ARTISTRY SPOTLIGHT: Bobby Pen
Lauren M. Williams is a 26-year-old Multimedia Journalist living in Washington, DC. She graduated from Temple University in May 2010 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.
After one too many rejection letters from her dream jobs due to a “lack of experience”, she took matters into her own hands to create experience and established her own entertainment blog.
Thus, TheBobbyPen.com launched as an extension of her passion for journalism and desire to explore the world of Arts & Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Culture through New Media.
In only four years, Williams has interviewed dozens of the industry’s most notable figures like Journalist Roland Martin, Actress Gabrielle Union, Grammy-Award winning singer Luke James and Reality TV Star Tamar Braxton.
As her desire for professional growth increased, she enrolled in graduate school to further her education. Despite losing her mother in the first semester, Williams earned a Master of Arts degree in Communications, Journalism and Public Affairs –Interactive Journalism in the Spring of 2013 from The American University.
Upon graduation, Williams established BobbyPen™ Creative Consulting to provide a fresh resource to connect brands with their targeted audiences.
Past clients include Courvoisier, Uber Transportation Network, Rose ‘N’ Blum Bubbly Moscato and the Westfield Corporation.
In 2014, Williams made her first television appearances on ABC’s 20/20 and BBC News. At the top of 2015 she adds TMZ Live and TVOne’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin to a growing list of TV credits. She’s had a ball transitioning from behind the computer to a multimedia personality and hopes to soon transition into broadcast full-time. Ultimately, Lauren Williams plans to make BobbyPen a nationally recognized media brand, and further build out her media company Lo Will Media, LLC.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby Pen, learning more about her artistry and how her greatness came to be
TMP: When did you start in the world of editorial?
BP: In middle school I created our first newsletter; I would’ve been about 12 or 13 years old at the time. Ms. Riddick was our social studies teacher and was really supportive of the idea and helped bring it to fruition along with Mrs. Latney, the English / Vocabulary teacher. In undergrad also wrote for the Temple News, Temple University’s only student-run newspaper, in the Arts & Entertainment / Lifestyle sections. That experience was my first introduction to a newsroom organizational structure.
TMP: What do you think the biggest misconception is in relation to being a blogger?
BP: Interesting question. I think I’m most annoyed by sleazy gossip blogs who give us all a bad rap. The blogs that make up stories and dodge defamation suits left and right because they feed off of negativity regardless whether or not the stories are true. The ones who are just in it for clicks, cash and perks. I respect and support true reporters, strong editorial writers and industry insiders who can verify their sources and own up if they misprint.
TMP: Was it hard to brand yourself?
BP: I don’t think so. Not to sound cocky, but there’s only one Bobby Pen. My tribe found me being me, whichever hat I was wearing that day. Whether I was in the room as a photographer, a writer, a video producer, a red carpet host or a panelist, I’m always me and I’m always working. People have come to expect that from me. I think that’s my brand. I represent the hustler, the go-getter, the dreamer and we just find each other throughout our life journey. You know what they say, birds of a feather….
TMP: Do you recall your first interview with a celeb, how did you handle your nerves?
BP: I do. I remember my first phoner with a signed artist. He wasn’t the biggest hit, but it was great prep for the names that came shortly thereafter. The first singer I interviewed for a small men’s magazine as an intern, O’neal McKnight, led to the opportunity to interview Jazze Pha the Hip-Hop producer and then R&B artist Avant. I was quite nervous— and excited, but I had questions prepared in case the conversations went left. I was probably 18 at the time. Eager for experience and green as ever, but I made it through. LOL I guess another good thing about phone interviews is that it takes the pressure off a bit. While you can hear the other person’s tone and inflections— you know, you can hear someone smiling or sense them tense up, but you don’t see it. For me that was a great place to start since I was a lot more shy and reserved at the time.
TMP: Does it become overwhelming with having to stay on top of your game?
BP: The digital life is definitely work, but anything worth having is so I’m happy to be able to do something I’m passionate about and enjoy doing for a living. Definitely wouldn’t trade it, unless I could be Beyonce or Rihanna instead. LOL
TMP: Would you consider what you do, your form of art?
BP: Absolutely. I’m a creative. It takes creativity to craft a clever caption or write a compelling headline. To capture the perfect shot of a performer for your article’s featured image or to get picked up by another publication. I’m playing up my personality when I’m in front of the camera or a microphone like an actor on stage. Crafting the perfect pitch for an endorsement or curating an event series takes considerable thought and care, much like a poet to a prose or a painter to a canvas. I also have other creative talents that help make me me, so knowing when to utilize those qualities is an art as well.
TMP: How did you come up with the name Bobby Pen***?
BP: I came to college with a nickname that I eventually outgrew. It was time for a change and I had just gotten into spoken word (I know, hidden talent) so I wanted to come up with a pseudonym more fitting for a writer. Standing in the mirror over my dresser in my dorm room, I played with the idea of “anything a guy can do, a girl can do better.” I know a lot of girls with traditionally male names like Kris, Alex, Jordan…. you get it— so I picked Bobby, based off the character on the old show that used to come on The WB called “For Your Love.” Tamala Jones was the black “it” girl in the 90’s and her character was just such a boss! Anyway, I looked down and there it was. There was my new username on this new social networking site Twitter. LOL Sike nah, I saw a bobby pin and loved the play on words. I changed my Twitter name and people on campus started calling me Bobby Pen and bam! — the rest is history.
TMP:What is next for you?
BP: What’s next? Sky’s the limit and I hope my journey takes me far. My long term goal is to own an advertising firm and production studio. My short term goal is to dive deeper into the broadcast world. I’m working in radio right now as an Online Editor and it’s a nice way to see how digital / content marketing benefits programming and vice versa. I love being on television sets as well both behind the scenes and on-camera. I’ve even taken a stab at acting, so hey you just have to stay tuned and evolve with me.
TMP: What advice do you have for that little girl who wants to do what you do?
BP: She needs to know that she is good enough. Little girl, you’re amazing and the fact that you have a desire to go for it means you should honor it. My aunt tells me all the time, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. While it’s not original, it sticks with me whenever I feel nervous about stepping out of the box, pushing the envelope or doing something completely new. I hope you remember that too. My path has been long and winding and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it because every delay, setback, moment of confusion and frustration helped equip me with skills and experiences that make me a better professional and person today. Where you begin does NOT have to be where you end. Just keep going. Little girl, there’s only one you and you’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are. You are designed for a purpose only you can fulfill so go be great.
TMP: How have you managed to navigate through the entertainment world?
BP: Relationships. Being good to people. Being good at what I do. Helping when you can, but never too proud to ask for help too. Staying grounded. Staying woke. Remembering everything that glitters ain’t gold, but also learning to enjoy the moment. Also, social media.
TMP: Are there any other areas you want to tackle?
BP: Yep. Addressed it above. Immediately I’m interested in broadcast. All areas, from direction to production, behind the scenes and in front of the camera. I’m working on baby Oprah status. LOL I’ve also been working on my creative writing though so who knows, I may become a songwriter or write a screenplay. Might have some other digital and other business ventures up my sleeve too.
TMP: Where can people find you and your brand?
BP: People can keep up with me online: