In a world where everybody wants to fit in wherever they can, how do you know the right fit for you? In this episode, Lawrence Zarian joins Tanya Memme to share his story of finding his own place in the world. Lawrence is a lifestyle and fashion expert who has been on many TV shows such as Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Clarkson, Rachael Ray, and Home & Family. He goes through his period of hitting rock bottom – such as his early modeling years with his twin brother but never getting the gigs he wanted – and subsequently recognizing and asking for help to rise again. Lawrence believes the best thing he’s ever done is write his book, Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments.
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Finding The Right Fit With Lawrence Zarian
Welcome to another episode of Life Masters. This is my quarantine series because we’re in quarantine. I have this incredible guest on, Lawrence Zarian. I’ve known Lawrence for a long time because we met on the show called Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel. We had a lot of fun on that show, didn’t we?
First of all, thank you for having me, number one. Number two, in life, you say hello to strangers or you say hello to somebody and pick up where you left off. From the moment you and I met, it was like, “It’s nice to see you again.” We’ve always maintained that joy with one another whenever we get to be together.
I love it and every time I see you, even though I don’t get to see you that often, it’s like no time has passed.
That’s when you can tell that we’re meant to be in each other’s lives. The thing that’s interesting is that there are people that come and go, that come and stay around, that come and stay around a little too long because we have work to do. There are times that people come and they go, but when you pick up, it’s as if no time has passed. I feel that’s the way you and I’ve always been. A genuine joy for one another.
We’ve had some fun moments on that show. We’ve done some DIY on it. If you guys don’t know, Home & Family is everything home and family and I was a DIY expert there.
You were. I did all the fashion on the show. I’m the fashion expert. I still get to be there, which is nice and we have an amazing fanbase of viewers. We love their fashion and you know me, I celebrate women of all shapes and glorious sizes. One of my favorite moments on the show was with you. My father had died and I had all of these beautiful Hawaiian shirts because my dad loved his Hawaiian shirts, and I emotionally couldn’t get rid of them. Together, we created this DIY where we took the fabric of the Hawaiian shirts. It was my idea, but you executed it. My father’s wearing the shirt that we have wrapped around the frame. It is seriously one of my most cherished precious moments from that show because I have two of these and when something’s made with love about somebody that you love, I see it every single morning. Whenever I see it, I think of you.
Thank you. We did that together. I remember that we had a lot of fun doing that. It’s interesting because as I get older, and my father is getting older, I understand more and more how precious that is.
As you noticed since we are quarantining due to COVID, everybody on television is dressed from the waist up. I have never done this much laundry in my life. Here’s the thing. I love doing the laundry but then it’s the folding. When I was getting dressed, I dressed up and all of that stuff. I put on a shirt and when it came to the bottoms, I’m like, “All my shorts have to be folded and they’re wrinkled.” As a fashion expert, it is the worst. I’m wearing denim shorts. These are horrible.
Is that the worst thing that you could be doing as a fashion expert? Is that a fashion faux pas?
It’s so 1992. It’s the worst thing ever. Ferragamo on the top. Fashion faux pas on the bottom.
I have a feeling that most people are full-on fashion faux pas from head to toe. We can’t get our hair colored. I have this spray and stuff I’ve been using. It’s a spray and hair color and I only do it for whenever I do the show because honestly, I look twenty years older when I don’t do it. It’s the best thing.
Do you know what we’re all doing? We’re surviving.
Is that so bad?
There was that amazing post on Facebook that said, “Our grandfathers and grandmothers went to war. We’re being asked to stay at home.” There is something in that sacrifice. I’ll loosely say that I’ve got a roof over my head. I have food in the fridge. We’re navigating down a road that we don’t have any tools. It’s like when you’re in a relationship and that relationship ends. You’re like, “I know what that feels like.” When you have fights with friends and family, we have references in our life. It’s our history. We have no history to this. We’re bumping into walls and we’re figuring out our new normal. I’ve created for everyone this space of grace. We’re learning how to figure it out.
We are, no matter what age or income bracket.
You dress from the waist up.
That’s a part of it, I know. If you don’t know, Lawrence is a lifestyle expert and a fashion expert. You’ve been on many TV shows. You’ve been on Live with Ryan and Kelly, Kelly Clarkson, and Rachael Ray. I met you on Home & Family but the list goes on and on. You go on every red carpet. Every time I log onto social media or whatever, there’s Lawrence on the red carpet and you do stuff with your brother too. You have a twin brother.
An identical twin brother named Gregory. He is my best friend. I was born with a built-in best friend. I always say this, “You either choose a career, or a career chooses you.” To not get too much into the history of it. I was trying 800 things and nothing was clicking. My twin brother and I were with the exact same modeling agency. He’s a 40 regular. I’m 42 long and I never fit the clothing but I didn’t understand. As a model, I didn’t fit it. I kept thinking, “Why do they like him better than me?” I didn’t understand any of it. I’ll tell you this quickly. Gregory and I were with the exact same agency. We were both with LA Models. At the time, he was the king of the runway. You would go to these castings, and you will try on the clothes.
