This article was published in Omaha Magazine’s May/June 2015 issue.
A day at the beach has a different meaning for Lauren Sieckmann than it does for most folks. For the majority it conjures images of sun, sand, and fun; vibes of recreation and relaxation. But for 21-year-old Sieckmann—college student, sports and fitness model, and pro volleyball player-in-training—the beach means all work and all play.
“Everything I do with school, training, and modeling, is fun for me,” says Sieckmann. It doesn’t feel like a job. It’s just what I do. It’s a way of life.”
Sieckmann, a University of Southern California junior, grew up in Elkhorn and began playing volleyball around age 12, late for those who aspire to greatness in the sport. She quickly drew many accolades, including a national title with the Nebraska Elite 121s club team and being named Nebraska High School Gatorade Player of the Year after leading Marian High to a 2009 Class A state title. Sieckmann transferred to Elkhorn South to graduate a semester early and kickstart her career at UNL. But after a semester in Lincoln playing indoor volleyball, she decided that what had been her dream wasn’t the right fit.
“I really wanted to try beach volleyball and venture out, so I decided to come to California,” says Sieckmann, who’s embraced the transition.
“It’s more ‘me’ than indoor and I love it,” she says. “You do it all in sand volleyball. It’s 2-on-2; you’re covering the whole court. I like the competitive nature, the atmosphere and environment and to practice at the beach all day…I can’t complain about that!”
Sieckmann played for USC last semester but now trains professionally in lieu of the school squad.
“Now I practice at the beach and train with Misty May,” she says.
That would be Misty May-Treanor, the retired pro beach volleyball player, three-time Olympic gold medalist, one of the most successful female players of all time, former volunteer assistant coach at USC, idol of volleyball girls everywhere—and now mentor to Sieckmann.
During offseason Sieckmann trains about twice weekly each with May-Treanor and other pro players with whom she scrimmages—which means hitting the beach four times weekly, in addition to school and her budding modeling career. Sieckmann recently signed with Sports Lifestyle Unlimited and had her first booking and shoot in February. Most recently she signed with modeling giant Wilhelmina International.
“[SLU] does lots of sports and fitness, lifestyle, and some fashion. It’s a bit of everything, and seemed like a good fit for me,” says Sieckmann, whose mother, Deb, was a fashion model.
In addition to volleyball aspirations, Sieckmann dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps.
“I always thought I’d get into [modeling] eventually,” she says. “One of my biggest goals with it is to represent being strong, fit, healthy, and beautiful—not just excessively thin.”
Sieckmann says she’s witnessed negative effects of body image issues and hopes that her work promotes a healthier body image among young girls.
“I want to make an impact with my modeling,” she says. “That’s why I’m going in the direction of sports and lifestyle work—to show girls that being strong and healthy is beautiful.”