Bio: My name is Lauren. I was featured on TLC's My Strange Addiction as a Furry. It was part of season 1 episode 7, which was filmed in 2009. If you have any questions about stuff behind the scenes, what it's like to be filmed, if television is really 'true to life', or even questions about the furry fandom in general, I am here to answer as best as I can.

And an image of me, in my fursuit, behind the scenes getting my mic set up.

EDIT It appears I have been gilded. Thank you kind stranger!

Comments: 165 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

OgEnsomniac52 karma

Is it a hobby or a fetish?

I honestly want to know..

tacticalsnackpack100 karma

For me, it is 100% a hobby and 0% fetish. I do not deny that there are others who use it as a fetish, but when you think about it, there are going to be people engaging in sexual activities no matter what fandom/group/culture you look into. Also, with fursuits costing upwards of $2,000 I find it silly to destroy something like that in such a way.

[deleted]-92 karma


tacticalsnackpack34 karma

Don't be rude.

NorbitGorbit33 karma

Did they provide any compensation? What kind of release forms were there?

tacticalsnackpack55 karma

Yes, they did. Not a large amount by any means, but it was considerable. I had to sign a contract basically stating that they have the right to alter/use/sell my footage in any which way they please, just put in a "nicer" way. Supposedly I was able to say/do as I please to an extent (which ended up not being entirely true), but once it is sent off to the editors, it is not of my, nor the crew's control what becomes of it.

NorbitGorbit11 karma

were you prohibited from appearing on competing programs, or using footage from the show, or anything like that?

tacticalsnackpack27 karma

If I was prohibited from appearing on other programs, I was not aware of it. I was asked to be on the Bill Cunningham show about a year after TLC aired, but I happily declined. As for footage, I was not given any sort of footage, b-roll, or anything so I had the same access to it as anyone else; via TV or the internet. I'm sure the same rules apply to me as they do everyone else with copyright laws and such.

AmazingfulP3NTA28 karma

Hello Lauren sorry if this question offends you or is weird ..but do you ever have sexual desires to use a furry suit for sex?

tacticalsnackpack50 karma

No offense taken! Personally, I do not. When you think about it, fursuits can cost upwards of $1,500, sometimes well over $2,000. It would be a silly idea to destroy something like that, in my opinion. I don't deny that it does happen in the fandom, just as it can happen in any fandom or group, but it is not something I would ever find any interest in partaking in.

imdavo25 karma


tacticalsnackpack12 karma

You pretty much hit the nail right on the head with your description! And you're very welcome! I'm glad I was able to clear the air about some misconceptions. Thank you for adopting a more open mind about the world around you, I feel we need more people like you.

121314151127 karma

Have you been recognized in public since the show's aired?

tacticalsnackpack31 karma

Only once have I actually been approached by someone; the other times, it has only been my friends "announcing" it to otherfriends in conversation, since I was quite ashamed of it shortly after it had aired and I did not speak about it.

121314151126 karma

Why would you agree be on it in the first place if you were ashamed afterwards?

tacticalsnackpack66 karma

At first, I thought it sounded like a great idea. When the producer contacted me, they made it a point that this was a show about people's strange hobbies, and wanted to showcase the making of a fursuit. Furries have always had a bad rap with the media, so I thought that this could be a way to shed a different light on it. Of course once I was knee-deep, it all evolved into something different, and I was ashamed with the way they portrayed me.

121314151128 karma

Would you say the portrayal of you was accurate? Or was it edited in a way that made you look more "strange"?

tacticalsnackpack220 karma

It was definitely twisted. They portrayed me as a jobless, education-less shut-in who uses a mask to hide behind the fact that I cannot accept the death of my father as a reality. I was attending school during the time of filming, and while I am a bit of an introvert at times, I am in no way close to what they had shown. My father passing away does still put a heavy weight on my heart, but it does not inhibit my life in any way. I have never spent "countless hours" holed up in my room building costumes, nor do I "wear the costume to family events and cannot see myself in public without it." That was honestly the most shocking part to me, how they made it seem that I never took the costume off. Before the airing of the show, I had worn the costume twice, and both times were for fitting purposes. Every since, and up until this day, I reserve one weekend a year to wearing a fursuit; during an annual convention. I have a completely normal life outside of this; I have a job, a loving family, a boyfriend, a group of great friends and I am a musician and firearm freak more than I am a furry. It is merely a small hobby of mine, but they took what information I gave and ran with it.

