Lacey Schwartz

Lacey Schwartz on Leaning In, Little White Lies And Imperfect Love

Who: Lacey Schwartz, Truth Teller, Filmmaker, Mama Of Two


Why She’s Foxy: After digging up a wild family secret at the age of eighteen, she discovered her roots, directed a PBS documentary and found her strength in storytelling

On Her Childhood: “I grew up an only child in the deep in the country in Accord, New York. You couldn't see other houses from where I was, and it felt like a bubble. You would have to ask my parents, but I think I was pretty chill as a kid. I was a very rational child who could entertain myself. My favorite books were Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin and Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.”


On Motherhood:  “I have two twin boys now who I think are comparatively quite energetic.  I never could have imagined I would be the mother of two identical twin boys. They have an incredible and strong relationship to each other which works really well with us. The secret when it comes to twins feels like we have to be very organized.”


On Her Career: “I am a writer, director, producer, and strategic consultant. I went to Georgetown for undergrad where I always thought about film, studied government, and had a studio art minor. When I went to law school at Harvard is when I actually transitioned to being a storyteller.  Harvard Law School is a very storied place. They tell you when you’re a 1L to watch The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde, and when I got there it was a different experience from those more mainstream narratives. Many people seemed to be having a marginalized experience and I wanted to capture that with film. I convinced the law school to let me do a third year film instead of a third year paper and to let me take an undergrad film class for credit to learn how to do that. I turned my law school experience into film school. Intellectually, I was studying the issues, but I engaged with the issues by telling stories.”


On Little White Lies: “After law school, I had an offer on the table and started waiting tables in New York. I considered going into the mailroom at an agency. I ended up getting a job at a production company and then in the background started thinking about making Little White Lie, a personal documentary about dual identity and family secrets. My story is I grew up in a white Jewish family in upstate New York. I thought I was white, despite my dark features, until I found out at the age of eighteen that my biological father was black. My mother had an affair and no one talked about it. Even after I found out the truth from my mother I did not talk to anyone else in my family about the truth for over a decade. How could my family just believe what they wanted to believe and could we continue to not talk about it? While I was in law school, I started asking myself these questions and thinking about how I was going to uncover my family secret of me being black and Jewish. From college through post-law school, I lived in a racial closet — I was identifying with being black in my day-to-day life, but not talking about it with my family. During that period of time, my identities of being black and Jewish were compartmentalized. I had grown up thinking being Jewish was synonymous with being white so I had to wrap my mind around the reality of being Jewish and being something else. I realized I would never be able to reconcile my identities until I dealt with my family secrets. That is when I started thinking about this project and I dove into it after I graduated from law school. It was difficult in the beginning, and going through my own decision of how to get my family involved was really hard. My family is not perfect, but I come from a loving, supportive family and they backed me through this experience of picking up a camera and filming our lives. The filming was hard, but the editing was even harder as I came to terms with the totality of my story and the value of communicating it with other people.”


On Style: “I lost track of my style and energy around it after I had my kids. I actually worked with a friend to help me to reclaim it and remember what my style is recently.  We came up with some words to describe my style: modern, edgy, cool, and ethnic with some feminine retro.”


On Her Wedding: “I met my husband in law school. We went our separate ways for eight years, and then we reconnected in LA over New Year’s in 2009. We ended up getting engaged a year later. I was planning my wedding while editing my film. Our wedding was in a barn in the Catskills, where there had been a huge hurricane the month before and everyone had to wear mud shoes and rain boots. It was a total throwdown.”


On Her Dream Day:  “A great run, followed up by getting a trolley and going wine tasting with fifteen of my closest friends. Then a board game and some Awards show.”


Fave Love Movie:  “Say Anything.”


Fave Love Book:Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg. It truly taught me how to co-parent which I think is the best thing a book could do for my love life and general marital health.”


Fave Love Album: “Keith Sweat Make it Last Forever. It was my wedding song.”


Fantasy Wedding: “I would love to attend the wedding of Drew Barrymore and Rihanna’s wedding. I would take a fun girlfriend as my date, wear a short poufy skirt that goes up, and spend the after-party drinking out of a sparkly flask with Katy Perry.”