I’ve been to many myself back in the day.
You know what’s that like and the reason why you get hired is because you fit the clothes. I’m 42 long. In the day, it was the sample size was 40 regular. I never got it. I didn’t understand why I didn’t get it. Fifteen years later, when my career was in a good spot and all of that, my dear friend, Patty Fox, was the fashion director of the Academy Awards. She was casting this big fashion event every year called The Oscar Press Preview and that’s when designers from all around the world would send their couture gowns and the tuxedos for the men. It was this huge event that would be the fashion event of the year before the Oscar red carpet. I went to the casting. I was booking models. I was doing all my TV shows so I went to see all the models.
At the end of it, I said to Patty, “How was it?” She said, “Nobody fit that tuxedo.” I said, “Who are you going to get?” She looked at me and said, “Try it on.” I went, “No, I can’t.” I tried on the tuxedo. It fit me like a glove and that show that I used to audition for fifteen years prior that I never booked, I didn’t fit the clothes. That was such a life-changing moment for me because I thought, “I got the job because I was the right fit.” I wish I would have learned that in my life. That was single-handedly one of my life’s greatest gifts because I thought whether it’s hosting, acting, modeling, friendship or a relationship, it might not be the right fit. That was such a life-changing moment for me and I wish I could have gone back to talk to my little boy to say, “There’s going to be moments in your life where it’s not going to be the right fit but something’s going to come along and be the perfect fit.”
This show is about helping people through their rock bottom. God knows I’ve hit mine. That’s why I’m interviewing you too. We’ve all had some pretty severe ups and downs but when somebody is in that situation where they’re trying and trying for something to work and trying for something to happen and get going. Whether it’s a relationship or a job or whatever they don’t know what direction to go on. Is it a matter of being still? What would you say to somebody who’s trying for this thing like you were and keep on getting hit up against these walls, then what? It’s their dream. It’s their thing.
I would say that it doesn’t fall short on me. I was in New York and I had nothing. I moved to New York to be on a soap opera and that fell through. I struggled in New York, and I’ll never forget that time. I call those the Hungry Years. “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere,” as tried and true as that song is I had nothing.
When did you go through that, Lawrence, because I did the same thing?
When I was 26 and 27. I’ve been to New York for so many times. I moved there when I was 22. I was there for a year.
It’s hard. New York’s tough when you’re in your twenties.
Here’s what’s great about it, you have no life reference and you survived.
Also, all your friends are going through it too.
Yes, but you don’t have any life reference. I got out of high school and I went to college for two years. I went to Glendale College and I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
I went to AMDA in New York City.
I went to Pasadena when it was in Pasadena.
I know exactly what school you went to. That is crazy. Lawrence and I have known each other forever. We didn’t know these things. I went through that too. I was supposed to be on a soap opera in New York City.
What was the soap? Mine was Another World.You're just as good as your last job. If your last job isn't good, you might not have another job. Click To Tweet
It was here in LA. Another World I did a screen test for and I also screen tested for Days of Our Lives twice and As the World Turns.
You auditioned for General Hospital, which was Martin Gray.
I auditioned with Mark Tescher but he never tested me. All the other soaps screen-tested me except for Mark Tescher but I did get to the end and for some reason why I was never chosen.
Let’s go back to what I said on why you weren’t chosen. It wasn’t the right fit.
It’s hard when you are up against those things. When you’re there, you want to be a model. Your brother’s getting all the work and you’re not. It’s hard to see other people succeeding.
I know but here’s the difference. My dear friend, Patty Fox, God rest her soul, I call her Foxy. She’s in heaven. We would dissect all of it. As I would lament over the fact that Gregory was the golden boy on the runway. We’re identical twins, but Gregory photographs much better than I do. It is what it is. It’s the angles and the shapes of our face. He photographs and he is hands down the best commercial actor in town. I look at some of his pictures now and I’m like, “I don’t look like that and we’re identical twins.” I wasn’t the right fit for that and because of that I had to create something else and it never ever fell short on me.
I had nothing when I was 27 years old in New York. I was emotionally and financially at my bottom. Many years later, I’ve got a roof over my head, a successful book, a well-established career and my best friend, Lenora, always says to me, “Don’t ever forget where you came from.” I wanted to be so many things in this business but what I wanted wasn’t what the business wanted of me. I came back from New York because Gregory and I booked a national commercial. He auditioned as himself on Monday. He auditioned as me on Tuesday. He booked the national spot because they needed twins. We were never together at the same moment, but we booked a national spot.
He did both auditions, but they thought it was him and you.
He’s never let me forget that.
How would they know?
I come back from New York. I got this commercial. I’m staying with a friend. I couldn’t get arrested. Remember, I was too tall. I did some modeling work and he did a national show called The Home Show. They had this woman that was talking about fashion. As she was doing her fashion segments, I thought, “She’s not a model. I have modeled. I did work in Italy. I did work.” I said to one of my producers. “As you know, I’ve modeled and I am one of your models on the show. Since I’ve walked the walk and talk the talk, can I do a fashion segment for you?” I pulled it out of my butt. It was such an idea. Lenora said to me, “Do some fashion.” It was an idea that I’m like, “Let’s do it.”
