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Staying Golden with Serena Laurel: Actress and Musician for Gemma Magazine

Serena Laurel is an award-winning actress, singer-songwriter, influencer, and model. She is best known for her lead role as “Lucy” in the feature film “Summertime Dropouts” (release date July 2019) directed by Jhene Chase with Quinton Aaron from the “Blindside,” international punk sensation Simple Plan produced by Winter State Entertainment. Serena was also awarded best actress by Film Fest LA Live in the category for her starring role in “Bird Song,” a Game of Thrones fantasy film. She has received four Best Actress awards for her role as “Georgia Dean” in the thriller “Nasty Habits” directed by Allisyn Arm (AP Bio) currently on the film festival circuit. Serena is a series regular as Jessica in the NC-16 TV Series. Serena co-stars in the Brat TV series “Total Eclipse” and is the star/creator of her own Youtube series “Record Rant.”

Serena Laurel_photo courtesy of EasiHairPro by Tyler Stewart

As if that were not enough, Serena is a musician. As a singer-songwriter; Serena provides a fresh and stylish blend of retro-acoustic pop. Her single “Gold” was released while working in the studio on her full EP. Serena headlines with her own set of original songs in California and has performed at venues like the Whisky Go Go, House of Blues, Roxy, The Hotel Cafe and appears at the State Social House residency monthly on Sunset Blvd. Serena is also working on a college degree in Music Composition.

Some of her brand influencer partnerships include Fender, Kollectin, Bare Minerals, Peace Tea, Speechless Dress, STS Blues, Easihair Pro, Kut from Kloth, Luxury Scent Box, and many more. She models for print, magazines, and walks at Fashion Week. She is a host for Red Carpet Report TV at the Radio Disney Music Awards. Serena is genuinely kind and you want to see her succeed. Serena entered the spotlight at age six signing a contract with Ford modeling agency while her acting career started in local theaters in Jacksonville, Florida. She then moved to TV with a PSA for the nonprofit organization Hubbard House and a recurring role in BJ’s Teddy Bear Bible Story TV series. Later, she quickly became a recognizable face promoting girls fashions for Bealls department stores in print, billboards and TV commercials. Her hard work has paid off, and when she had a moment, Serena sat down with Gemma to talk about living her passion.

Did you always know that you wanted to be in acting? When did you start? Yes, I always knew Around seven years old while studying rhythmic gymnastics my mom noticed I enjoyed performing more than competing. I would do a perfect routine with a gymnasium full of people watching and didn’t concern myself with perfection while in class without an audience. So no more gymnastics for me. I was signed to Ford models when I was very young and did a lot of commercial work in Orlando for Bealls Department stores while in elementary school.

You have an incredible amount of acting projects going on. How do you balance it all (in addition to being a singer as well)? As a full-time college student, an actress, and a musician, balance is not necessarily the goal at this point. I’m thankful for the opportunities that are coming my way and am embracing them all with the help of a supportive family and a stress-relieving cat.

Photo: Rhonda Collins

You recently released your single, “Gold” How exciting was that? Do you write your music as well and are you currently working on the album? I write all of my songs and have been recording them for many years. “Gold” was the first of many original songs that makes its way into the public’s ears. So yes, my first officially released song and very exciting. I’m obsessed with the cover artwork my mom created for the song. There will be many more songs shortly for my community. Stay tuned, yes an album is in the works.

How would you describe your music? Sunday afternoon in a convertible with the top down cruising the PCH while watching the sunset.

What are some of the venues people can see you perform around LA? I perform original songs solo and with backing bands at venues like the Whisky Go Go, House of Blues, Roxy, The Hotel Cafe, and the State Social House.

Would you say you are working on music or acting more? Both equally. The movie “Summertime Dropouts” allowed me to incorporate both acting and music alike. In “Summertime Dropouts,” my character Lucy is the lead guitarist in a girl’s pop-punk band. The producer wanted to hire actors that are also real musicians so we could record the soundtrack and play like a real band to promote the film. It was the dream job to be able to both acting and music on set. One day on set during a meal break, the six leads started singing and writing songs together. I’m looking forward to promoting this film soon.

How did you like playing Lucy in “Summertime Dropouts?” Would you say she is similar to you? Lucy and I have a different style and taste in music. Playing her in the movie allowed me to dive into the history of the angsty side of music with both my listening and playing. After meeting Simple Plan and listening to their music, both Lucy and I can be considered fans.

How would you describe Lucy? Lucy is the most chill go-with-the-flow person you will ever meet. She is equal parts weird and quirky while still maintaining a sense of inherent cool. We also share a love of music and ice cream.

Photo: Rhonda Collins (on set as Lucy)

How did you like playing Georgia Dean in “Nasty Habits”? I connected with Georgia Dean because of a shared interest in songwriting and a desire to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. She was fun and sweet, with just enough edge to remain mysterious and exciting. She was so goal driven but didn’t want to wait or bother her mother with the financial issues, so she headed out on her own.

What does each form of creativity bring to you personally? Music is therapy for me. Sometimes it shows me things that I didn’t know about myself until I finish the song. Acting is more cathartic and fun because I get to put a piece of myself in every character. I feel an obligation to portray the characters accurately, even if they are not based on real people.

I know you are a very popular influencer for some fantastic brands. Can you expand?

I like to genuinely believe in a brand’s products and mission statement. I think of it as sharing style and beauty secrets with my best friends. I would never want to let them down! I like wearing Speechless Dresses and representing their brand because the dresses are affordable, stylish and easy to wear. Their company is always giving back to the community. I just recently helped with a prom dress give-a-way for an underserved demographic at Girls Inc. of OC. I have also worked with Fender, Ipsy, EasiHair Pro, STS Blue, Peace Tea, Bare Minerals, Dermablend Pro just to name a few. I also have a tiny boutique on the Kollectin app. Shop or Flaunt at using code: Serena Laurel. It is important for me to bring the community items that I actually like to use and wear. Tell us about your YouTube series, “Record Rant?” Record Rant is a light-hearted and honest chat about music, and it’s an album review show. It is currently on a hiatus, BUT I am working on a second season. Because I self direct, produce, and edit Record Rant, it is hard to find the time to edit. I will keep adding episodes because I like researching and talking about music.

Photo: Rhonda Collins

Are you collaborating with any nonprofit organizations as well?

Yes. I am an artist ambassador for, promoting healing using creative arts for patients recovering from eating disorders. I’m also an artist ambassador for, promoting kindness through diversity to help prevent bullying at every level in all demographics.

I would like to thank Serena Laurel for speaking with Gemma. She’s got a lot to look forward to. You can follow Serena on the enclosed social media platforms.

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