This article was originally written for Our Witness, a website that highlights personal testimonies of Christians all over the world. Since this is my first post for L’amour in Christ, I thought I should let you in on who I am as an artist and a child of God. Thank you for reading!
Being beautiful on the outside isn’t something I’m always striving to be, but knowing that I’m exuding beauty from within is very important to me. Unfortunately, it’s taken me a while to know who I truly am and to accept that person. Before my relationship with God, I struggled to feel beautiful and that’s one of the reasons my mom enrolled me in modeling classes when I was 15 years young. I didn’t know this at the time, but it was her way of boosting my self esteem and helping me to accept my femininity.
I used to think anything form-fitting was sexual, and I didn’t want the wrong kind of attention coming my way. After learning that how I carried myself spoke more about me than what I was wearing, I felt comfortable looking like a girl. These affirmations and the newfound love for myself helped kick start my modeling and acting career.
I’m not saying that I’ve never had prideful thoughts about my looks, but God has helped me in my humility by seeing things from a better perspective. I didn’t do anything to get them, so I can’t take credit for the shape of my eyes or the color of my skin. God gave me my genes so that I could break into the world of Hollywood and show the world a new standard of moral and ethical beauty. I’m meant to make a positive impact by not conforming to this world and the people in it.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
There are so many young girls—and I know you hear this a lot—that have their eyes set to the stars on TV and emulate those women. I was one of them and remembered hearing about a Bollywood actress who would never kiss a co-star or wear revealing clothing on screen because it wasn’t something she felt morally okay with doing She was still a HUGE success in her country, and I wanted to be that person for America so badly because there aren’t many examples of it here.
Even though I wish there were more examples of moral actresses, I still feel pangs of jealousy towards those women who are making a name for themselves and are willing to do anything to stay on top. The bible says not to envy and that’s a hard thing not to do when you’re constantly being compared to other women on a daily basis. Just when I think I have it all together, I notice myself picking apart other women and wishing I had their eyes, or bangs, or knees, the most ridiculous stuff! If I’m not booked for the job, I sometimes still snap into “I guess I wasn’t good enough. They probably chose that girl with the cute, curly hair. Maybe I should change my hair.” The fact that I’ve chosen this career field, I have to take responsibility for my thoughts and demolish them before they destroy me.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
At the end of the day, I know that God a reason for not allowing me to obtain certain opportunities to work on projects that don’t fit into His plan for me.
By not getting those projects, it sometimes knocked down my confidence in my self and abilities, so there have been at points where I think, “Why not wear this? Why not do that? Why not act a certain way? It’s just a job.” That statement has been fed by so many people telling me the exact same thing. Whenever I have conversations with actors on set about my beliefs and what I’m not willing to do, they always say “But it’s just acting. You chose this.” Well, I will continue “acting” like a Christian. I’m to do everything in the name of the Lord, especially my job and pursuing the purpose He has given me.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
When I think about the people I know or younger girls who look up to me, they’re not going to understand why I let go of my morals for the sake of a paycheck. I won’t be able to explain to them why I didn’t have the strength to make a righteous decision, so I’m not willing to cross that line. Also—being a married woman—there are parts of me that only my husband gets to see or touch because we made vows to one another. I’m not expected to make those vows to anyone else…on or off camera.
I used to think that other married actors had a similar mindset when it came to a love scene or kissing situation. I don’t see the difference between me kissing another man on my job and if my husband were to kiss a strange woman when he goes into the office every day. There is no scripture in the bible that says “Thou shall not commit adultery…unless you’re an actor.” “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) If even the thought of committing adultery in your heart makes you an adulterer, then how is it different if you physically go through the actions of something you would only do with your spouse because you’re getting paid for it?
Keep in mind; these are all boundaries I set up for myself. When I was first dating my husband, I had a role in a play where we did a wedding photo shoot for a press release. I had to kiss my costar and—when we wrapped the shoot—I felt horrible about it. I thought about how I would feel if my boyfriend did the same thing with another girl. Fortunately, he understood when I called him on the phone to apologize that night. His words were, “It’s okay. You’re an actress and I know you’ll have to do that in your career.” Even with his okay, I knew in my spirit it wasn’t right. That’s when I learned that God’s word needed to cross over into my career no matter what it costs me.
Through all of these struggles, I’ve felt like a freak because most people—even some Christians—don’t understand the commitment I made to God. I know the Lord has already rewarded me greatly for my obedience and there are opportunities He has in the works that I have yet to see. The fruits of some of them have already been revealed in my first feature film titled “He Heard My Cry”. Being a part of a Christian film that I feel will become a movement is such an honor I can’t even describe.
Let’s just say that this industry might be filled with sex, violence, and money, but God can work with anything. If you’re willing to look for them, there will always be a brother or sister in Christ that shares God’s vision with you and will help take you to greater heights than you ever dreamed.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
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