Inside YouTuber Laura Lee's Battle to Adopt Her Niece—and Fight Against Cancel Culture - E! Online

Inside YouTuber Laura Lee's Battle to Adopt Her Niece--and Fight Against Cancel Culture

7/28/2021 11:38:00 PM

Inside YouTuber Laura Lee's Battle to Adopt Her Niece--and Fight Against Cancel Culture

To millions of YouTube subscribers, Laura Lee is a longtime makeup guru. But to her teenage niece, she's been a lifeline. In an exclusive interview, the influencer talks guardianship, scandal & more.

On her relationship with her sister today:"We did not have a relationship because of her substance abuse," Laura said. "We obviously were not on speaking terms because I was trying to take her kid away from her and it was very ugly."

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However, her sister's incarceration in 2020 and the death of their mother from COVID-19, which Laura detailed in a January video, have actually since brought the women together. "We're so much closer and we talk like every week," Laura said. "She is clean off drugs, she's back to being my sister and she's in a really great program in prison."

On encouraging Eryn to have a relationship with her mom:"I always tell Eryn," she said, "'Don't close the door on that because that's always gonna be your mom. I know you're a teenager right now. That teenager age—those things aren't always as important, but when you get a little older, you're gonna probably want to have a relationship with her,' so I always encourage her to always say hello and don't close off that relationship."

On having kids of her own:"I've always been really, really weary of having my own kids. I never really wanted them, so I did wonder if having Eryn will make me want to have kids, and to be honest, not really," she shared. "Y'all think babies are cute—try raising a teenager."

She explained that since her husbandTyler Williamswas adopted, they've thought about pursuing that route. "I'm not opposed to that. There's also 'Should I have a kid?'" she noted. "I'm 32, so I feel like I'm sitting in limbo. I do have a clock that's ticking, so it does put pressure on me for sure, but I just don't know. I know if I did have a kid, I wouldn't regret it."

Donato Sardella/Getty ImagesOn what she took away from her 2018 scandal:In August 2018, Laura came under fire for racist and offensive tweets that had resurfaced. After her tearful apology video was also criticized, she deleted it and subsequently issued a new one, explaining that she came off "more as a victim" in that video. "I take full responsibility for the things that I re-tweeted and the things that I tweeted six-and-a-half years ago," she told viewers in that second video. "I am truly sorry. I have changed so much as a human being in the past six and half years, I have grown so much and have gained so much knowledge and respect. I know that prejudice and stereotypes are not funny ever, in any way fashion or form."

Speaking with E! News, she said, "The biggest lesson I learned is that I'm not the victim. It really wasn't about me, and I did make a big mistake, but I'm not the victim here and aside from that, I learned that there was a ton of work that I needed to do on myself, which is hard to realize."

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"I also needed to really acknowledge the people I was putting in my life, the people I was putting myself around and how that was affecting me and the drama that was going on in my life," she continued, "so I definitely learned a lot."

On whether she would have done anything differently back then knowing what she does now:"Yes and no. Every single thing that happens in our life happens for a reason and I feel like I wouldn't be where I'm at today or learn those hard lessons that I did need to learn if something did happen differently," she said. "Do I wish I could have learned and known more back then? Absolutely."

As for whether she's gone back and rewatched her apology video? That's a hard no. Still, she said, "If anyone wonders, I have not forgotten, but definitely would have handled this situation differently, more maturely, but I'm so happy I took the time to learn from that and to grow from that."

On how her experience shaped her feelings on cancel culture:"I don't support it whatsoever," she declared. "I actually hate it and the reason I hate it so bad is because it does not allow people the opportunity to grow, to change, to any of that. It's just like being cut off. You're dead to me."

"We are all human. We all make mistakes. I'm going to continue to make mistakes," she elaborated. "There's just no mercy behind cancel culture. It seems like from my time to now, it has gotten so big and so much more aggressive than I could ever imagine it to get, so in my head, I'm like, 'Where does it go from here?' It does worry me for the safety of another human being. From my end of things, I know what's going on in their head and how hard it is, so it worries me."

A post shared by Laura Lee (@larlarlee)On starting her online clothing boutique after her cosmetics company:In 2017, Laura launched her eponymous makeup brand, but by the end of 2020, she revealed she had another business up her sleeve in an effort to cast a wider entrepreneurial net. "I felt very limited with the cosmetics brand because it was only makeup that I could really come out with under the umbrella of Laura Lee Los Angeles to make it make sense," she explained. "Online, I'm just a beauty guru and I want so much more because in my real life, I have my niece I'm raising. I have a family. I'm a real person. I'm not just a walking robot that talks about beauty."

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With that in mind, she shifted gears to include more lifestyle content. "Then I really felt compelled, like, I need to do something more because I love creating. I love owning a business and I just felt really limited...I was like, 'Let's start a clothing boutique,'" she recalled. "It's curated by me, but I feel like with Nudie Patootie, I can do so much more. There's so many things I can come out with under that umbrella and create."

On the dynamic between her andFOOL Coveragepodcast co-host Manny MUA: Read more: E! News »

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