I always admire people who have a deep passion for using their talent for God, and are not afraid to show it! Jenn Gotzon is one of such. I saw that passion shine through in the silent movie, the The Good Book by Faith Flix Films (You can read my review of that wonderful movie here). We connected on twitter, and Jenn was gracious to let me interview her on TBAP. In reading her answers, I hope you get to appreciate her boldness and the lovely person that she is! So folks, I introduce to you Jenn Gotzon—first time on TBAP! Enjoy!
Miranda ~ Hello Jenn! Delighted to have you here on TBAP! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jenn: Thanks so much for having me on. Well, I’m just a girl pursuing a call in my life, which is to inspire and impact audiences through the roles I play in the movies. I believe we live in a society where bad is bold, and to create positive change, good must be bolder. That is why I’m honored to serve in a movement for AMTC.
Miranda ~ When did you first discover God? What particularly led you into a personal relationship with Him?
Jenn: When did I first discovered God?…Once upon a time, there was this big light out in the sky that came down and said, “you are my chosen one,” and I was lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes … oh wait, hold on. That’s in Jesus’s story, not mine. LOL!
For me, I grew up in a devout, Catholic family where my mom would take me to church every Sunday. I was involved in the youth group—so involved that I became a part of the Allentown diocesan youth Council. In July, 1996, on one of our trips to Steubenville, Ohio, I attended a retreat at the St. Franciscan youth conference. It was there that I first realized and learned how to have an intimate relationship with Jesus. From that time on, I felt my sins, wrong choices, bad attitude, and angry thought-life freed, forgiven, and loved, because I believed that Jesus was God’s son, and that God gave Jesus as a gift for my sins to be forgiven, and so I had eternal life in Jesus. What I felt that day, and continue to feel, is the warm, kind, gentle, peaceful, comforting, and loving presence of God. And, soon after moving to a non-denominational church, I learned that the feeling of Jesus’s spirit residing in and guiding me, is the Holy Spirit.
Miranda ~ When did you first discover your talent for acting? At what point did you decide to use it to serve God?
Jenn: When did I discover my talent for acting? There was a passion that burned strong like a flaming fire in my soul every time I watched an inspirational movie and saw a character go from dark to light, sadness to hope, loneliness to love, and brokenness to wholeness. Those are the characters I want to play: to entertain the viewer and at the same time encourage them, so that they, too, can find redemption in their current season of life.
Miranda ~ How different is acting than how you may have initially assumed it to be? Any life lessons?
Jenn: Acting is a career path that is different for everybody. There is no formula, except the model we see in the old testament of how God used craftsmen, who used their gifts to create art excellently. I, personally, believe learning how to use your skill through education is very important. My drama teacher in high school told me I did not have enough skill to become an actress. A few weeks after Jesus appeared to me at that conference, I went in prayer and asked Jesus for help. As a result I received scholarships at the New York Conservatory for dramatic arts to learn the craft of film-acting. Everyone’s path is different, as some people have no training or patiently encouraging directors that guide and teach them while working on a movie. So what I learned is this: we seek God and His kingdom first, and He will provide a way along the path to the calling He put in our lives.
I started when I was 15: worked for Disney as a dancer in 1998, graduated in 2000, moved to San Francisco area, and started to win acting awards for the small independent feature films. I then moved to Los Angeles, worked for Google as my day job, then transitioned into working as a marketing manager at the Hollywood bowl for Fidelity investments, while doing background work on studio television shows and movies. It was near impossible for me to obtain an A-list agency, and being an all American blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl in Los Angeles, the only way for someone with my features to obtain auditions for major studio roles, was to have a top agency represent you.
Miranda ~ What has your journey into film being like? How did it draw you closer to God?
Jenn: God was bold and told me, “I will be your agent.” And as a result, since the role God gave me in Frost Nixon, the Lord gave me over 20 films and TV pilots to play the lead or a main character, which is in line with the fire and passion God put in my life to work in film and TV to inspire and impact lives. All roles were direct offers from the filmmakers—contacting me first, before I asked my agent to negotiate the contract. Therefore, I believe God gives everyone a different journey. Our job is to pursue Him first. Do not make your career an idol. Surrender, have faith, trust God’s timing, and pursue artistic excellence by honoring God with your work when He gives you the opportunity to shine.
Miranda ~ Why did you choose to act in Christian movies as opposed to secular?
Jenn: I am a Christian called to work in movies that all audiences (mainstream and religious) can enjoy with stories that have redemptive qualities and inspiration. