Have you ever been inspired or intrigued after reading about someone’s life story? Of course you have. Well I felt the same way after scanning through just a few paragraphs of Lunden De’Leon’s biography. She is an African American woman that grew up poor in South Carolina, but had a dream and didn’t give up until she reached it. In a world where everyone is chasing something, Lunden is definitely someone to admire, and I guarantee you will be inspired by her story of going from hardship to success.
If Lunden has known one thing in her entire life, it’s that she’s always wanted to work in music, “the first time I saw my dad perform on stage is when I knew I wanted to work in the music industry. The response he received from the audience, it was as if he touched their lives through music. He had power and inspiration.”
Although she knew that following in her father’s footsteps was her calling, the two weren’t quite on the same path when it came to music genres; her father sung gospel while Lunden was into punk rock. But before the music, came the struggle. In her early 20’s, she quit her job at Burger King having only $200 in her pocket and set off to Hollywood. “I grew up poor. My parents didn’t have the funds but my mom knew that I would be okay.”
But everything wasn’t okay for Lunden when she moved to Hollywood. Her money ran out and she was homeless for quite some time. Her life didn’t pick up until she met her roommate and decided to tag along with her to a modeling gig, “I decided to go with my roommate to the model casting for fun. What I didn’t expect was to be signed to the modeling agency for one year.”
Things were finally starting to look up for Lunden, so she thought, “the men on the casting couch would hit on me and ask me out, and tell me if I really wanted to get the part they had a few ways to show me how. I had a difficult time getting through that and really showing people that I am talented and not just another pretty face.”
After Lunden became a model her life went from rough to stable, “I drove a lemon and found my own place. Although I was making money and working that day, there was no guarantee that I would be given work again. I always remained humble.”
Become a model…check, become an actress…check, Lunden De Leon’s career was on a roll. She wasn’t just any Hollywood actress either, over time Lunden starred in over 50 films after appearing on television, “my agent sent me to the Vital Signs audition and I got the role. A month later I was booked for my next job. I wasn’t making millions but at least I was able to eat.” Vital Signs was a hit German television show.
Sure Lunden went from having no place to live to becoming a successful model and actress that won awards and was even compared to Oprah Winfrey, but that wasn’t enough because with all those achievements, she still had another task on her agenda: music. Lunden didn’t become a singer, she created her own record label and called it Dirrty Records, “the title of the label was inspired by the dirty south. I always knew I wanted to work in the music industry after seeing my dad perform; but instead of focusing on gospel music I took a different route into punk rock. I knew bands that were great but didn’t have a deal. So I wrote a business plan, had private investors and everything worked out accordingly.”
Of course, when you first look at Lunden or any African American woman that creates her own music label, you don’t expect them to focus on punk rock, “I got a lot of slack being a woman of color and being into punk rock. Even my parents thought I was insane and possessed, but they also weren’t too surprised because when I was younger I watched MTV and would listen to the Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols. But I stuck to what I believed in; the freedom of it. I’ve always thought R & B was depressing at times because it focuses a lot on heartbreak or cheating, whereas punk rock is exciting and fun.”