photographer / SHANNA FISHER
story / GINA TRON
stylist / ASHELY ZOHAR @ The Wall Group
makeup / JAMIE GREENBERG @ The Wall Group
hair / MARCUS FRANCIS @ The Wall Group
Lauren Cohan has played a variety of roles including Charlotte in VAN WILDER 2, and has made TV appearances on television crime dramas like COLD CASE, however she is best known for her darker roles such as Rose in VAMPIRE DIARIES and as the badass farm girl Maggie on THE WALKING DEAD. When interviewed she was sporting comfy clothing, informing me that she didn’t really care much for fashion. “I’m so anti-fashion” she told me. She was wearing a vintage MASH shirt and a pair of Levis that she cut her self. “If it feels like something that’s been around a long time then its ideal!”
Born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey she moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 12. The move was more than just a location change; it also prompted her to make subtle appearance changes as well. “I remember hairstyles being a huge adjustment for me because I was 12 and you’re pretty tender. People didn’t wear barrettes in their hair [in the UK.] Its a huge deal.” Tis true. At that age its the tiniest details that can set you apart in some big ways. “I feel like when I left [the US] everyone was still scrawny and skinny and on the flight to England everyone got boobs. So, I got to England and I was the only person I knew without boobs.” Well, it seemed to work out in the end for Miss Cohan!
She did enjoy the more carefree attitude of the UK when it came to drinking. “People can go to the pub and you can drink with your parents at the restaurant. You get treated more like an adult out there, which I grew to love pretty quickly.” This led to us chatting about binge drinking and perhaps how that phenomenon is triggered by the 21- year-old drinking age that the US has. ”I think it’s really strange that you can be at college here but you can’t have a drink and that you can die for the country, yet are forbidden to consume a fucking Bud Light!
Acting on shows that have such dark premises definitely takes its toll on the mind of Lauren. She told me that she had zombie dreams her entire life, so much so that she doesn’t even classify them as nightmares. Though, when she began her role on THE WALKING DEAD, the weirdness levels of them increased substantially. She began having “really inappropriate dreams about zombies, zombies just being in my private space.” She recalls one in particular. “It was like PSYCHO meets NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD; zombies standing outside of my shower when I got out. “
She attributes that dream and others like it to being a part of failing to detach herself from the character of Maggie. “You can’t really play any character without going into it full fledged, and I think that it hits every level of your psyche.” Even before accepting that role, Lauren described herself as a dark person. “I think I am pretty dark. Though, I surround myself with enough dark people that I sort of feel like the lightest one of the bunch. It’s all relative.”
An avid fan of the 1989 film PET SEMETERY, Lauren told me that as a kid it invoked some zombie-like fantasies from her.“ At school people were talking about rabies all the time and everyone was aware of it. I always wished that animals around me would be rabid, and become these green eyed maniac animals!”
That particular fantasy of hers came true. Well, in a way! While living in England she lived nearby a real Pet Cemetery. There was a stream by her house that led to a “bona fide pet cemetery,” though it was “quaint and peaceful. I looked like it was for humans. People had plaques on the graves for the animals and they would leave flowers for them.” Naturally, whenever visitors came into town, Lauren would take them there at night for a little local sightseeing!
Horror films are a genre fave for Lauren, zombies in particular and she cited 28 DAYS as one of her recent favorite movies. I ask her opinion on the whole apocalypse ordeal. “It’s coming soon isn’t it?” She said while laughing. I told her that according to the many wackos I have researched, that the deadline was in October.
“Okay good, that’s when our show comes out! I feel like I am already living in it [the apocalypse]!” She told me that if such a horrible fate is on the horizon, it doesn’t matter, as one should live each day as its their last anyway. “It’s the same as when I think about cancer.”
I brought up the bath salt sensation that has been sweeping the nation. “I was like, great!” She recalled her initial reaction to the Miami face-eating incident, “People are gonna blame THE WALKING DEAD for that. I just know it. We may not have even heard about it if zombies weren’t so prevalent [in mainstream culture]. Or maybe that shit wouldn’t have happened.” She added that, “the universe is so tiny. Every single time I think about my mom, she calls me and I know that is not a coincidence. I think that if something’s out there it just manifests into all kinds of ways almost immediately. “ She paused and said, “But its still not THE WALKING DEAD’s fault.”
Her interest in dark things is counteracted by her positive personality and optimistic perspective on life. When it comes to vices, “I think bad energy and negativity towards other people does a lot worse things to your body!” Couldn’t agree more. Anger, jealousy, and resentment can only destroy you internally.
“And those people are your shadow! If I’m pissed off at someone or if I want to bitch about someone that I’m annoyed at, I know its just my own shadow!” By shadow she means seeing something in somebody else that you don’t like because of your own insecurities or flaws, even if its not conscious.
In addition working on a new season of THE WALKING DEAD, in which she promises that the zombies will be much more terrifying than previously due to excellent special FX, she was recently on an episode of THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL on Adult Swim. “It’s dark comedy. Its all this twisted shit. Its great!