KeenBlade63 karma

Wow, that's disgusting. The more I hear, the less interested I am in anything TLC is selling. I really appreciate you taking the time to set things straight. I don't like the way people like them promote that culture of ridicule and finger-pointing.

tacticalsnackpack29 karma

You're very welcome! It seems that they have gone from being an educational channel to one that simply craves drama, and that is quite sad.

artemisdragmire7 karma

No offense to you at all, but as a fellow furry, this is exactly why the general consensus in the fandom is that of "Avoid the media at all costs".

It's not because we want to hide, it's because the media needs to sell ratings, and controversy and "weirdness" sells. Showing the truth of the matter doesn't sell them ad space.

As a curiosity, before you appeared on this show, had you attended any conventions, and if so, had you attended any of Uncle Kage's "Furry and the Media" panels or watched them on youtube?

GOATgal12123 karma

Before this, I have not. If I was more aware of it all, I would not have gone onto this show. This is mostly why I was so shaednofnit right after.

artemisdragmire4 karma

Is this an alt of the person doing the AMA?

Assuming it is...:

No worries. You seem like a pretty genuine person so I don't hold it against you.

It'd be nice if we didn't need what is practically a classroom course on how to approach the media and how to handle being approached by the media, but that's the world we live in.

tacticalsnackpack1 karma

Whoops, I apologize, I just read over this now. That was my sister's account, she's a lurker and was logged into my phone, haha. That was my response :) And I meant 'ashamed of it' with that weird letter garble. Darn mobile.

idontsmokecrack6 karma

I used to think you were weird as fuck when I saw that episode. I apologize I shouldn't have been so naive. Fuck TLC

tacticalsnackpack5 karma

Well, that means TLC did their job well, at least! And no need to apologize :)

NorbitGorbit21 karma

what's the relationship between furry scene and professionals employed at places like Disneyland/world? does disney try to screen for furries, or are they actively sought out, or is it a don't ask don't tell situation?

tacticalsnackpack27 karma

I know of some furries who are mascots for teams and schools, it actually gives them a head-start since some mascots are actual performers and usually not some Joe Schmoe they picked up off of the street. As for Disney and similar things, I am unsure. I know there is a strict guideline and audition process to go through to become an actor there, so I'm not sure if something like that would really matter in the end. I never really hear much about the association between these two, to be honest. The only ones I know of work as janitors there!

NorbitGorbit10 karma

Is there some kind of resistance in the scene for people making it their livelihoods?

tacticalsnackpack33 karma

From an outsider's perspective, yes. For some reason, people tend to focus on the negative aspects of things that are generally unknown to them, and the furry fandom is no exception. The vast majority of furries are simply artists and enthusiasts in one way or another, though there are of course those who go a different route; namely using it as a fetish. Media and the general public tends to take that and run with it, claiming that furries are sexual deviants and perverts who have sexual attractions to actual animals and children, which couldn't be any further from the truth. I've explained more about what being a furry means in other comments, which you can read if you like.
**Edit. I should add that there have been many furries who were ostracized by their families/friends and even employers and co-workers for their hobby choice. It is a touchy subject for some people because of the way media has portrayed us, and because of the stigma and lack of understanding, it tends to cause problems.

As for other furries seeing others making this their livelihood, it is neither ignored nor acknowledged. It's sort of a "to each their own" type of thing. If you want to become a professional mascot, use your fursuit to help raise charity money, wear it to children's hospitals and retirement homes to bring smiles, become a professional artist, etc, that's awesome and you have pretty much everyone's support. It's not something people make a huge deal about, however. It's all a part of how the fandom works. It's a giant melting pot of different backgrounds, views, and personalities, and we accept it all.

NorbitGorbit7 karma

which documentaries or feature articles out there do you think have accurately portrayed the scene?

tacticalsnackpack10 karma

I don't really feel there are any mainstream medias that have correctly portrayed it. To find more realistic looks into the lives of furries, it would be best to look into small, local news outlets or informal interviews or even videos from actual furries themselves.

