Lauren Villegas

Eastern Chorus Councilor

Candidate Statement

Residence: New York, NY

Contracts Worked: Cabaret, CAT, COST, Dinner Theatre, LOA, LORT, Showcase, Special Agreement, TYA


During my years there, I believed my Chicago employers were looking out for me when they said they could only hire me as a non-union actor. I accepted that I was quite literally, monetarily, worth less than my colleagues. An AEA member helped me see my employer’s ulterior motives. I learned how to stand up for myself and earn a fair wage.

Now my mission is to empower actors to know their worth. As I work across the country, I host informal dinners for EMC and non-union actors. I talk about the benefits and protections of union membership and offer myself as a resource for younger actors regarding potential perils of our profession.

I’m driven. Even before I received my official Equity card, I signed up for several committees to learn how our union operates and to play a role in making AEA stronger for all of its members.

I fight for inclusion and accessibility. I founded Project Am I Right — an initiative raising awareness and empowering actors to end the whitewashing of roles for people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities. I also recently helped propose and champion a membership resolution that inspired council to start the new President’s Committee to Prevent Harassment.

I’m a born-and-raised Angelino. I lived and worked in Chicago for ten years. Now, I earn my living primarily in regional theaters all across the country. By working and forming connections in so many markets—both in and outside our office cities–I will bring a uniquely national perspective to council.

Personal Statement

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, then lived and worked in Chicago for 10 years. I’m a new New Yorker and during the couple years I’ve called NYC home base, I’ve spent more time working regionally across the country than I have “at home.”

I applied to join committees before I even had my permanent membership card. I serve and/or observe on EEO, DevT, Members Ed, Stock, Entry to Equity, YW, and ACCA.

I got my Equity card as a Shark girl/Somewhere Soloist/sometimes Rosalia in West Side Story at Drury Lane Oakbrook.

I have 2 super neurotic and *super* spoiled rescue dogs named Pixel (a blue heeler mix) and Bowie (a SATO street dog). They go wherever I go. We road trip as a family to jobs all across the country.

AEA and the protections it provides means so much to me personally because I spent nearly 10 years working in Chicago believing employers were looking out for me when they told me they could only hire me as a non-union actor. I spent years believing that I was quite literally, monetarily worth less than my colleagues. Joining Equity helped me to stand up for myself, to know my worth, and gain the confidence to fight for a living wage for myself and my colleagues.

Aside from acting and being an advocate for inclusion on stage through my initiative Project Am I Right, I also make hand-sewn, one-of-a-kind rag dolls inspired by real-life heroes. I call them TrailblazHers. Lastly, I run a fun and silly instagram of dogs making funny faces @underdogdaily

Each plank in the #FairWageOnCouncil platform has a page of its own where you can read about it in greater detail. Just click on the text of the planks your are interested in learning more about.