How many years ago was this?
It was a long time ago. I’m going on my 25th year in business in 2020. She said, “What’s the segment?” I said, “What if I show women how to dress from their men’s side of the wardrobe?” She was like, “What does that mean?” I said, “Take your men’s tie and instead of putting it around the neck, use it as a belt. Take your men’s tuxedo shirt, dress shirt, and use that as a cover-up. Take his jacket and roll the sleeve like the boyfriend blazer.” I’ve been working since. I worked my butt off.
That’s how you started in all of this.
The business didn’t want me to be an actor, a host, and all of these things. The business wanted me to be a fashion expert. Somebody said to me years ago, and I’m sure you’ve been told this, “You’re so lucky.” I went, “No, there’s no luck to any of this.” A door was open. Nothing has been lucky about my career. I’ve worked my butt off. Work and determination. To this day, even at Home & Family and every show I go to, I pull every single thing I talked about on camera. I pull, prep, style. I’m up to all hours of the night because you’re just as good as your last job and if your last job isn’t good, you might not have another job.
What can you say to people out there now? We’re dealing with the Coronavirus and everything and would you say to people now that are going through that where it’s a total time of reinvention? They’re losing their jobs and their income. You know what it’s like to struggle and what those struggling years were like. You came up with this idea, which is phenomenal. What do you say to people that are faced with what’s going on?
My favorite hat, I have two of them, is live a great story. Live your story, whatever that is, because the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. The one thing that I have that nobody else has is me and I happen to have a twin brother so we’ve marketed that. What do you have that no one else has? Here’s the luxury of where we’re at. We’re all on lockdown. We’re all quiet and silent. I had to be quiet and I had to ask God, “What do you want from me?” Our life is of service. We have to be of service. Why are there those that have so much and hold on and covet?
If you’ve got a lot of money, gift it away and with your hands open. Help somebody else. That’s why we’re in this place. If you’re at home, do your gratitude list and think about it. Be quiet because when we’re quiet, we hear God. God, your higher power, whatever you believe in, whatever you’re feeling will come from within. If it’s something you’ve wanted to do if it’s something you’ve always wanted to find out about yourself, we’re all in this together. Seek, search, and find.
We have access to all of it. Instagram. That is the best thing about where we’re at. Say something that means something. Believe me, I got wrapped up in it. I’ve been wrapped up in it. “Let’s do a selfie. Let’s do this.” It triggers something in your brain. I get it. I understand it. The world has changed. Nobody cares about filters anymore. Nobody cares about all of that. Who are you without the clothes, the hair, the makeup, and the pants? I’m being cheeky but who are you? Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest every day nail it and knock it out of the park. I love that Kelly’s like, “Look at my roots.” We want to see who you are. There’s something so symbolic about the roots.
I sprayed mine.
Did you? Let me ask you this because everybody’s learning something. What are you learning about yourself at this time?
For me, it’s a little bit different because as you know, I had left the show Home & Family. As much as I regretted the way I did it, it was more about the way I did it. I don’t necessarily regret leaving. It was how it happened. With that being said, I had gone through five years of total hell. That’s where I did a lot of soul searching. I left as a single mom and I was out of work for five years. I was traumatized from what I’ve done on the show that I was fired from HSN and a few other shows because I was getting panic attacks every time the camera would go on. It affected my ability to host big time. Right now, it’s much different. I’m okay with it. I’ve already been here.
Yes. I did a lot of growing in five years and that was my path. Like what you’re saying, as much as we hate it, our head is knocking up against the wall and maybe we don’t always make the best decisions. Maybe those were the best decisions. Maybe that’s how life was supposed to go for you.
We want an instant fix. It’s like, “I want it now.” As we live our lives and we get older, we look at things and we say, “If I was fitting all those sample sizes, I wouldn’t be a fashion expert.” I needed to go through that. I needed to be hungry in New York. I never called my dad once for help. I knew that if I needed to come home, I could have but there is something about being hungry. Who are you? What are you made of? I had it better than many others. I could have gone home to stay with my dad and my mom.
Me too. You chose.
I know but think about it. Let’s do the gratitude list. If you have a space in your life where you’re struggling, break it down. Are you in this moment living with a roof over your head? That’s the most important. Do you have food for the day? That’s two. Do you have clothes on? That’s three. Do you have a jar with change? Many people around the world have no jar and have no change so that’s money. Do you have somebody out to call where you can stay, sleep and eat? If you have all those things for now, it’s a great day, because when we live in the future, we live in fear. Who thought we’d ever be here?
I often talk about planting the seeds and what you’re saying is that. You’re not asking to be grateful for something huge that might not even exist. You’re asking to plant the seeds of gratefulness.
We’re in a different time. I’ve worked consistently off of hard work for years. That has changed. That will change. Do I feel in my heart that there will be more opportunities on the other side of this? Absolutely because every woman once felt beautiful. That has been my job. I’ve never been in high fashion. I’ve never been couture. As an example, the only reason I’m wearing this shirt from Ferragamo is because they gifted it to me. I don’t spend that money. Everybody’s like, “It’s such a beautiful shirt.” I’m like, “It’s a $1,000 shirt.”
It’s hard to get there. You also get a piece on them, talked about them publicly, and got on the red carpet.
I love fun and cheeky. I’m a fan of all of it but we have so much. Who are we going to be when this is done? The end is the beginning. Everybody says, “I can’t wait to go back to normal.” We’re never going to go back but I can’t wait to go to new. It’s all-new. We’re living in history. Are you calling people to check in on people? Somebody posted the most glorious post. My friend had all this stuff on his front porch. He said, “We have so much. If you have nothing, come to my house.” My other friend posted this amazing post that said, “If you’re struggling and you have no money, send me a private note.” “If you’re struggling and you don’t have money and food to feed your kids, send me a private note.” We’re in this together.
I will say going through tough times together is, I don’t want to say easier, but it is a whole other experience than going through it when you feel alone. You’re the only one going through it and people weren’t there for you.
With Home & Family, your world that was big became one.Live your story, whatever that is, because the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Click To Tweet
It did. It was devastating.
It’s because you were the only one going through it. I know what you went through.
I missed all of you. I missed the show and a lot of it. It was hard because I had a lot of people who never talked to me again. That’s been difficult. I realized maybe it’s because of how I did it so I look back on that. We all learn from our mistakes. We all learn from our victories. It’s a mixture of, “Was it a mistake? Maybe it wasn’t.” I don’t know but all I know is this is where we’re at now.
Here’s what I love. As you know, I’m sober for years. I sing my sobriety through the rooftops. I sing it to anybody and everybody because I hit rock bottom.
Let’s talk about that. What happened? How did you do it so people can relate to your story?
I didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was miserable. I was unhappy. It’s an inside job. I found my little dream house. I found this little beautiful house that I love. I had little money in the bank and I was on all these different TV shows.
This was going on at a time when your career was launching.
I got a network show. It was straight up but I hated myself. My dad came to my house and I said, “I need to go get some help.” He looked at me and he said, “You have a brand new house,” my little nest, “you have some money in the bank. You’ve worked hard. You’re on these different TV shows.” I said, “Dad, that’s all stuff.”
What are you running from though, Lawrence, at the time? How did that happen?
That’s such a long, detailed story. Believe me, when you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, that’s deep-rooted. My parents did the best they could with what they were taught and what they needed to do to survive. When you throw a rock into a pond and the water ripples out, I believe that when we’re born, all our history ripples into us. I’m a history of my mother’s side. My mother saw the ravages of World War II. She saw her mother go through some tough times. My dad was born in a third world country. Those two people that didn’t have a lot of tools said, “Let’s get married and have kids.” It wasn’t the right ingredients to have children having said that. I can only blame my parents for so long. It’s my life and the thing that I’ve loved about my sobriety is it’s given me tools to live a different life. It’s given me a way to live a life where I am happy, joyous, and free.
The point that I want to get to is because of my sobriety and a twelve-step program, I have taken account of my life. I want to go back to what you said. You were talking about Home & Family. In my journey, if I feel that I’ve done anything where I need to make amends because it’s two parts, I’ve gone back and I’ve cleaned up everything. I still to this day will say to somebody, “Are you okay if we address something, if I was ever disrespectful, mean spirited, or hurtful?” Gregory, my twin brother, and I got into a big fight. I called him and I said, “I want to apologize if you felt that you weren’t heard, if I was disrespectful and didn’t give you this space of grace.”
There are people on the other end that don’t care about your apology. There’s one person in particular that hurt when I was at my bottom. That person came in and plummeted even more. You come back and you take responsibility for your side, which I’m big with that too. I have a lot of that to do with my home and family situation. The other person on the other end can sometimes not want to hear it or care. You’re sitting there and you feel like crap afterward.
Let’s look at that. First of all, there are times that I’m having a good time and my humor can be a little saucy. My humor can affect somebody and they’re offended, hurt, disappointed, or whatever that is. My intention was never to hurt somebody. What I will do is I will go to somebody because it happens in life.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, we have good intentions and it gets misunderstood. That’s what happens.
I have learned to say, “I want to say, I know that you and I had a little bit of an exchange. If I did anything that made you feel unappreciated or if I did anything that hurt your feelings, those were in no way my intentions. I am sorry that anything I could have done made you feel less than being appreciated and loved. My apologies.” Those that have accepted said, “Wow.”
Most people do accept it.
I know, but if somebody doesn’t accept it, it’s off of me. We’re all doing the best we can. Maybe some people have tools that we don’t and the only reason we suffer on the other side is because we expect them to treat them as we do. It’s like, “I apologized and you still don’t want to be my friend?” That’s okay.
Especially if you mean the apology.
Everybody’s doing the best they can. Hollywood’s an interesting environment, a different vibe. There are certain people over the history that I’ve worked with that we don’t vibe. That is okay.
When do you come to a point where you’re like, “We don’t vibe and that’s what it is?” Some people, I’ve tried to apologize more than once. I’ve tried to reach out, I’ve tried to connect with them and there are not many people like that in my life. Trust me, it’s few but I’m saying it has happened.
The question is why do you keep going back?
There’s a part that wants that friendship and connection again. Also, because deep down inside, I feel like I was more wrong. Maybe I wasn’t more wrong, but I want them to understand that.
I know but they’re also showing you who they are as a friend. There’s someone I’ve worked with and we did not vibe and now that we’re in this space, this producer calls me all the time because they know I’m on my own. They know that I’m an extrovert and this has been tough for me. I feel my life force has been pulled out. You know me, I’m a hugger. I love the joy. I don’t have that. Yes, I’m finding more joy within but to not go out in that beautiful world and tell a woman that she wore something nice because I genuinely mean it, “That’s a beautiful dress on you,” to not have life exchange is tough. This producer that I’ve always had this little friction with, I cleaned up my side of the street. However, they came back in a great way. There are those that don’t come back and that is okay. You are interviewing me but if there’s work that you think you need to do, this is the time you do the work. What are we holding on to the BS? It’s BS.
I feel like I have done most of the work. I have reached out. I’m like you. I do take responsibility for my actions. I apologize when I need to and I am good with that.
You apologized to me when I saw you for the first time after all of that. You said something to the effect of, “I’m sorry if I brought you into any of that.” I was like, “We’re good. I love you.” It’s awareness, acknowledgment and I also wasn’t a part of it. If I’m not mistaken, I said, “I’m sorry you had to go through that.” I didn’t know how bad it was.
You had an idea. You knew how the environment was.
I had an idea. I’ve got to tell you that I was new to the show. I was there for about a year.
You were on the other end of it a couple of times.
I was but here’s the thing in it. I was told, “That’s the way he does it.”
I was in the line of fire one too many times and I don’t accept it, “It’s the way he does it.” At the same time looking back I know that it’s all gone, my feelings towards that person. I could see him on the sidewalk and say, “How are you doing?” I don’t know if he feels the same way about me.
Everybody does the best they can when you’re in a relationship. I’m single and I think about my history and dating. There were times that I would read into a guy and I would love him this much. I was in it and he would love me this much. I’d be like, “Why doesn’t he love me more?” This is how much my love tank is filled. This is how much I’ve got. If this was all he got, but that was still his height, we didn’t match. We need to find people that we resonate with and more so than ever, it has to be this joy. I always say what I love is my friends. I love the joy. It has to be easy, effortless, and free.
We had a lot of joy in the show. There were mostly upsides but you’re right. For example, when you keep reaching out to somebody through text or whatever and they don’t answer, you try and you do the question mark thing. It makes you feel like you’re not worth it. You question the friendship, and you go down this whole thing. It’s a normal human reaction to go through all of that, especially in times when you are at your rock bottom.
Here’s the difference in that. I’m always outgoing. This whole thing, for the first couple of weeks, we were all bumping into walls. What does this mean? What are we doing? That was the first two weeks. The 3rd and 4th week, I was not good. I was in a dark space. I was depressed. I didn’t answer texts, emails and Facebook notes. People were calling me and it’s so not my norm that I finally had to call and say, “I apologize. I’m struggling.” Some people are living their life to the best of their ability and because you’re in this place of, “I’m reaching out. How do we know what they’re going through?” I sent a text to some friends that I haven’t heard from and I followed up with, “I haven’t heard from you. I hope you’re okay and I’m sending love.” If that’s my final exchange, I can’t take it personally. We’re all doing the best we can. You are reaching out to people and they’re not responding back.We have this opportunity to do amazing things. What is your thing? Who are you? Click To Tweet
Not anymore. This was a long time ago.
You need to ask yourself, “Why am I reaching out to somebody that’s not exchanging back? Maybe they’re going through something and I’m going to put my love.” Do you know how many people I pray for every night? I’m like, “Dear God, please wrap them up with love, light, and strength and when we’re meant to come together again, we will.”
I have done the same thing. It’s true and it feels good when you do that.
If you’re struggling with somebody and you pray for them for two solid weeks, “Dear God, please wrap so and so up in love and light,” if we have dis-ease, what does that create? Disease. If we have that in our bodies, it creates and forms into other things. We don’t want that but if we let it go, we’re like, “Why did I care?” I cared because I cared about that person. We do stuff that screws things up and that’s okay. My twin brother and I have somebody we’ve known for a long time. There is no more friendship. You can only go to that certain place many times if I’m not worth a five-minute conversation of, “This is how I felt when this happened. Please share with me how you felt and let’s find some truth and understanding and turn the page.” If they can’t do that, they’re not a bad person. They’re not my person.
That’s true because in those situations, 99.9% of the time, both people have some role to play in.
We have a role to play in all of it.
It’s owning up to your role.
Where’s my part?
It’s not one person who went wrong, and the whole friendship fell apart. There are always two sides. All of these scenarios I’m talking about were mainly during the time when I was going through my rock bottom. It’s funny because one thing I’ve learned is there are certain conversations you have and don’t have when you’re in your rock bottom. When you were in yours, you were dealing with trying to get sober. Those are rough tough times. You’re sensitive, overly emotional, and you misunderstand a lot of things. Even some of the stuff that I was saying to people was like, “Why didn’t I say that? That isn’t even what happened.” I was losing my mind during those years. I look back going, “I was an emotional mess.”
You were emotionally dying.
I was depressed and it was bad.
I was an addict. I was struggling. If we drink, use drugs, overeat, shop or gamble, we shovel going in. We’re shoveling and stifling. If we get rid of this addiction, we’re open to go within and learn. Getting sober was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Tell me about that. What was that like for you? I want to learn about the whole story. The funny thing is it happened when your career was on the rise and your father’s trying to be there for you the best that he can. These are all things that came up throughout your years, your upbringing, or whatever. Finally, you’re like, “This is me. I got everything I wanted and now I’m struggling.”
It’s because I had nothing inside. It’s all a mask. I wanted to cover. I didn’t want to be me. I hit two bottoms. Both times, I thought that was that my life was over but by God’s grace, I knew I needed help. I went to a facility I call it camp. I went to a 30-day camp that taught me new tools on how to live. Over the last couple of years, everything I do is to live a better life, to live a life as a gentleman when I wanted to be a gentleman. I don’t blame the world on how the world treats me. I look at the world now and how can I treat the world? I rarely say, “My life is bad.” I’ve got a full life. I live with gratitude and whenever I have nothing I do the list and I have much. We all have much. If somebody is struggling, this is a dark time, the best tool you have is the internet. I’m struggling with this addiction. Where are the places to go? People are meeting online. You’re not alone. When was the last time we saw each other? Our lives are full. That was serendipitous.
These Zoom meetings, FaceTiming and Skyping are making our world smaller. Do I want to put my arms around you and feel safe because of your love for me and my love for you? Yes, but I see you. I’m looking at you and this is creating an intimacy that people don’t have. If you’re at home and you’re struggling, you get to reach out to somebody. If you are at home and you’re struggling, you will never be alone because you have this. We always have to think about, “I have nothing now but what do I have?” “I’m struggling because I don’t have this and that.” How much do you have? In the big picture, we have much. Career-wise it’s like, “I was doing all of these things.” It’s the world that’s in this. You’re living in your moment so what does the world want from you? How can you make the world better now?
I love asking people this and I love everything that you’re saying. When you’re in your rock bottom and you decided you need to get help, what was the first thing that you did or thought? What was that first step? I know taking that first step from being there, you’re in despair and you can’t bear to get out of bed. It’s tough. I was there at one point. What was that one thing that changed your perspective and got you out of bed and gave you that little mustard seed inside to want to go and get help?
I didn’t want to die. I remember going into the office and calling my best friend, Sherry. I’ve got Sherry on the West Coast and Lenora on the East Coast. I remember calling Sherry and my twin brother Gregory and said, “I’m dying. I’ve been lying to you. I need some help.” The first thing you have to do is say to somebody, “I need some help.” I knew intellectually what I had to do but emotionally, I didn’t know how to do it. That has to be the first step and that to me takes much courage. You have two choices to make.
I can struggle and when we struggle and don’t seek help, our light gets dim. You can say, “I need help,” and at that moment, somebody grabbed my hand and held my hand. In that they came here, they took care of me. That was one day and there was another day. That was on a Monday when I said, “I’ve been lying to you. My addictions have taken control.” By that Friday, I was in camp. I love social interaction but where people are now have this safety net of being online. You have this safety net. You don’t have to see somebody. You’re not alone.
Do you know how nice it is when somebody calls me and says, “I need your help?” For so long, I didn’t think anybody saw me. It’s so deep-rooted. That’s where I talk about my sobriety because I didn’t feel I had anybody and I have an identical twin brother. I was home on my own in the dark. I felt like I was alone. I have people now that see me and love me. It’s the layers. They love me. You never ever have to struggle. The thing that I’ve learned for so long is many people would look at me, but they never saw me and now I’m like, “I’m an open book.”
I was at dinner with my dear friend, Nora. I call her Nora Flora and I wanted to change the world and be a reporter in late-breaking news and she said, “Larry Zary, you always make women feel pretty. Maybe you should do fashion.” I said, “I needed help.” Don’t be afraid because that weakness will change your life. That’s not weak. That’s strong. People think, “I can’t ask for help. I’m good. I don’t need you.” You’re showing courage, strength, and vulnerability. If the one person you reach out to isn’t there, you’ve got a list of other people. You never have to live this life alone ever.
You’re helping many people by being vulnerable. I’m an open book too and it’s given me a lot of strengths and I’m an open book about mostly everything. It’s hard to be especially with us, we’re on TV. The generation we’ve been brought up in is to be perfect, to look, speak, and sit perfectly. You can’t get a job unless you sit straight as a woman with your legs crossed in the interview and have specific words to say. It’s dismantling that and being vulnerable and being human. Going through these rock bottoms is what changes us for the better and it’s what makes us stronger.
