Freshman Lauren Leff, a lover of things uncommon

By Josie Stewart, ‘21

Freshman Lauren Leff grew up in UA with her parents and older sister, involving herself in many activities as she adjusted to the high school and found people with whom she could connect with about her unique interests.

“I went on my own path,” Leff said. “I went to Barrington and then to Jones. There were a lot of privileged white families who all liked pop music—who all liked the same things and following trends. This year, I’ve met people who like the same things as me and I didn’t think that was possible in UA. I’m more comfortable with all my [interests] now.”

Since a young age, Leff has always been interested in more uncommon things compared to most younger kids in UA.

“If you went out of the norm, you’d come off a little weird. Well, I’m from a white privileged family, but I always kind of went [a different way],” Leff said. “I’ve always liked anime. In elementary school, I loved anime and all that stuff. When I was super little, I loved Pokémon.”

Now that Leff has reached high school, she can share her interests with others. Leff says she has found this in many clubs and even a group chat of fellow students who play Pokémon Go.

Aside from anime and Pokemon, Leff enjoys reading manga, listening to to K-Pop, J-Pop and music from around the world.

This summer, Leff and her family traveled to Japan, allowing her to immerse herself into the pop culture and atmosphere of the country. Leff had patiently awaited this vacation from a young age and found it to be everything she could imagine.

Although her parents did not cultivate or encourage Leff to stray from the norm, her older sister Morgan also has a love for anime and Japanese culture which inspired the family’s trip.

“My dad told [my sister and me] in kindergarten, ‘Choose anywhere in the world and we’ll go there when you graduate,’” Leff said. “So of course, my sister chose Japan.”

On the trip, Leff explored many Japanese cities and was assisted by guides while participating on food tours as well as shopping in many markets.

Besides the immersion into the culture and tours, Leff’s family experienced even more.

“One morning in Osaka, we woke up to a 6.0 earthquake. We were planning to leave the city through train, but they were all shut down,” Leff said.

Now having returned to UAHS from Japan, Leff still finds comfort relating to those in the school who share similar interests and relate to her struggles of not having that before.

“We grew up in a typical UA environment, I’d say. I played Kiwanis soccer and went to Scioto Country Club, but I don’t really know how we got into liking some strange stuff.”

This profile is part of an Arlingtonian series in which Upper Arlington students are randomly selected, interviewed and profiled. Read more student profiles here.