From child actress to Stanford student: Behind the scenes with Lauren Ariana Boles

Feb. 20, 2023, 3:30 p.m.

When she was 3 years old, Lauren Ariana Boles ’26 went shopping at The Children’s Place. She pulled clothes off the racks, ran over to show them to her mother and then placed them back exactly where she had found them.

A woman was watching her, taking note. Later, the woman approached Boles’ mother and told her she was a manager in Los Angeles. She said she had been observing Boles and saw potential for Boles to become a child actress. Wary of being scammed, Boles’ mother told the woman to call back in a year. She did.

When she was 4 years old, Boles landed her first major role as Ciara Brady on the hit soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” She couldn’t read yet, so her mother would read the lines out loud to her and she would memorize them by ear — even her co-stars’ parts. Sometimes when the adults forgot their lines, she would tell them what they were.

Boles played Ciara Brady until 2015, when she was 11. She has also been cast as a young version of Rachel in “Glee,” a young Ally in “Austin & Ally” and a patient in “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Now a freshman at Stanford, Boles is on hiatus from acting to focus on school, but she looks back at her childhood acting experiences fondly. Of her recurring roles, Ciara Brady was her favorite.

“I got to play this sassy, kind of mischievous, witty [and] too-smart-for-her-own-good type of character,” she said. “And I got to do my own stunts.”

Boles explained that this included pretending to be kidnapped, stealing diamond earrings, running away from home and fainting after tripping over a rock. “It was fun for me to play pretend, especially when I was young,” she added.

In the “Grey’s Anatomy” episode “Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?” Boles played a young hospital patient with a throat tumor. Her character needed to get her throat and stomach sliced open in the operating room, but that wasn’t a stunt Boles could pull off — for obvious reasons. So the crew created a double of her by covering her face with green slime and a cast on top.

“It was a crazy feeling because my ears were covered, so everything was muffled; my eyes were covered, so [I was in] complete darkness; and my mouth was covered, so I wasn’t breathing out of my mouth,” she said. “I was in this dreamlike state of being for like an hour.”

These early acting experiences aside, Boles still feels she has had a normal childhood. This was largely because she stayed in normal school instead of opting for homeschooling, she said, adding, “I’ve always loved going to school and would never have wanted to give that up for acting.” When she had filming in the morning, she would go to school in the afternoon, and vice versa.

School has always been important to her, even with Hollywood at her feet. “I really enjoyed [acting] during the time that I was doing it, and then in high school I phased out of it a little bit,” Boles said. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down production, and she wanted to focus on Advanced Placement (AP) classes and getting into college.

When her Stanford admission decision came out, she was in the middle of filming a self-tape audition. She put off checking the decision for an hour to finish the tape. “It’s always, always been a balance of the acting and the schools, even on that day,” she said.

Boles still plans on acting in short films on campus, but she’s leaning towards behind-the-scenes roles for the future. She got her first experience behind the camera as an assistant director trainee for the club Flying Horse Films, and she hopes to intern in the industry to better gauge what she enjoys.

Though she has an interest in film, Boles came to Stanford because she wanted to explore a breadth of academic fields. She sees college as “a time of exploration. You have your whole life to focus on film or whatever you want to do.”

The skills she picked up as a child actor have inevitably transferred over to college even though she isn’t acting as much these days. “Working with adults all the time, especially on ‘Days of Our Lives,’” she said, made her more mature from a young age. “When it comes to being in the real world, talking to professors, it’s not as intimidating because I’m used to interacting with adults.”

Surely some of her maturity was already there, leading to her success as an actor in the first place. She recounted that, back when she was 3 and interviewing with agents, they would put a jar of candy out on the table. “They would pay attention to if you were distracted by the candy or if you interrupted whatever was happening to ask for a piece of candy,” she said. Boles, of course, passed those tests.

“Thank you, 3-year-old me,” she said, laughing.

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