Here is one local news outlet who did a small piece on Anthrocon, a Pittsburgh convention that has pretty much captured the heart of the town and they have come to love it. In turn, the furries have helped Fernando's Cafe, the very first business to ever "roll out the welcome mat" to the furries when the convention first started, from going out of business.

This is also a really great interview about the fandom by a bigger news outlet

So like I said, it's sort of tough to find a documentary that does us justice, as they usually want some shock factor for people to watch them.

tacticalsnackpack18 karma

If this doesn't get buried, I will answer more questions tomorrow! Thanks for asking some great questions so far, everyone!

Sedatephobia17 karma

Bah, it sucks to know that you were twisted to fit their agenda. But that's television and TLC for you.

There is a small population of people who identify as "otherkin" do you identify as such or are you just having fun in the hobby?

And as much flack as I'll get.. I find fursuits and the personalities portrayed super adorable. I can't help but smile.

Mascots, on the other hand.. Terrify me.

tacticalsnackpack8 karma

I am not an otherkin. This is just a fun hobby for me that I really just partake in once a year, otherwise I'm just a normal person, to be completely honest.

Theandric17 karma

Do Furries become Fuzzies as they get older?

tacticalsnackpack11 karma

/u/Inukaza is correct! We refer to them as Greymuzzles, much like others are affectionately named Greybeards.

Apple_chip16 karma

What's furry about like can you explain ?

tacticalsnackpack33 karma

Furries are people who have an interest in anthropomorphic animals (animals with human-like qualities. Voices, standing on 2 legs, etc. Think Bugs Bunny and Disney's Robin Hood and such.)

They can usually be classed in a few groups, though there are many, many more. Basically, there are: Artists, Fursuiters, and general fans. Artists use many, many different medias to express their interest in "anthros", whether it be paint, pencil, digital, or building fursuits. Some create art for fun, and others are even on a professional level and use it as a full-time job! Then, there are the fursuiters who enjoy donning hand-made costumes of their own characters, whether it is for their own enjoyment, or for the enjoyment of others. Many, many fursuiters visit children and hospitals to bring smiles to people's faces, and many use them for charity, as well. Some just bring them out with friends or other furries to let loose and have fun! Then, there are general fans. Those who have no particular interest in fursuiting or creating art, but who simply enjoy the fun and expressive atmosphere that surrounds the furry fandom!

Whether you like to draw, make people smile, raise money for charities, meet new people, or if you just love to party with a huge group of fun-loving and kind people, the furry fandom is a great thing to be a part of.

aliengiraffe12 karma

Are there any furrys that are looked down on? And why?

tacticalsnackpack23 karma

There are, and all for different reasons. I won't go into detail to protect their identities, but there are some who have shed some really bad light and wrong ideas about the fandom on television, some who have done immoral and illegal things in public while wearing fursuits, and others who are generally horrible people that happen to be in the fandom. They are all people who, if were part of another fandom, would be looked down upon all the same.

Table_biscuit11 karma

That show usually creates a storyline of how an addiction is ruining the person's life, but on here you seem to honestly just enjoy furry-ism as a hobby and normally go about your life. Were there any specific instances where you felt the way they edited something you said or did was ridiculous or unfair?

tacticalsnackpack23 karma

Absolutely. I commented more in-depth about that here but I can elaborate more.

A few things I can note right off the bat are: It was not my choice to go to the therapist, nor was I ever at one before the show ever started. That is part of the schtick.
They had me say things over and over again in different inflections so they can easily splice them together. They also recorded me at times when I didn't really know, so I suppose they could have used that as fuel as well.
I did many, many things that I did not want to do, and even when I expressed my disinterest or safety concerns, they had me doing them anyway. Like when I was standing on a street corner distracting traffic (furries do NOT go out into public like this purely for attention), or running around in a muddy, fallen tree-limb littered forest in a mask I can barely see or breathe out of, and was honestly running for about 45 minutes straight, waiting for people to come by so they can milk comments out of them. When they heard my family was taking a family trip to Starved Rock National Park, they basically invited themselves and prompted me to suit up, pretty much ruining my family vacation and making me make an ass out of myself in public.

Plus, they make me seem like I am a complete shut-in who doesn't know how to face reality without a mask, which is obviously a lie. And the fact that they used my father as a crutch for my "problem" infuriated me to no end.

