Tag Archives: hollywood

Aside

“And I just ran out of band-aids / I don’t even know where to start / ‘Cause you can bandage the damage / But you never really can fix a heart.” -Demi Lovato/Fix a Heart

It’s National Human Trafficking Day and I promise this post relates…while it may seem that we are veering off-topic for a moment, I promise, if you just keep reading, it all relates.  And by the way, while we’re chatting, if you do anything for me, at least make this issue a hot-button topic that you want to hear candidates talking about.  Because people are not for sale.  20,000 of them US citizens, by the way.

Sometimes, despite all of life’s annoyances, AKA dropping your driver’s license and losing it, God really just has a way of putting people in your path whose stories you simply need to hear.  So yesterday, I went to a DMV in the Valley to avoid the craziness that is the Hollywood DMV.  And while I did forget my checkbook and have to return to the Hollywood DMV to actually get my replacement, yesterday’s waste-of-time activity really ultimately wasn’t a waste of time.

You see, I sat down to a perfectly normal-looking eccentric woman.  Yes, she was wearing a very peculiar outfit, yes her hair needed to be brushed, but she blended it with all the other eccentricities I see in Los Angeles.  She noticed my new cross tattoo on my left wrist and asked me if I was a Christian.  And I knew the way she asked, that this wasn’t a loaded question.

It wasn’t full of the typical, “oh you love Jesus so you must hate gay people” contempt and well-earned judgment.  So I said, yes, I am, but not in the way you might assume and before I was able to become nervous, she began talking.

It was a bit like pulling teeth to find out the real root of her pain, but once I did, I knew it was one of those moments that I needed to remember for the rest of my life.  Long story short, she is probably 60 years-old and somewhat mentally-disabled.  She is not also not very physically mobile so she watches church on television, particularly TBN.

Well, she was watching and she interpreted the pastor/speaker/whomever was on TV to be saying that in order to be blessed by God they needed to give money to that particular network or cause.  I can see how she may have misheard or misunderstood the intent, cue mild mental delays, but I can also connect-the-dots and understand how she internalized a message that is rampant in prosperity theology.  So she, earnestly wanting to “be approved by God” and “needing to be blessed” completely emptied out her bank account and wrote one well-meaning check to this particular organization.

Again, I realize that there are significant problems in logic in doing so, but this woman’s heart was in the right place.  She zeroed out her bank account, got evicted and became homeless.  All the while believing that her money was going to good use and that God would ultimately bless her sacrifice.  Since then, she has been living behind a Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant and sleeping on the ground.  She eats refried beans and rummages through the trash for food.  Again, I understand that her thinking is completely illogical and off.  She has some problems.  But here’s the bigger issue.

The bigger issue is that you can donate your every penny to an organization out of a sense of guilt and shame and a gut-wrenching desire to be loved by God.  Not knowing that He loves you completely as is.  Not understanding that God wants to be kept far away from manipulative, disgusting, deceptive marketing ploys.  Not believing that if shame is involved, God isn’t.  I know we have free will.  We can do perfectly idiotic things like empty our bank accounts and become homeless.  But the thing is, this woman has some significant mental handicaps.  I wish someone on the other side of the phone, who was accepting her money, asked her if she had the money to be doing this.  I wish there was a way to stop her from doing this.  She’s on Disability, I really wish someone had financial conservatorship over her. I really wish people would just stop falsely advertising the earning of God’s grace to perfectly desperate people.  People just longing for God and ending up down this rabbit hole called American Religious Capitalism.

My heart really ached for her.  It still does.  I don’t know how I can be a part of the solution.  She wouldn’t accept a food handout.  She wasn’t stable enough for me to feel comfortable giving her my name or phone number.  She wanted to use my address to receive her mail, which just made me uneasy in my gut which I tend to listen to.  I guess all I can do is pray and lend my voice to honor her story.

And I promise, this does relate to human trafficking.  The sale of your body or the sale of your soul is very interrelated.  What people will do out of desperation to connect to God, to connect to themselves, to feel worthy and loved.  Human trafficking has personally affected me and if you looked at me from the outside, saw my teaching resume or were even decent friends with me, you would never guess that in a million years.  Someday maybe I will be brave enough to tell you how I got lucky, how I listened to my gut, how it could have been me if I would have taken just another step in a particular direction.  I’m going to give it time, years to heal, before I tell my story publicly.  I was that close, without me even looking for it.  That close to just falling in the trap that was waiting.  That close and I am a savvy, college-educated, independent woman.  That close to getting out of control and causing me major harm, if I made it out alive.  It’s not just a problem of poor people.  It’s not just a problem of “prostitutes” who “are asking for it.”  It’s very real and if you don’t care about the adult women affected, think about the other 50% of victims — the children sold — little kids sold into modern-day slavery.

