On Dec. 7, Lana Condor surprised a few lucky fans at the Victoria’s Secret Pink store in the Glendale Galleria with a $500 shopping spree. The event was all part of Pink’s Unwrapped Campaign and effort to make every Tuesday a Giving Tuesday. With the mission to promote positive mental health among young adults, the Victoria Secret brand has been donating $100,000 to organizations with the same goal. What’s more, Pink has already donated $200,000 to its partner, The Jed Foundation, who they teamed up with to launch an online hub for mental health resources to help get through the holiday season.
After Condor and Campus Pride brought in the local college students, the actor-producer took the time to chat with us about the campaign and her current projects.
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How and why did you partner with Pink?
So one, I just want to say that I'm really, really honored that Pink wanted to work with me in the first place. Pink has been such an iconic brand and a brand that I've used since I literally got my first bra. So to me, it feels very out of this world. They came to me about their partnership with The Jed Foundation, and they're focused this holiday season on mental health and effective, convenient tools for their clientele. Holidays, for many, many reasons, obviously, can be very stressful for a lot of people, particularly nowadays.
I think it's really beautiful that such a household brand with such a huge reach has decided to put that first and foremost at the top of their list for the holidays. I was able to do the “Unwrapped” series with Lexi Underwood, who's amazing and I love her. And actually our first day that we met was on the day of the shoot and we immediately connected. We connected over our own feelings of fatigue for the holidays, my own stress of the holidays. So it was kind of like art imitating life and being like, “Oh, wow.” But we're here to talk about taking a break, take time for yourself, put yourself first before you can help others and make the holidays a more peaceful time. So it's really cool, and it has felt very organic and working with the team has been really amazing.
More generally speaking, why was it important to you to align with a company committed to fostering positive mental health among young adults?
It's the most important thing that I can do. Someone told me a while ago, I forget who it was, but they said, “People follow you because they believe in you. You have to show them what you believe in.” And that was huge for me to hear that and it refocused me into the purpose of what I do. And I'm an entertainer, but if I have this platform, I want to be able to talk about mental health, take away that stigma, to talk about body and the way that you view yourself and your body health and your mental health. I have been very open to the media, I think, about my own struggles with anxiety and depression and that really heightens during this season. Listen, if Justpresspause.com, which is the hub that Pink and The Jed Foundation have put together, can help one person and they heard it through Lexi or myself or through Pink, that's enough. Holidays are hard and this year has been incredibly challenging.
Can you tell us more about Pink’s “Unwrapped Spectacular?”
Lexi and I both were working full-time during that, and so when we went into shoot, they'd been able to consolidate the shoot days to just shooting Lexi and I's stuff out first, and then all the other incredible performances they shot the day before. So we just went in, Lexi and I instantly bonded over work fatigue. Lexi was getting on a red-eye that very night to go back to work in New York and I was shooting full-time on my last show Boo, Bitch, so we were just like, “Oh my god, what's happening?” But in that state, we realize, because the script is about taking a break, there's a moment in the show where I go, “Everyone, put down your tools and put down what you're working with and let's all just lay down for 10 minutes and take a break.” And I was like, “Wow, Lexi and I really needed that.” It's like art imitating life thing. It was really, really fun and really exciting because we did get to see some really cool acts. And most importantly, though, I think I was very happy because I felt like I made a new friend out of the situation and I got to meet some of the Jed team, which was really awesome. It was kind of a dream day to shoot everything.
You recently finished shooting Boo, Bitch for Netflix. What was it like balancing the roles as star and executive producer?
It was a learning experience, for sure. It was my first time producing and starring. I had to choose the position of being a sponge, where I just had to sit in these rooms that I've never been a part of and just take in all the information. There was a lot to learn, for sure, and definitely there's still much more to learn, but it was really, really fun, really exciting. We shot the show’s eight episodes in eight weeks, which was crazy. So the schedule was pretty intense, but I was excited to do it. If I learned anything, it was that it made me further want to be a voice for my fellow actors toward studios and productions. I saw ways in which actors could be protected more. And so that was really cool to feel like I had the voice to be able to step up and be like, “Hey, that wasn’t cool. Let's fix that and please respect my co-stars.”
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What can we look forward to from the show?
My character, she has to become really bad. Basically it's about finding yourself, and I think in doing so, in high school, and just in life in general, we sometimes believe we have to be someone else that we are not to fit in and to be liked. So my character becomes very, very bad because that's what she thinks will make her finally have friends, make her finally cool and make her finally fit in. I hope that in seeing how I go crazy— like I don't like myself when I watch this. I'm like, oh my god, Erica’s a b****. That's why it’s called Boo Bitch. But in watching that, you see you don't have to change yourself. You are perfect just the way that you are, and you cannot, no matter what, let other people influence you or change you into something that's not true to your heart. So I hope that's what audiences get from it.
And given the time of year, what are you looking forward to most about the holidays?
I'm just really excited to go home. I live in Seattle. I haven't been home in six months. I miss my bed, I miss my family. My life in Seattle is much slower. And I really miss that. And so I'm very excited to just slow down, like we talked about in the “Unwrapped” campaign. Slow down, take a deep breath and read a book with my family. That's all I want, really.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Photography by: Courtesy Hunter PR