Table_biscuit3 karma

When they forced you to do things you didn't want to do, how exactly did they force you? What would have happened if you were like, "No, I'm not doing that. I would never do that, that's ridiculous." Also, when they were misleading about what the show you were filming was, did they not tell you the title of the show was My Strange Addiction?

I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience! TLC is awful to unfairly portray people however they want like that. I wonder why people agree to do the long-running shows like "Sister Wives," when what you described sounds like a personal hell.

tacticalsnackpack10 karma

They did not tell me the title at first, and instead, said it was just a show about odd and unique hobbies. And they didn't like hog-tie me and bring me places or anything of course, but they pretty much gave me no other option. They'd basically tell me to be at X place at X time, and the group of about 4 crew members would already know what they want me to do and everything. When I expressed my disinterest about certain things, they'd always say something like "It'll be quick, just get out there and do your thing." or "We may not even use this, it's fine. We just need lots of footage to play around with" and would sort of push me until I did what they wanted.

And long-running shows may be run differently than mine did. I'm sure even people who were on MSA had different experiences as well.

InTupacWeTrust10 karma

  • Was there any behind the scenes stuff that you wished aired, or something that they edited out that you wished they did not?

  • Did you sell your furries?

tacticalsnackpack29 karma

Oh, absolutely. There was one scene where, for about 2 straight hours, I played with a very large group of young children at a park. I chalked out a hopscotch game and we played. There were hugs and high-fives all around. I chased them, they chased me, I was quite often surrounded by curious kids who wanted to tug at my tail and ears and such. It was such a heart-warming event, but they did not air a single moment of it. I am sure it was because it would show something good happening, and they didn't really want that to be their aim.

IamDRock9 karma

Was anything scripted did they give you a lot of direction or did they just tell you to go about your life?

tacticalsnackpack14 karma

At no point did I ever do anything I would normally do. Everything was either scripted, guided, or I was plopped into a situation that I did not want to be in. I have explained how twisted it was in a few comments above.

mralex2898 karma

How are you?

tacticalsnackpack9 karma

I'm doing quite well, thanks! How are you?

vancouverlizard8 karma

Is it an addition or a hobby?

tacticalsnackpack12 karma

It is a simple hobby, and not even my biggest hobby, either. I have responded more in-depth about this already, but the name of the show and the way they have edited it made it seem as if it were an actual addiction or problem, which it is not.

TheWalkenDude7 karma

As an outsider, It is hard for me to see how anthro becomes something like a hobby, and kind of embarrassingly, it makes me feel kind of weirded out by it. I'd like to really not feel that and this thread has helped a bit.

So my question is, I'm actually interested in what you find interesting about anthropomorphic animals? I think of my own hobbies, I play video games because in my mind they are an enjoyable way to consume a story/stimulate the strategy parts of mah brain, I like horror because I enjoy the feeling of dread and the adrenaline rush it gives me. What is the equivalent of that for you and anthro?

Thank you for answering my question! Hope you have a good day!

tacticalsnackpack9 karma

You're welcome, and thank you for asking an interesting question!

For me, I am a digital artist part-time. I find it very fun to create a personality, then a design of my very own. Then, if I so choose, I can breathe life into my own creation by building a costume of it and bringing their personality to light. It takes some brain-power to think of a name, color scheme, species, general look, emotions, and it can be pretty time consuming, but also very fun. I just think it is amazing how people can create these elaborate characters out of their own minds, and then out of simple materials and making them almost life-like. While I enjoy other hobbies; I am a musician, a gamer, I enjoy firearms and hiking as well as other things, the furry fandom is just another one of those to me. Spending time with a community of fun, like-minded people is all it can really be summed up to. :)

LegendaryG_host7 karma

Are you still a Furry?

tacticalsnackpack10 karma

Yes, I am, though I don't participate in many "furry" things anymore. I create furry-related digital art aside from my regular retail job from time to time, and I attend one convention a year.

NopeSarah3 karma

This is pretty much the stage I'm at. My panda costume doesn't come out except for conventions and only for a little. Used to be a time when I would wear mine most of a convention and drink beer in it (which was fun) but I've grown up a bit.

tacticalsnackpack3 karma

Yeah, I think everyone has that phase where you're so into it at first because it's a new thing to you and fun and exciting, but then it just becomes a once in a while thing, almost a norm to you.