So, to sum this up, people are not for sale.  God is also not for sale.  What do you think?  Lend me your thoughts!  Tell me what stirs your heart, what hits you, what you resonate with, and even what you don’t…

fix a heart

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more to come…

Video

I’m still on Cloud 9 on what this means for the disabled community in terms of the media! I’m going to post a video response soon, but until then, celebrate with me!

letting go: a hiatus from social media

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I’m nearing my two year mark of living in LA and as fun and amazing as it’s been–it’s also been an intense, cross-cultural experience.

Having recently spent a few months performing in a celebrity hotspot, while simultaneously teaching full time, thus carrying an 85 hour per week workload combining the two — I’m desperate to get my bearings again. For me, this means stopping the madness of the 24/7 celebrity-obsessed warp speed of media barragement. I can’t even drive home without passing a premiere, paparazzi waiting outside Katsuya and 15 huge billboards telling me who’s made it and who hasn’t. A simple stop at a coffee shop inevitably leads to overhearing a manager fight with their assistant and a PR agent flirting up some tabloid rep on the phone.

I need to breathe again. To pause. To reflect. To let go of the anxiety and pressure. I came here to do great work, to hone my craft, not rerun the highschoolesque rat race of “keeping up with the Jones’ career.”  So I am taking a break to refocus.

What does this mean? It means letting go of the pressure to always network and feeling guilty for sleeping. It means I really don’t need to check Deadline.com daily, always aware of whose pilot just got picked up.

And it means a one-month fast from social networking. I have 2 1/2 weeks left.  I’m praying for this be a time of reflection of growth.  And healing.

Letting go…

sneak peek: get loco

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update:

The official music video for “Go Loco” is finally here…

originally published march 2011:

Just a super quick update to give all you readers (my Aunt Katie?) a sneak peek of the music video I just shot this past night for LA Lakers all-star, Ron Artest called “Get Loco” featuring Taz, George Lopez and Fat Joe.

We can play a game called “Where’s Waldo: Jen Edition” and see if you can spy me in the sneak peek by ESPN.  Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when the  actual music video drops.

top 10 of 2010

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as 2010 draws to a close–full of many changes yet much refinement and growth–here is my top 10 of this year!

  1. album of the year — mumford & sons “sigh no more”. very much enjoyed many other cd’s and artists — but “sigh no more” defines my year.  jennifer knapp’s “letting go” was also very brave and kicked ass!
  2. book: unbearable lightness by portia de rossi. prolific, brave, raw — most celebrities cannot write as only true writers do.
  3. blog: unabashedly, kelle cryderman hampton’s “enjoying the small things”. a. must. read.  A+++!
  4. tv show: i will always love “grey’s anatomy” but “private practice” wins. amy brenneman is teaching an acting master class.  audra mcdonald is legit cool.  and kudos to kadee strickland for her intense 3 episode arc that left me breathless.
  5. film: hmmm… did nothing this year rock my socks off?  trying to think…i know there’s only 7 days until country strong! but i’m not sure what i saw this year that changed my life.  social network was okay…”whip it” was cute!  love me some kristen wiig!
  6. magazine: rip “domino”. i miss you so much already!
  7. heroine: my mentor, bonnie fay brann, who never gives up on me despite how many times i give her a near heart-attack.  whose love and loyalty anchor me — words can never express.
  8. cause: to write love on her arms. would love to get more involved in this fabulous cause, along with IJM, BC/EFA and something for people with disabilities in Hollywood.
  9. stranger who i’m sending good vibes to: bradley whitford. show cancelled, divorce — he needs to come back with a hit tv show to show the rest of the world, once again, that nobody delivers sorkin dialogue like mr. whitford.
  10. concert: miley cyrus’ “wonderworld” tour. got to see my friend as her backup singer kick ass!  actually, the only concert i went to this year and i only went to the dress rehearsal.  dying to see mumford & sons or lady gaga.

p-p-p-p-p-photoshop

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I must credit fashion designer Sheena Gao’s post here for bringing these photoshopped images to my attention.  You will get to know Sheena and Laura of INTERNATIONAL CITIZEN soon as I will be interviewing them and showing you some of their amazing fashions on my blog.  Sheena, Laura and I are going to get to be working together soon in Hollyweird, so I just want to show you some of their awesome pieces.

Anyways, wow…photoshop:

I know I have posted this before:

but the photoshopped images above continue to make this cause so real.  This is nuts.  I too spent the last many years wanting to emulate a fake glamour, a real lie, and never felt skinny/pretty/wonderful enough.  Girls, Hollywood is not real.  It is magic…enjoy the magic but don’t find your value in it–none of these women wake up looking like stars.  What are your thoughts?

what company!

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thank you so much to no h8 and adam bouska for featuring me on their favorable faces portion of their website.  no where near the notoriety of the fabulous company i keep below, but so grateful and honored to be in their mix.  and to be one of three advocates with disabilities, myself, shoshannah stern from weeds and marlee matlin.  thank you reality tv!