recently tapped into another artistic talent — cooking — and wants to take some classes in that subject as well.
And, she plans to keep working in TV and film.
“I really love performing and acting,” Lauren said.
Reach Jennifer Dean at 951-368-9336, jdean@PE.com or http://blogs.pe.com/moms