This story was initially published in The Creators — a newsletter about the people powering the creator economy. Get it sent to your inbox.
Lauren “Lo” Bosworth is a reality star turned content creator.
She got her start on Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in 2004 when she was in high school. She said she wasn’t looking for the opportunity, but “it just happened.” A Laguna Beach producer visited her high school to scout talent and discovered her and Lauren Conrad, a friend, trying to skip class (they set off a car alarm while doing so). Bosworth stayed for one season and later joined The Hills in 2006 while in college at the University of California, Los Angeles. She filmed until the show ended in 2010.
Rather than continuing in Hollywood, Bosworth, 36, turned to making content on YouTube and other social platforms. She has amassed 821,000 followers on Instagram and 122,000 on YouTube posting makeup tutorials, food and other lifestyle content. Using her presence on social media as a boost, Bosworth launched her company, Love Wellness, in 2016.
Love Wellness sells women’s health supplements. It has grown to 30 employees, and its products are available in Target and Ulta Beauty. Bosworth’s book, Love Yourself Well, discusses the science behind the supplements and Bosworth’s own journey in becoming a sexual health and wellness expert. It comes out Dec. 27.
The Observer’s Rachyl Jones interview her recently.
When The Hills ended, were you ready to leave reality TV?
I was. People who watch reality TV don’t always have an intimate understanding of how emotionally distressing it can be—to be falsely depicted and have social media jump all over you. It was the very early days of social media and it was really challenging to deal with it. I think now the internet has come a really long way. TikTok is one of my favorite platforms, because bullying is really not cool on that platform. While it was incredible to have a platform and to be able to build a career off of the opportunity, it also was really emotionally challenging because I had to develop really thick skin at the age of 17 and navigate the entertainment industry on my own.
What did you do next?
I was focused full-time on content creation. I was one of the early creators on YouTube doing makeup tutorials. I also went to culinary school and for a period of time. I was making a ton of cooking content.
Why immediately after your reality TV days did you turn to the creator economy—which we didn’t even have a name for yet—rather than do something else in entertainment, which might have been a more natural transition?
I think it was because I was young. I didn’t really know any better. I was not interested in being an actor or pursuing a long-term career in entertainment. The gig economy always felt really challenging for me from a security standpoint—not being truly able to manage my own destiny. I felt most comfortable when it was on me to make it happen. It was not the decision of a director or a network executive. I wasn’t really excited about somebody else determining my future.
Can you tell me more about your recent work with Love Wellness and your new book?
I started Love Wellness in 2016. It was a result of these health issues that I was dealing with, and it was actually a result of vitamin deficiencies. Through expert guidance, researching and understanding a lot of really groundbreaking science, I came to understand that the gut, brain and vagina are connected. We call it the GBV axis. We have our first book coming out on Dec. 27. In the book, you’ll learn how the GBV axis is connected, how to eat, how to move and what products to detox to feel the way you deserve to in your body.
Who are these products for?
Ninety percent of Americans have a vitamin deficiency. Most people have some kind of gut health issue because of food sensitivities, inflammation, antibiotic overuse, taking antacids—there are so many things that create gut health issues, simply because of how we exist in 2022. The point of the book is to help educate women that, “Hey, if you get UTIs, if you get yeast infections, if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression or more than one of those things, they’re most likely connected.” If one of those organs in the gut, brain, vagina axis needs support, chances are the others do too.
When you launched Love Wellness, how did you market yourself?
Authenticity was always incredibly important. Back in 2016, very few people were talking about vaginal health on the internet, especially somebody like myself with a platform of my size. I was able to kind of put a stake in the ground when it comes to the personal care category, own it and help educate our audience. It’s a critical part of who we are and how we live every single day. And it deserves attention.
Were you hesitant or nervous about how people would react?
Certainly, in the beginning. If you go back to the very first articles that were ever written about Love Wellness, they are all written through the lens of kind of winking at the reader, making fun of me or making fun of the business to a certain degree. The brand has done so much work in terms of educating the media on the importance and validity of discussing women’s health in a straightforward, honest and respectful way.
How have you balanced creating authentic content with making money?
You’re definitely seeing a shift away from product level marketing to more brand awareness types of marketing. At the brand level, you can tell an emotional story, you can communicate who you are, what you stand for and right now, that resonates way more than product level marketing—“Hey, this collagen works in X-Y-Z way for the skin”—right? It’s further down the funnel on the customer journey.
This interview was originally published in The Creators, a newsletter about the people powering the creator economy. Get it in your inbox before it’s online.