Whew. What a week.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones), then you are aware that I was at the Sundance Film Festival this past week!
Yep – my family was all together in Park City, doing some skiing, watching some films, hanging out, and doing lots of eating.
I love when my family is together – there’s never a dull moment!
The Sundance Film Festival is such a fun time to be out West. NYC and LA converge on this cute little mountain town, and so all week, in addition to phenomenal skiing, you’ll get to see many up-and-coming (usually bizarre) films, people watch, and maybe even run into a celebrity or two.
While we were there, I saw Connie Britton (aka Tammy Taylor in Friday Night Lights) on the ski slopes. I passed Owen Wilson in the ski locker room. And Jason Momoa was staying in the townhome next door!
So that was definitely some excitement!
We also saw a couple films: Maiden, which was a fascinating documentary about the first all-female crew to race in the Whitbread Round the World yacht race.
And then Light from Light – starring Jim Gaffigan, about a husband who deals with his wife’s death by hiring a ghost hunter. Like I said — bizarre. Definitely thought that one was going to be waaaay different, given Gaffigan’s involvement, and the fact that it was touted as being a “religious” and “spiritual” film….right…
But I’m going to be really honest…being at the Sundance Film Festival, it brought up a mixed bag of emotions for me, as a Jesus-loving actor.
Having a film at Sundance is such a huge accomplishment. I have several friends from acting school who were in films that premiered at the festival this year. And the prestige and success that merits is something that – I’ve got to be honest – I long for.
And had I made different choices, perhaps the trajectory of my acting career would be along the lines of my peers, gracing the Sundance screens.
Because here’s the long and the short of it:
In the entertainment industry…it is incredibly difficult to be a Christian.
The opportunities I’ve had to turn down because the role compromised what I believe in — the list is a mile long.
Most secular films are created to push boundaries, make one think, be edgy, send a progressive message — and that’s great if that’s your thing — but acting in such films…is not mine.
And quite frankly this is a temptation that I feel like I am constantly being tested with.
Case in point: Earlier this January, you may recall that I went to the SEEK conference, presented by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) – a week-long, Christian conference, where I heard incredible talks and break out sessions, and I came home absolutely on fire for God.
Literally in the car on the way home from the conference, I get a call from my agent: I was the only girl at the agency selected to audition for a big, feature film, shooting this spring. I was asked to audition to be the love interest of a big time actor, who you would 100% recognize from a superhero movie franchise.
Here’s the catch — the role involved a nude love scene in the back of a car.
Talk about whiplash of emotion. Going from being on fire of God, ready to shout His message from the rooftops. To being thrilled beyond belief about the audition. To the crash and blaze of a fiery inferno, learning what the role entailed.
I turned down the audition without blinking.
And don’t think the timing was lost on me either. I know the evil one’s tricks when I see it.
But, that’s the thing. It’s a chew ya up – spit you out business. And they’ll take and take and take without even a second thought – even if it means stripping a young woman of her dignity, or the most intimate parts of her.
Now hear me out – I’m absolutely not passing any judgment on actors or actresses who take those roles, or anything like that. To each their own.
I’m just saying that for me – as a lover of Jesus, trying to live my life in a way that honors, respects and obeys Him – it is nearly impossible to do anything other than children’s educational videos or cat food commercials in the entertainment industry….which is pretty much, exactly what I’ve done.
But you know what? Sitting at those movies, watching actors and actresses – some of whom were my former scene partners – answer questions up on stage about their careers, and seeing the exclusive parties they attended on their Instagram feeds, I’m okay with it.
Sure, there’s a tinge of wistfulness. The glamour. The fancy dresses. The excitement.
But I feel an overwhelming sense of peace, that I know is coming from the Father, reassuring me that I am on the right path: His path.
I’ll just close with this final thought.
I was skiing by myself one afternoon, and riding the chairlift up with a guy, and we got to talking about our careers. And I told him that I was an actor from NYC. Naturally, he asked if I was in one of the films at the festival. I said no, and joked that I do commercials for cat food, and kids’ videos.
But then, I don’t know what came over me, but I heard these words come out of my mouth: “I’m actually a Christian, and so I choose to only take roles that align with my faith.”
And the guy next to me actually took off his goggles so I could see his eyes, and he says, “Wow. I really respect that. Not many people live their lives according to what they believe. Good for you.”
I didn’t get on the chairlift that day thinking that I was going to evangelize or anything. To be completely honest, despite having this blog, I don’t usually bring up my faith to random people in “real life.”
But I did, and who knows. Maybe that guy needed that encouragement to live out his faith. Or maybe he was questioning the existence of God. Who knows. But I’d like to believe that maybe he needed to hear it.
So yeah – net net – Sundance gave me a new perspective on life. There are certain “accomplishments” that are not recognized by this world. And frankly, they are only truly seen by One. But it turns out, that those are the most important ones of all.
How do you make important decisions in your life?
Also – I’ve got an exciting announcement coming up in the next couple weeks! Here’s a hint: BBB was recognized for something!
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