NopeSarah3 karma

It's also expensive as hell if you want to be "popular" in the Fandom. I know people in financial ruin over buying fursuits.

Right now I would rather spend my money on my house.

tacticalsnackpack2 karma

It really is. I think the whole "popufur" thing is ridiculous, but to each their own!

lepaperbag5 karma

Hi, thanks for posting! It is really interesting to read how the media skewed you documentary piece. I'll admit I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the furry fandom, so please forgive my rambling!

I recall watching documentary a few months ago which demonstrated the various interpretations of the fandom, from those such as yourself who simply wears fursuits to events, to those who believe in living in 'pack' relationships.

My question is this: What sort of stuff happens at a furry convention? What I mean is, is it mainly artists exhibiting their work? Or do the conventions also cater to those who have a different view of the furry fandom, such as those who perhaps give it a bad name?

Thanks in advance. : D

tacticalsnackpack7 karma

Hi there! You're very welcome! :)

There is so much happening at furry conventions. There are Panels, which can be anywhere from "How to Build a Fursuit" to "Let's play Cards Against Humanity!" to ones that are completely unrelated to the fandom, like musician jam sessions and such. Then there are dance competitions which are quite self explanatory. There is also the Dealer's Den and Artist's Alley, places where artists, fursuit makers and people of many, many other crafts come to sell their wares. There is of course partying, lounging, picture-taking, meeting new people. You can always get a look at what they're like on youtube, just search "Furry Convention" and pick a video :)

lepaperbag5 karma

Thanks for the reply, and the advice, I shall certainly check it out! : D

tacticalsnackpack4 karma

You're very welcome!

sme15baseball5 karma

Did they force you to act a little differently to make better TV or did they say just do you and it was an accurate description of you? Did they approach you to be on the show, did you approach them or did someone recommend you?

tacticalsnackpack8 karma

They approached me with the intention of this being a show about "Odd and unique hobbies", which pulled me in. Otherwise, I never would have gone onto a show called "My Strange Addicion" and put either myself or furries in a horrible light.

They absolutely had me act differently, and often fed me lines or told me "That's good, now say it like this, while looking down. Oh, and stroke your fursuit head, just like this." I also responded more about it here and [here]( about how I did things I did not want to do and how they twisted it.

Anablue5 karma

So, basically what your saying is TLC fabricated a good part of your story ? But, once you signed, you have no say otherwise ? I guess this tell us a good deal about reality shows.

tacticalsnackpack4 karma

Basically. And even worse, once it goes to the editors, they can literally do whatever they like to it.

QuantumAwesome5 karma

What animal do you dress as? How did you choose?

tacticalsnackpack4 karma

Currently, I have a "Dog" fursuit, nothing special. I'm not really sure of what species to be honest, so I'll have to think about that. I didn't really choose her, as I actually traded the fursuit you saw on the show for the one I have currently. I do have other characters that I do not have fursuits of, and I chose those merely because I like the way the breed/species looks.

mayupvoterandomly4 karma

You were accused of tracing someone's artwork to create the fursona which appeared on the show and it caused quite an uproar (no pun intended) in the fandom. However, I feel like you never really got a chance to explain why it appeared in the show or why it was presented as your own work. Was it just a poor choice on your part?

tacticalsnackpack6 karma

Whoops, I posted from my sisters reddit account! That was me, below :) I aso spoke to the artist it belonged to and it was settled shortly after.

FidgetMyMidget4 karma

What are your thoughts on bronies?

tacticalsnackpack10 karma

I have a very "live and let live" attitude. I am not one personally, but I do not harbor any strong feelings either way towards them.

