Lauren Drain Kagan is an American registered nurse, professional bikini model/athlete, certified personal fitness trainer, and author, who attracted public interest after she wrote the New York Times Bestseller eBook, “Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church,” her personal memoirs about her banishment from Westboro Baptist Church.
Early Life and Family
Lauren Danielle Drain Kagan was born on 31 December 1985, in Tampa, Florida USA, to parents Steve and Lucy Drain. She has a brother, Boaz Abel Drain, and two sisters, Taylor and Faithy Marie Drain. When she was five years old, the family was uprooted from Florida and moved to Olathe, Johnson County, Kansas, as her father pursued his graduate studies in Philosophy at the University of Kansas, while being paid as a teaching assistant in a Western Civilization course.
Her mother was not very keen on the idea, but she didn’t have any choice as her father was very dominant. Eventually they were able to adjust well, and her mother went to work as a dental hygienist in a local clinic. Her father would bike with her around the campus and show her around his favorite places. She fell in love with the university, just like her father.
After a year living in Olathe, Taylor was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a kidney cancer. It was hard for the family, but they all bonded and supported each other to help Taylor. Lauren’s sister was healed and eventually went on full remission.
The Drain family went through various phases in life depending on her father’s decisions.
One time a preacher befriended her father and he started studying the Bible, telling his family to live according to the Bible’s teachings; however, when he got into an argument with the preacher, he went back to being an unbeliever.
After that phase, her father began living a hippie, bohemian, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, with people coming in and out of their home, drinking and smoking weed. Instead of just two years in school, it lasted for seven years accumulating huge student loans as her father kept changing his major. It was a financial burden for the family, especially for her mother as her father lived irresponsibly and unfaithfully. There were times she felt that her mother wanted out of the marriage but her father knew she never would do that.
Despite the cracks in the marriage, her father was supportive of all her school activities, and even coached her softball team. In 1997 her father finally graduated with a Master’s degree in Film, then decided to move back to Tampa.
In 2000 during her freshman year in high school, her father went to film a documentary about the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) entitled, “Hatemonger.” This was supposed to be an exposé on the cult group that was spewing hate to everyone, in the guise of spreading God’s word. However, with just one instance of filming a protest event of the WBC followers during a gay parade, he became fascinated with their beliefs. Instead of exposing them, he was indoctrinated to the WBC religion.
He decided to transfer to Topeka, Kansas to be closer to the WBC church; he then demanded that the whole family lived and breathed the teachings of the church.
Lauren lived many years participating actively in several picketing activities of her church, and felt privileged that she was selected to join a protest rally. However, in 2008, after questioning some of their doctrines and after communicating with a man on the Internet, she was banished from the group. In an interview, she said that her father was looking for any reason to kick her out of the church. She didn’t have any opportunity to leave although she was close to doing it, but she knew she would be cut off from her family, so she was conflicted. On the day she was declared person-non-grata, her parents made her pack her things, delivered her to the local hotel, and left without speaking to her.
Lauren reached out countless times to her family even when she was suicidal, but they all ignored her. Jael, her best friend of seven years in church and a fellow nurse, didn’t only abandon her, but was mean to her in the hospital. Jael even filed a complaint about her to the management, but the Nurse Manager told Jael that Lauren was doing a great job, and if Jael couldn’t work with her, then she could leave.
Lauren matriculated from Topeka West High School, Kansas and graduated from Washburn University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
After graduation, she became a registered nurse and worked at the cardiac wing of St. Francis Hospital. When she was banished from her home and church, she moved to Ohio and was accepted at a local hospital as a cardiac nurse.
Overworked, she realized that she needed to change her lifestyle, and that led her to become a bodybuilding fitness model. She worked hard to achieve a healthy and well-toned body. She entered the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) Bikini Pro in 2013, and joined several shows and competitions, improving her ranking until she won the title, “WBFF Rhode Island Bikini Pro,” in 2014. She did this in between her shifts as a per-diem cardiac nurse at one hospital, and a floating nurse in another. She joined again in 2017 but didn’t make the top 5.
As a fitness model, she has worked with top brands including Domin8, and launched her own fitness clothing line called, “Fit Angel Collection.”
Aside from being a registered nurse and a fitness model, she is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.
The transition from her former life to her current life was not that easy. She had a hard time adjusting to the outside world after being banished from her church and disowned by her parents. She had a previous relationship for about two years with a man named Scott who helped her during the transition, and encouraged her to move to Ohio, but it didn’t work out.
Lauren met David Kagan through common friends, and on their first date asked him if he had googled her on the internet. He was startled by her question because he was not aware of her association with the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. When he learned about it, he was very supportive of her and helped her to embrace her new life.
They married on 4 August 2013, after being engaged for about a year; she invited her family but nobody came. Two former members of WBC, Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper, came to give her away in her wedding.
These two women are granddaughters of the founder of WBC, who left the church the following year after Lauren was banished.
In December 2019 they were blessed with a baby girl they named Aria Skye. She and her husband own a thriving fitness training business, as can be seen by her posts in her Instagram account. She posted many body transformations of clients who underwent physical fitness coaching through their help.
She started a GoFundMe drive to provide assistance to those WBC members who wanted to leave the church, but were afraid of how they would start a new life, and extended an invitation to those who are still inside her former community. She is still hoping that one of her siblings would reach out to her.
Lauren is currently living in Las Vegas with her husband and daughter.
- Lauren loves to eat and is always hungry, but would be on a strict diet whenever she is participating in WBFF Pro competitions.
- When she was disowned by her family and was living alone in a cheap apartment, she got a cat to keep her company. Now she lives with Max, a Puggle, (a crossbreed between a pug and a beagle), which she claims to be her guard dog.
- Fred Phelps, the founder of her former church, Westboro Baptist Church, was also banished from the very church he established. It was rumored that he uttered the words, “You are good people,” to the gay people who painted their house with rainbow colors and lived across the church property. It was not determined if he was in his right mind during that time, as he was already old and quite sick.
- She experienced bullying as a registered nurse when she was trying to keep fit and living a healthy lifestyle. Even at work, she would be eating three times during a shift to gain muscle, and some of her co-workers would snidely comment on her eating habits. Some of them would often be rude about the smell of fish being heated in the microwave. It was difficult, but she was able to overcome it.
— Lauren Drain (@LaurenDrain) October 27, 2019
Social Media Activity
Lauren is quite active in posting on her social media accounts. Her Instagram has almost four million followers, which has made her a popular fitness lifestyle influencer. She documented her struggles in building a well-toned healthy body fit enough to join bodybuilding bikini pro competitions. Most of videos and photos on her Instagram account are of her wearing bikini and fitness clothing. She can also be followed on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
She is 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall, weighs 130lbs (62kgs), and has an hourglass shape with vital statistics of 34-25-36. She wears size 6 in dress and a size 9 shoe. Lauren is Caucasian and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
According to sources, her net worth is estimated at over $3 million as of June 2020.