I said to somebody a couple of years ago, “I’m building my lifeboat and I’m choosing people that are going to be in my lifeboat.” You either want to be it or you don’t. If you don’t, I will always think of our moments together fondly with such love. You’re one of my favorite people. I love you.” If it’s not meant to be that has to be okay, because if we hold on to something too tightly, it’s never worth having. Why are we holding on to a relationship that’s not working? Why am I holding on to a show that’s not right? Why do I want to be your friend if you don’t want to be mine? If we’re holding on too tight, it’s not worth having.
If we’re holding it with fear, look at how beautiful. I never looked the other way. One of the best things I loved about my boyfriend is he’s the right person, he’s an amazing man, not my man but the gift that he brought into my life was because I would always walk out of my house and go to the right he pulled me to the left and I saw a whole new world and that was why he came into my life. He’s a great guy but not my guy. In looking at the world, I went hiking and camping. Sebastian and I went skydiving. I did all these things. That’s why he came into my life. He came into my life because I was like, “I know how to love. I’m great at that.”
That’s why it’s that moment. That’s this moment. I also went to camp to heal inside. I’m a big fan of therapy. I’m still in therapy. An hour to go within to look, adjust, and maneuver there’s no reason I put my shit on somebody else from my past. It’s my shit. Why would you ever have to be a part of my stuff? I will share my life but you never have to do my work. It’s my work. Go to therapy. Do your job. If I could say anything to anybody now, like my life master tips, be quiet. Be still because we have the time now.
What does the world want from you? What do you get to give to the world? If you’re struggling in anything, food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, or whatever that is, if that’s where you’re struggling, google it. You’re never alone. If there’s something that you need, you’re never alone. We have Facebook and Instagram. You’re never alone. If somebody is struggling with their addiction, find me on Instagram @LawrenceZarian. Tell me you’re struggling and I’ll help you go someplace so you feel that you’ve heard and you’re accepted.
I will do that but you have to do your work. There are many communities from around the world no matter what it is. You never have to be alone. Everybody’s afraid of leaving their house. I get that. We don’t have to leave our house. We’re told to stay in our house. This is the best time to find out who you are. If your career as an actor was taking off and you’re on every TV show and everything stopped, who are you going to be when all of this is done?
That’s what happened to me.
It didn’t stop. What are you doing? You’re taking this. We have this opportunity to do amazing things. What is your thing? Who are you?
Life Masters came out when I was going through my rock bottom and I feel like I’m giving back and I’m being of service. I do this for free. I do it because it’s a passion and I love interviewing people more than anything. I love life stories and learning about people, celebrities, and not celebrities. It doesn’t matter to me. You’re right, Lawrence.
It’s funny because I was driving to see Gregory and John, my brother’s fiancé. I pulled off the freeway and I saw a homeless guy standing there holding up a sign. He had nothing and my first thought was, “I have so much.” It’s my first thought. I’m in the car. I thought, “We’re on lockdown. He’s not going to make any money because he has no mask.” I always say to people, “Look around, what do you have?” I pulled over and I had a mask and hand sanitizer and gave him some money. This is not about me and look at what I did.
The point of the story is he needed help. I happen to have something. Look around. How much more do you need? If you’re at a place where you don’t have that extra mask or that extra money, you have your heart. Don’t complain about what you’re going through. Call somebody else. We have a friend, Dr. JJ, “Dr. JJ, I was thinking about you and I wanted you to know that I love you.” She’ll say, “How are you.” I’m like, “I’m good. Tell me about you.” At that moment, you made someone else feel like they matter. How much did that cost? Nothing. This is the time to reach out, call, and connect. Do something different that makes your day different. I forgot that it was Tuesday but what are we doing? Make something different. We have so much.
I also find that when you make energy shifts like that, instead of, “I’m depressed. I’m this. I’m that,” and I’ve done the same thing, but I try to live a life of service as much as I can in every single time I do it. It’s like what you’re saying. I don’t do it because of it but what I get in return is incredible.
Also, honor your bad days. I’ve had bad days and I’m like, “I need to check out. I need to watch crap on television. I need to eat more food and I’m going to be okay.”Find out your size, find out who you are, and why you are the way you are. Click To Tweet
What’s your crap on television? We don’t mean that in a bad way.
Netflix. First of all, I’m a huge fan of binge-watching television.
What shows are you watching?
I’m a huge fan of Ozark. I love Boardwalk Empire. I started watching RuPaul Drag Race Season Twelve. I’m obsessed with it. I’m reading a brand new book called On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It is such a good book. Find a good book. I love it when people say, “I’m learning Spanish.” If you want to learn another language, do it. Not one person is going to say to you, “I was struggling with this lockdown.” Get over it. We’re all in it.
That’s true and some people are struggling more than others. They’re dealing with deaths in the family.