TheOffTopicBuffalo4 karma

Are you in a bowling alley here? How the hell do you bowl with that hat/headpiece on?

tacticalsnackpack5 karma

I am. The eyes of the fursuit are also the eyes you see out of. To be fair, I didn't do a very good job, that day. :)

A very, very common thing among furries, believe it or not, is bowling meets! Mini-conventions containing about 50-150 people come together every month or few months to bowl and have a good time!

geopco4 karma

Are you currently wearing your fursuit?

tacticalsnackpack5 karma

No, I am not. I only wear it one weekend a year for the annual convention. Otherwise, it stays all neat and packed away inside a bin.

sphericks4 karma

Some furry fans seem to have a chip on their shoulder about TV and media - not undeservedly - but not always reasonably either. Have you caught backlash from other fans about "ruining it for them" by going on TV?

tacticalsnackpack8 karma

Absolutely. A few people found my full name, my address, phone number, what school I went to and my major, and my boyfriend's information. I received quite a few empty death threats from that. On a more tame note, I had many, many people contacting me about how foolish I am and how much they hate me for "ruining" everything. It was all forgotten in about 2 months, though.

Seebaren3 karma

Why is r/furry significantly inferior to twitter when it comes to meeting furs?

tacticalsnackpack3 karma

I don't frequent either of those very often at all, so I unfortunately cannot answer that as well as I would like. I find it is best to meet furries through sites like FurAffinity or to go to a convention or a local meet!

yeswesodacan3 karma

Have you been recognized in public because of the show?

tacticalsnackpack3 karma

Only once, actually. Not that I'm complaining.

amigay5472 karma

Have you cut back on furry behavior since the show? Or have you chosen to keep being yourself?

tacticalsnackpack4 karma

I didn't really cut back on it because of the show, I did simply because my life is more demanding nowadays.

214b2 karma

1) did you receive any compensation for participating on the show?

2) do you think this experience will help you stand up for yourself more in the future?

tacticalsnackpack2 karma

I did. Not a large amount by any means, but it was considerable.

And this experience didn't really sway me either way on helping me stand up for myself. Instead, it made me more aware about certain things, mostly the media and what sticking your neck out, even if you think you're helping, can really do.

blueberrybliss2 karma

Super late to this thread, but I'm curious to know something. How do you feel about Remi Gaillard and the fandom surrounding him?

tacticalsnackpack5 karma

I am not sure who that is, I'm sorry! :(

myrainbowistoohigh2 karma

I remember you! I thought you were terribly cute. This is probably a weird question but have you ever been asked to come in character to a childrens birthday party or is entertaining in a fur suit something you would consider? You seemed to really enjoy making people happy, it would be a sweet way to share your hobby.

Also I'm really sorry about your father. I know it never gets easy but I hope you've found closure <3

tacticalsnackpack1 karma

Thank you! :) I haven't, and I couldn't use that fursuit anymore because I don't own it any longer. And while I do enjoy making people smile and all, I probably wouldn't do any party-type things at the moment anyway, to be honest.

The_Ninja_Nero1 karma


how old are you anyway, you look pretty young.

tacticalsnackpack3 karma

It is not, you can read more about what it really is to me in responses above. I am currently 23. The show was shot back in 2009.

The_Ninja_Nero3 karma

I didn't think it was, I just felt the need to ask.

so you were 18, I wish I had a suit when I was 18. I assume you've upgraded suits? Any specific changes worth mentioning?

tacticalsnackpack1 karma

I made it myself in 6 days from start to finish because of the show, hence why it was so poorly done. And I haven't "upgraded", per se. But I did trade the suit that was on the show for a different one. It is a completely different character.

The_Ninja_Nero1 karma

Got any pictures? Unless it's the one shown in the post.

tacticalsnackpack3 karma

Sure! This was around the time I received it, I have refurbished it since then, though.

The_Ninja_Nero2 karma

Sorry to have to ask but what's the species?

tacticalsnackpack4 karma

It's a Fennec Fox, or so I was told. I plan on completely re-doing the ears and turning it into a regular canine of some sort.

S2_Statutes-2 karma

I'm curious if this is some sort of psychological issue you may have. Like maybe you'd rather hide in a costume than face the world as you are kind of thing. Have you ever seen a psychologist/psychiatrist? Not trying to offend, just curious.

tacticalsnackpack10 karma

No offense taken. I think you will have a better understanding on my view form this by reading my other responses above rather than taking the episode as truth. I do not wear the costume other than one single weekend a year during a convention, otherwise it stayed neatly packed away in a bin. I have many, many other hobbies that take priority over the furry fandom. And while I am slightly introverted, I am mentally healthy. I hope this helped clear some misconceptions! :)