With her striking good looks and her veteran bona fides, Miss Lauren Young has quickly become an internet sensation. This former Army MP's relentless patriotism made her a perfect fit for Nine Line Apparel.
Lauren Young is not your typical Instagram sensation. You won’t find any hair and makeup tips, no heavily filtered shots of her striking a yoga pose on some far-flung beach. Instead, you’ll find photos of her staring down the scope of an M40, replacing the bolts in AR, and tearing down a shooting course with a Glock, all while looking fabulous.
But the stunning array of firearms are more than just accessories—Young is no gun bunny. An Army veteran who spent time in Afghanistan with some of the worst terrorists in the world, she’s blowing up Instagram with a unique blend of beauty and veteran bona fies.
South Magazine:You studied pre-law as well as psychology at University of Nevada, Reno. As someone well versed in psychology, what’s the psychology behind the attraction to beautiful women and guns?
Lauren Young: When people see an attractive girl holding a gun that’s never really a combination you usually think of… and it’s different. There’s this attraction where you say, “OK, I was wrong about you. I see this attractive girl and she can shoot a gun.” The context of those two things and being wrong in your assumptions makes it more intriguing and therefore more attractive.
SM; And then you find out she’s pre-law and served in the military…
LY: Yes! Even when I do tell people I was in the military, they’re like “Oh, Air Force?” No. “Oh, medic?” That’s what they always assume.
SM: How did the Instagram thing start for you?
LY: It was definitely not something I ever thought in a million years would ever be a possibility for me… My focus was on going into law school, then going on to be a J.A.G. officer. Then I get an email from a local photographer named Ben Davis who owns Battle Born Photography in Reno. He’s been taking pictures for a really long time and he likes concept photo shoots. He asked me if I wanted to do a photo shoot inspired by the video game The Division. I love video games, so I was like “Absolutely.” He wasn’t getting paid, I wasn’t getting paid. It was just for fun.
He posted them on his Instagram page, which wasn’t huge at the time, but the gun community had already been tracking his photography. He posted his photos of me and they just kind of exploded. They were shared all over the place. I even saw them on Tom Clancy’s the State of the Game.
They kept getting shared and more people started following me and as they followed me they found out, “OK, this girl’s in the Army. This girl enjoys firearms. Holy cow..” All these people came out of nowhere and started paying attention to what I do in my life. And it snowballed, and here we are.
SM: And along the way you caught the attention of Nine Line Apparel?
I met Danny (Merritt, co-owner of Nine Line Apparel) at Show Show last year. I had been friends with Graham Allen who also works with them. He introduced me to them and it segued into them asking how I feel about their brand. I obviously felt very positively because we have the same views. We started working together and it’s been awesome. I moved to Savannah from Reno to be a little closer and have been helping get the brand out and they’ve been helping me—it’s been a good relationship.
SM: Part of your appeal is your authenticity as a veteran. Can you tell us a little bit about your time in the Army?
LY: I enlisted as Military Police and was in for eight years in the 485th MP company. I worked on Camp Sabalu-Harrison, a detention facility for a year while I was deployed. I basically babysat terrorists for a year and helped train the Afghan National Army on how to perform their duties as detention officers. The most difficult aspect was me being a female, between the detainees and the ANA themselves. It was difficult initially to get them to pay attention to me. I definitely had to be more assertive and aggressive than anyone else to get anything done.
We had an international incident occur with the burning of the Qurans. That was a huge thing—that actually happened at our camp. It was seen and the news spread all through Afghanistan, so everyone was on edge. We were worried about blue on green crime—ANA attacking coalition forces. That was the more intense part of the employment. We thought they weren’t even going to show up to work.
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