The other thing is so many people say, “What can I do?” Put on your gloves and mask. Social distance. Wipe your hands. Take care of yourself. If you are asymptomatic and don’t know that you will save somebody else’s life. How much power do we have? All of it. We have all the power now that we’ve ever had. We have the power to be kind, polite and heal that child within. When we’re on the other side of this, we’re a better extension of ourselves because we’re learning how to survive in a different way. Live a great story. On Instagram, I found this hat in San Diego.
What does it say?
It says, “Live a great story.”
Where can we learn more about that?
They have their own Instagram page, @LiveAGreatStory.
Where can we learn more about you?
It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments.
Can we get it on Amazon?
When did that come out, Lawrence?
Around 2016. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and you’re not with the label you wear. You are who you are. The best review I ever got was from a younger girl who said, “I hated myself until I read your book and now I like myself a little better.” I was like, “Wow.” I wrote that book for that one girl. A lot of people want to go out shopping. Some people said, “He doesn’t get to fashion until Chapter 4.” A lot of people put on clothing to cover up themselves, to shroud themselves.
You’re so much more than just fashion.
Find out what your size is, find out who you are, and why you are the way you are. When you go out and buy something, you’re not buying it because it’s on-trend. You’re buying it because it makes you feel better.
If you’re this person or that person, go get the book because that will help a lot. Who are you speaking to for your book?
Every woman that wants to find out more about herself. Find out who you are and go find their style. Commandment number one, look in the mirror and love what you see. Chapter 9 is, “Thou shall live as if every day is a special occasion.” My grandmother used to always have those soaps in the bathroom wrapped up in plastic, and I’m like, “Grandma, why can’t I use that?” She said, “It’s for guests.” I’m like, “I’m in your house. Why do you only wear your Sunday suit on Sunday?” If we’re noticing more than ever, life is precious. Wear something and do something every day that makes you feel better. I will tell you this we’re all going through it. I woke up a little off. I woke up a little off. This made me feel special, but you did something that made me feel special. Not everybody’s going to be interviewed but you get to also do this with a friend. Call somebody that means something. We have much power to do things.
A lot of it is because we’re in this with each other, whether or not going through a rock bottom if that’s how you feel right now by yourself. I can tell you from firsthand and so can you that going through it by yourself is a whole other experience. We have people now that can relate to what we’re going through. We’re all going through this together. It’s a big difference.
We’re also realizing we’re not alone.
Reach out and another thing is join groups. I’m a part of a women’s group called International Association of Women and it’s one of the best things. I did that when I was down and out. I thought that I want to reach out to new people and new groups. It’s amazing how when you do that, you expand your network, the people that you’re in communication with, and you can reach out for help because there are many people out there willing to help that don’t know that you need it.
It takes a lot of courage to reach out. There are people on the other side.
Thank you, Lawrence. This was amazing.
I love you.
I love you too, Lawrence.
My history with you has always been pure, lovely, and kind. Everybody has their own relationship. Everybody deals with moments with the tools that they have. Listen to where somebody was at. It’s two people in a relationship. This is how I felt. This is what happened to me. I want, feel, and need. When you share this, it’s like, “I wasn’t aware of that.” People are like, “I can’t believe you didn’t feel this way.” I want you to be what I need you to be at that moment to make me feel better. That’s narcissistic. I had this feeling and I had that feeling. My intention was this. I’m sorry, this made you feel that and I would move forward. Hear the response and you get to decide if we want to navigate this road together or not and that is okay.
Either way, it’s okay. If they never reach out to you again, they don’t even give you thanks for the thing. They give you nothing in return. It’s like you said, you’re not resonating. You’re on a different path.
That’s one person. Look at how much we have. We have much. My love for you is so pure. I love you. You’ve only been lovely, kind, sweet, and genuine to me and I will only hold that space for you.
I do the same for you always. Can we finally get together and go for coffee, tea, soda, or whatever that is? I don’t know whatever that is. I’m going to order your book too.
You will find out who you are because it took me years to write this. We could talk forever.
Maybe I’ll have to have you on the show again. Until next time, Lawrence, thanks for taking the time and sharing with us some of your most vulnerable times. That’s what this show is about.
Career-wise, let me say this. You can be at the party in the entertainment world or in fashion, whatever you want to be. There are many different places you can go to. There are some people that wanted to be an actor and now they’re celebrated set designers. You’re at the party. You get to be at the party. It might not be the place card that you wanted to sit at. The business will tell you what it wants from you. Be quiet and listen. When we’re quiet and we listen, I always say that we will hear God.
Be quiet and listen for a while not only for five minutes. Give it time. Thanks for reading the blog. If you want to binge-watch, you can check it out on iTunes and also on my YouTube channel if you want to see the video version. Thanks so much, Lawrence. You are awesome.
- Lawrence Zarian
- Hallmark Channel
- @LawrenceZarian – Instagram
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
- @LiveAGreatStory – Instagram
- Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments
- International Association of Women
- iTunes – Life Masters Podcast
- YouTube – Tanya Memme