SHINING A LIGHT IN HOLLYWOOD
Photo courtesy of Aimee Auclair ‘06
by Marketing Services - Cedarville, OH
April 23, 2007
Following God’s direction is not always easy and sometimes even surprising. That’s where Aimee Auclair ’06 found herself at the end of summer as the Lord closed doors she fully expected to be open, only to clearly open a door she had hardly considered possible.
Passionate about acting, Aimee planned to attend graduate school in the fall, but when the graduate program she had applied to closed, God opened the door for her to move to Hollywood. Although the call was unexpected, Aimee packed her bags and moved to Hollywood just one week later. Since then, she has been pursuing her dream of acting by taking classes with Barbara Cameron (former agent and mother of Kirk and Candace Cameron), working on joining the Screen Actors Guild, and attempting to find her own agent. While she describes her career as being in the “starving waitress” stage of acting, God has clearly placed her in Hollywood, and her desire is to be a light in the darkness wherever God opens doors.
Cedarville and Hollywood — could two places be more different? Cedarville is quiet, conservative, close-knit, Bible-centered, and in the middle of a cornfield. Hollywood is bustling, liberal, impersonal, self-centered, and in the middle of a metropolis. Two totally different environments, yes; yet Aimee feels strongly that her years at Cedarville prepared her for the very godless world of Hollywood. She shared, “I am so incredibly thankful for Cedarville University. When I moved out [to Hollywood], I was immediately bombarded with the thinking that all roads lead to Heaven (‘if there even is one’) and that the point is to just put ‘good karma’ into the world and good will come back to you. [I was also told to] never judge someone else’s thoughts on God because [their views] are very personal and ‘there is no right answer anyway.’ At that point I was so thankful for the Bible minor at Cedarville and other Bible classes that I took that helped to solidify my faith.”
Obviously, being a light in Hollywood has its challenges. But Aimee is committed to the task. While pursuing her passion for acting, she is also pursuing opportunities to share her faith with those she meets. She explains that at first she was quite stressed over witnessing opportunities. When working on a set, she would bring Christian books with her, hoping they would help her strike up a conversation. Or she would try to think about how to change conversations to lead toward a discussion on beliefs. When her plan did not work, she would go home feeling like a poor witness for Christ. One day, completely frustrated with her attempts at being a light, she told God that she felt like a failure at witnessing. She shared, “I pretty much told God that I was going to leave it up to Him to just show me the opportunities. I was going to stop trying to force doors to open.” That day a friend asked her what her minor was at college. Aimee was surprised at the question, but it allowed her to share about her Bible minor at Cedarville. God opened a huge door that day for her to share her beliefs with a friend. She realized the importance of letting God open doors and being willing to follow His lead.
Another lesson Aimee is learning is that being a light in Hollywood is actually quite similar to being a light in Cedarville. For all their differences in size and lifestyle, both cities are home to people — people who want someone to care about them. God is teaching Aimee that showing people love is the first step in sharing the gospel. She is learning that people do not necessarily care about her relationship with Christ when they first meet her. What they care about is whether she cares about them as a person. Therefore, as she pursues her dream of acting, her desire is to genuinely love the people God brings across her path and trust Him to open up doors to share the gospel.
Aimee also desires to represent Christ well in her acting career. Hollywood isn’t exactly known for its moral decency or family-friendly movies, so how do Christians blend their desire to “make it big” with their desire to be a Christ-follower? Aimee is thankful for classes at Cedarville that helped her think through some of these difficult issues. She remembers classes in which her professors led discussions, challenging students to decide where they should draw the line in acting. She was encouraged to decide what she was and was not comfortable with doing on stage. These discussions helped Aimee think critically about how the biblical worldview applies to acting and have given her good guidelines and boundaries as she auditions for acting jobs in Hollywood.
God has created every person to be different. Psalm 139:14 says that every person is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Some people are gifted at teaching. Others have the ability to manage people. Still others do their best behind computers. When God created Aimee, He gave her a passion for acting. At this point, she is still in the process of figuring out how He wants her to use that passion. It might be in movies in Hollywood; it might be in a small-town theater. Wherever God chooses to use her, though, Aimee’s ultimate goal is to glorify God by using the talent of acting that He put within her.