Meet: Laura Hankin '10

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Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Current location: New York City

What were you involved with at Princeton?  

I was big into the theater scene (Triangle, PUP, Intime, PSC, etc...), plus Tower. 

What's your favorite memory of Princeton?

The first thing that comes to mind is Dean's Date--staying up all night in Frist with friends, getting loopy as we tried to write 20 well-researched pages in 10 hours, then trooping over to Tower for breakfast sandwiches to celebrate. (It's probably a lot more fun in my memory than it was at the time.)

What have you been up to in the six years (!) since graduation? What are you currently doing? What has your path been like since college? What's next?

When I graduated, I moved to NYC to be an actor. I got to do some really cool shows (as well as some very strange ones, like a site-specific play in an actual graveyard...), but I soon realized how much I wanted to make my own work. So I started writing. I co-created a web series, Emergency Contacts, which is basically live-action female Bert & Ernie. Fellow 2010er Dominique Salerno and I started making feminist comedy videos with our sketch group Hurdy Blurdy (favorites include a trailer for a Ghostbusters reboot starring Hillary Clinton, and a "Santa Baby"-themed plea to Saint Nick to help us freeze our eggs.) And last year, I published my first novel, The Summertime Girls, with Penguin Random House, which was a crazy, dream-come-true experience. Hopefully the future holds more books and more fun creative collaborations, and maybe even being able to support myself solely through my artistic endeavors instead of having to work a bunch of random day jobs. (I've sung to so, so many babies.)

What about your life now would your sophomore-year self be most surprised by?

I think my sophomore-year self would be surprised by how uncertain my whole career still feels. If I told her that I had published a novel and been in a movie, she'd do a big happy dance and be like, "Okay so you're a movie star/famous author now! Cool, SET FOR LIIIIIIIFE!" And then when I told her that wasn't true that all--that I still had to work all sorts of day jobs, and deal with plenty of rejections--her naive little face would fall, and she'd look into switching her major, and then ultimately decide to go into the arts anyway. 

What's a lesson/belief/idea/skill you've learned since graduating?

I've learned to play guitar, kind of! (Like on the level of a fifth grader at a school talent show.) But I've also learned a little more about how to stand up for myself and my ideas, instead of trying to please everyone all the time. (Is this a good enough answer? I hope you like it!)