“A long time ago when I was very little, I dreamed about being on stage. Some people told me I would never be able to do it, so I only paid attention to those who told me that I could.”
Diagnosed with Down syndrome as a baby, Lauren Potter is an actress who has proven that a disability does not always preclude success. At the young age of two, Lauren found interest in the arts and started taking dance lessons. As she grew older and became enamored of acting, she took drama at Riverside Polytechnic High School and found acting roles. In 2009, her life changed when she received a phone call for an opportunity on a new musical show, Glee. This show, which ran from 2009-2015, enabled Lauren to enjoy an acting career, while simultaneously becoming a role model for those with disabilities.
Lauren’s thespian work includes parts on Law & Order: SVU, Glee, Leader of the Pack, Veep, Switched at Birth, Guest Room, Mr. Blue Sky, and Born This Way. She received the SAG/AFTRA Harold Russell Award at the 2012 Media Access Awards and was nominated for a SAG award for her role in Glee. Her role on Glee led to many fans, as she inspired people with and without disabilities. Viewers around the world tuned in each week as Lauren played Becky Jackson, a mentally handicapped student who manages to join the cheerleading squad and soften up the impenetrable coach, played by Jane Lynch.
Outside of her acting career, she is an advocate for disability awareness and inclusion. In 2011, President Obama placed Lauren on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where issues affecting the disabled are discussed. She works with Ability Path in an effort to stop bullying, and is a voice in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, which speaks out against the R-word. In 2015, Lauren was an ambassador for the Special Olympics World Games, lending her voice to the organization.