But before all that, Thompson was a college student who needed to pay the bills, then a broadcasting aspirant seeking camera time to hone her craft. In those days, Thompson went by the name Lauren Brooke and worked in modeling (bikini and lingerie, among others), commercial and music video acting, and professional wrestling.
If you only know Lauren Thompson from her excellent work on the Golf Channel, then you've probably never met Lauren Brooke:
Lauren Brooke was the stage name Thompson employed as a model. In the photo above, she is working as a "booth babe" during a Las Vegas convention in 2008.
From the same general time period, here's a (low-quality copy) of a TV commercial Thompson did for an "adult" party line:
But it was lingerie and bikini modeling - sometimes just-barely-there lingerie and bikinis - that "Lauren Brooke" was known for across the Internet before she became famous for other reasons. As early as 2004, Thompson, as Lauren Brooke, began showing up on "laddie" type websites in photo sets such as this:
One of those sites was called Soopermodels.com, which offered an online girlie publication called Stare Magazine. It is now defunct, but lives on through the wonders of the Wayback Machine. From August of 2005 through May of 2007, Thompson - as Lauren Brooke - did 17 pictorials for Stare Magazine. A couple representative screenshots:
In 2006, Thompson was named to something called the USA National Bikini Team by ... well, by somebody. Here, here's a video that proves it:
All the risque (but never nude) modeling eventually got Thompson noticed. She started getting small bit acting or commercial work, such as the party line ad above, and such as this Jason Aldean music video:
Did you spot her? She shows up multiple times in a cowboy hat, crop top and denim miniskirt.
All the while, Thompson was using the name "Lauren Brooke." Why? Well, for a very good reason: She was hoping Mom wouldn't notice! In the following clip, Lauren explains that Mom found out what she was doing anyway, but that she was doing it for a very good reason: putting herself through college.
That video was shot just as Thompson was getting her break with the Golf Channel. But in-between the bikini modeling and the Golf Channel came something else: professional wresting. No, Lauren Thompson never wrestled herself. But she got valuable broadcast experience as an interviewer on Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling telecasts.
Before she joined Golf Channel, Thompson had her own website at theofficiallaurenbrooke.com. It's gone now, except (again) for pages saved on the Internet Archive and accessible through the Wayback Machine. On that site, Lauren touted herself as a "host - spokesmodel - voiceover" artist. On the homepage she wrote:
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and have been modeling for the past 7 years. I have an extensive resume in trade shows, commercials, voice-over and print work in the modeling industry, as well as pride myself in professionalism, punctuality and ability.
I am a very lively, upbeat and optimistic woman who isn't afraid to challenge myself or approach new endeavors. I would love to work with you!
A screenshot of theofficiallaurnebrooke.com homepage:
Some of the highlights from Lauren's resume, posted on that website in 2010:
Modeling & Acting
Modeling Abilities: Lifestyle, Runway, Swimsuit, Petite, Character
Acting Abilities: Commercial/TV, Film, Model, TV host & Infomercials
Special Skills, Training & Previous Roles
Skills: Accents, Bowling, Cheerleading, Computer skills, Dancing, Hiking, Horseback riding, Kick Boxing, Roller blading, Running, Snorkeling, Snow skiing, Swimming
Training: Auditioning, Commercial, Voice over
Current, Ongoing Contracts:
College Sports Minute on Hulu.com (host, weekly)
Golf Channel's "TOP TEN" (host, Golf Channel: Tuesdays @ 9pm)
Longwood Lincoln Mercury (Spokesmodel, Monthly commercial and radio spots)
TNA Wrestling (Backstage Interviewer: Thursdays @ 9pm)
So Thompson was already quite busy on the TV/video front by 2010, but had given up the lingerie/bikini modeling by that point. (A note on her website at the time says, "Also, please note that I will not do any nudity, thongs, etc.") She was well on her way, having landed her first Golf Channel gig as host of Top Ten.
We've barely scratched the surface of pre-Golf Channel Lauren Thompson photos that are out there on the web. Search Google - both the main search and the image search - for Lauren Brooke or Lauren Thompson if you want to discover much more. Happy hunting.