Meet Jennifer Lawrence's Girl Gang
By Julie Miller
At 25 years old, Jennifer Lawrence may be an Oscar-winning actress, billion-dollar franchise front woman, and reigning American sweetheart. But for several North Oldham Middle and High School students living in Lawrence's hometown of Louisville, Ky., "The Hunger Games" star is so much more. She's a relatable career inspiration, a delightful ambassador for the city, and an example of a Louisville girl who was able to attain all of her wildest dreams before the age of 30.
So when Zoe Kuhn realized that her town had failed to formally celebrate its most famous native — as she lights up movie screens around the globe and uses her perch as the highest-paid actress in the world to do good for the less fortunate — the then pre-teen decided to do something about it.
With a group of friends, Kuhn formed "Lawrence’s Ladies" and went about raising the $10,000 necessary to install a 30' by 40' banner of Lawrence on the city's Kentucky Center on Saturday, along with Louisville's other hometown heroes like Muhammad Ali, Diane Sawyer, and Colonel Sanders — an endeavor that took over a year and culminated with the banner's unveiling this past weekend. In celebration of the feat, we reached out to Kuhn over e-mail to find out about the world’s biggest J.Law fans, inquire about joining the "Lawrence's Ladies" gang ourselves, and see if they've personally heard from Lawrence.
Vanity Fair: When did you first become acquainted with Lawrence's acting work?
Zoe Kuhn: I first knew about her acting after I had read The Hunger Games books in 4th and 5th [grade] and I went to her family’s camp (Camp Hi-Ho) when I was about 10 and all of the animals in their puppy barn were named after Hunger Games characters. When my parents decided I was old enough to watch "The Hunger Games," I watched it on a family vacation in Rosemary Beach, Fla., when I was 11 and was completely in awe of her acting skills.
How did you go about rallying your friends to join the cause?
After getting ideas from Mike Sheehy and my dad, Scott Kuhn, for how to go about fundraising, I made a group text and sent an e-mail to my friends, explaining what I wanted to do and why. After weeks of planning around everyone’s busy schedules, we finally had a meeting at my house to decide our name, plan our social media, decide on some fundraisers, and figure out what we were going to use to keep track of our money (GoFundMe).
Time to plan how to raise money to fund a mural for Jennifer Lawrence in her hometown of Louisville, KY pic.twitter.com/dAAR6ZFn8e— Lawrence's Ladies (@LawrencesLadies) January 10, 2015
Who thought of the name Lawrence's Ladies? (Such a great name!) Were there any other names you considered? How many people are Lawrence’s Ladies?
At that first meeting we spent somewhere around an hour trying to find the perfect name. We didn't want to use the name "J.Law" because that was already being used by a lot of the media. We wanted something that sounded catchy so we could do a lot with it. We started thinking along the lines of "Jennifer's Louisville" or "Lawrence's Louisville" and I thought of the name "Lawrence's Ladies." We decided on it because we liked the alliteration and the way it related to the name on the poster which is Jennifer's Louisville. There are seven of us total.
What does being a Lawrence's Lady entail? Do you guys do other things besides starting a GoFundMe page for the banner? (For example, watch her movies together, make some kind of club T-shirts, etc.?)
We had meetings at my house about once a month to bake for bake sales and to work on our social-media accounts. We also watched Catching Fire together and all got the Catching Fire T-shirt.
How much money did you end up raising in total? Did you raise money any way besides the GoFundMe page?
I think it’s been shared in the media that the banner production and installation cost around $10,000. Once we got the effort kicked off, donations went either into the GoFundMe account we set up or directly to the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation. From the beginning we promised that any excess funds would be given to Jennifer’s charity. As of right now, we should be able to donate nearly $900 to the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation.
How can people all over the world join Lawrence's Ladies?
We originally formed the group for the sole purpose of getting this banner installed so there are no dues or long term agenda since we have met our goal. If people want to, they can join us by following us on Twitter (@LawrencesLadies) and Instagram (@LawrencesLadies) and continuing to support Jennifer.
Have you heard from Jennifer Lawrence directly? If not, can you explain what you would hope she thought of your efforts?
We did get a quote from Jennifer about how excited she was to be among the other famous posters. We are hoping [she] will see how much work and dedication we put into this project to make it happen and feel that much more loved by her hometown. We haven’t had any direct contact with her but we'd love the opportunity to be able to meet with her someday so we can get to know her and tell her first hand what a role model she is to us and other people from our generation.
What is it about Jennifer or her acting that speaks to you? Do you want to be an actress?
I would really love to be an actress. I’ve loved acting since I was six. Everyone always suggested it to me because I have always been extremely dramatic and loved being the center of attention. Acting seemed like the best way to express all of these interests. I think it would be incredible to someday be even half as successful in the acting field as Jennifer Lawrence but if not I’m hoping to be a writer and editor. I love Jennifer’s acting because she can be hilarious in real life and then play a serious role in a movie. She is one of the best actresses because she really gets into her character and makes you believe she really is that person which is the most sought after acting skill an actress or actor can obtain.
How old are you now? Did your parents or any adults help you at all with the efforts?
I am 13 now. My dad and Mike Sheehy, the head of the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation (a.k.a. the people who made it possible) were my main help. My mom and grandparents were also there the whole way to help with fundraisers and to keep me motivated when I felt like it was becoming an impossible task. We also had support from the families of all of the Lawrence's Ladies because they were (a) willing to let the girls come and spend time and effort on this and (b) shared the social-media pages around and spread news about it by word of mouth.
Were you on hand this weekend when the banner went up? How did you celebrate?
I actually had a field hockey practice the morning it went up. I went to breakfast afterwards with one of my Ladies to celebrate our success (and National Pancake Day). My family also went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant (California Pizza Kitchen) to celebrate on Sunday night! But I have seen it and I can’t believe I’m able to say that I had a role in making it happen.
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Photo Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images (Lawrence); Courtesy of Lawrence's Ladies.