Hidden Gem

As a young woman, there are many female celebrities and public figures I look up to for various reasons, from Tracee Ellis Ross, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama to Lana Condor, Claudia Sulewski, and Yara Shahidi (honestly, I could probably write a whole book about all the women who serve as public figures, influencers, musicians, actresses, etc. that I look up to).

However, there are several other women and young girls I admire whose names aren’t well known. This page if for me to honor them; they are hidden gems that need to be recognized for simply being their empowering, amazing, inspiring selves.

Urban Dictionary defined a gem as “something amazingly beautiful, nearly perfect, or ridiculously incredible.” The hidden gems I look up to match that definition precisely. At the beginning of each month, I will update this page with a new hidden gem that I think the world needs to know about. I ask each gem ten questions during an interview, so she can be recognized for who she is. Without further ado, here is this month’s not-so-hidden gem.

Lawren S.

We are starting twenty twenty with one of the greatest souls to walk this earth— Lawren S. I could go on and on about why Lawren is one of my favorite humans, but does anyone have the time for that? Lawren is the true definition of a Hidden Gem, and I am so honored to introduce the world to her.

Before we get into the questions that will make you love Lawren as much as I do, I thought it would be good to get to know a little bit more about her.

SJ: What is your major and/or minor and why did you choose it?
LS: Interdisciplinary studies: theatre, entrepreneurship, whatever else I want to throw in there. I chose it because I am not 100% sure what I want to do with my life, and this gives me choices.

If you could go anywhere in the world and take whoever you want with you, where would you go and why?
Hawaii with my family. Everyone wants to go so it only makes sense.

What is one question you hate being asked?
If I have ever played basketball. Just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I’m coordinated.

What is your least and most favorite job you’ve worked?
Least favorite is my current retail job; people suck (I mean… same with my retail job). Most favorite is my on-campus production assistant job with our sports network.

Now for the questions that will make you say, “Yep. She really is a Hidden Gem.”

SJ: What is the best thing about being a woman?
LS: Being able to create life.

What is the biggest issue, in this world or your country, that you advocate for?
Women’s rights, their right to choose, equal pay, etc.

What is the best and hardest thing about being an African-American woman in America?
Having to work three times as hard as anyone else to get the same privileges some people are born with (PREACH!).

Why is it important for women to support other women?
It’s just right. No one understands a woman like a woman. No one is gonna ride for a woman harder than a woman. Men already see us as lesser than so we should hav each other’s backs.

Talk about a well-known or famous woman who constantly inspires you.
There’s not really anyone who jumps out at first thought, but overall I’d say Gabrielle Union— so talented and elegant and REAL.

Before we end this wonderful interview with Lawren, I had to ask one more question. We have super similar interests, so I thought this question was important.

SJ: I know we’re heading into 2020, but what are some albums, television shows, and movies you’re bringing into the new year from twenty nineteen?
LS: The Greatest Showman came out in 2017, but I literally just watched it this year (meaning 2019), so it’ll be my movie I take into twenty twenty. As for songs, all of my feel good, “I don’t need a man” songs by female artists, and I watch way too many TV shows to name them but definitely my CW shows and Freeform shows.

Lawren is one of my favorite people in the entire world… in case you didn’t understand when I said it earlier. I love sneaking in conversations with her whenever I can because she is such a phenomenal person. No matter what she decides to do, she’ll change the world; I don’t think the world is ready for Lawren, but I’m happy to introduce her now.

As we hop into 2020, a new decade, I wanted to say thank you to Rebecca, Reeve, Maria, Jada, Avaya, Miranda, and Kristen for letting me interview them. They made Simply Jamilah’s first year of honoring Hidden Gems absolutely wonderful. I love introducing the world to incredible women and girls who may not be as well known as everyone you see on TV.

Here’s to another year, or shall I say another decade, of introducing the world to Hidden Gems they need to know!


March 2019: Rebecca E.
April 2019: Reeve
June 2019: Maria G.
July 2019: Jada R.
August 2019: Avaya
October 2019: Miranda B.
November 2019: Kristen B.

Do you know a woman or young girl empowering others and providing light to the world? If so, I would love to hear about her. It’s time for women to uplift women, and I would love to read about a woman uplifting you. If you think she’s someone worth being featured on this page, let me know. I would love to interview her.

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