You probably know Judge Lauren Lake from her court room drama series, where she wisely presides over paternity cases searching for truth and redemption for the men, women, and children who walk through her doors. You probably love her for her down-to-earth, witty and full of life personality in the courtroom, but it is her passion and desire to inspire and empower that sparked her very fulfilling career.
THZ was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to speak with Judge Lake and my impression was nothing short of wonderful. Her show, which continues to garner success and popularity as it enters its third season, is not the first of its kind, but it is unique in its ability to heal and provide people with the tools to move forward.
“We are a show that has more than one aha moment. Are you or are you not the father is the first and most people consider this the most important moment, but the second aha moment is the most important and that is, what are you going to do with this information. We are ushering people into truth, out of confusion, and out of denial.”
Judge Lake’s unique tools, as more than a judge, but a motivational speaker and writer advocating for women, love, and relationships allow her to do so, but it may surprise you that a court show was never her intention.
As a graduate of law from Wayne State University with concentrations in family, criminal, and entertainment law, television was undoubtedly a route unforeseen. Lake was actually approached at a bar association back in 2001 by a producer who was interested in having more women of color in her field, and “it completely changed the trajectory of my career,” she told me. It gave her the platform to become a relationship expert with the opportunity to travel the country and speak on major networks such as MSNBC, CNN and FOX. The creator of the show followed her career for many years and recognized her passion to enable women and their families to enjoy “limitless living,” as she calls it.
Watching the show you often see broken women, men, and children all struggling to keep themselves and their unit together, so I asked Judge Lake why these women wait so long to tell the men that have been raising their children that they may not be the biological father. Or why tell them at all? Why break up the happy home?
Fear, shame, and a nagging conscious.
“Some women know good and well they have slept with more than one man and they have what I like to call selective memory because that man that has been raising their child is the better fit, or will be the better care-giver…Our minds are so powerful. They’ve told themselves the lie so often that they really believe it. [Also] our culture has changed. Everyone is very vocal about their feelings, people are telling those secrets, and sharing them and eventually they come out.”
So, what advice do you give these men, women, and especially the children who are still so impressionable to be able to live successful lives after these potentially traumatic experiences?
“They have to understand that you have to let the past be the past. It can only hinder you if you allow it to, but you have to be willing to do the work and for many of them the first steps are walking through my court room doors and I commend them for that…Life is not a bright blue Tiffany box with a bow wrapped around it, we all have limits. I like to think of my show as a mini ministry of me. I am just a vessel to help people discover their passion for life, limitless and heartfelt humility. It’s never too late for a brand new start.”
As for women specifically, what is the most important message that they should take away from your show, or what is the most important message you have delivered to women while traveling the country?
“Learning to be authentic is the most important thing I can tell a young woman. They don’t value themselves and I always say people with a purpose just move differently, people with a positive agenda move differently. They need to understand the value of their body and being in charge of it, whether that means being sexually responsible or getting educated about their bodies, they need to do the work.”
I found it incredible that Judge Lake is able to handle these emotionally charged cases with such composure and level-headed, but genuine responses, while managing the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, which she co-founded, and contributing to panels dedicated to women and their self-love, all while managing to be a mother and a wife.
I wondered, how working on the show has had an effect on her parenting decisions and if she’s gained any new perspectives as a mother based on the experiences she’s had in her courtroom. Judge Lake chuckled as she recalled a case she had just last week about a mother, whose daughter became pregnant by a boyfriend she highly disapproved of.
“My son is only 5 years old now, but if he ever brings home a girl I disapprove of, before I completely go off and I am going to allow the relationship to take its course, but I am constantly learning and growing from the families in my court room. They teach me about what it means to not have that missing piece in your life, and I don’t want my son to ever feel that. I want him to live a healthy, happy, and informed life.”
Season 3 of Judge Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court has begun, but you can catch the celebrity case involving BET starts Frankie Lons and Elite Noel, on September 24! Season 3 will be another emotional season with cases of the same heavy nature, but this time around they are “upping the ante,” and giving people more resources to move forward whether it is paying for people to get their GED or providing counseling services.
As a woman, what resonated with me most was having a purpose in life and moving through life differently because of that. Having the knowledge, responsibility, love for myself, and the confidence to be authentic, but also not letting mistakes confine me, was the most important message I could have received from Judge Lake and for that I am grateful. THZ wishes her all the best on her show and all the best to those women who have the courage to walk through her doors. We can all be better and we can all live without limitations.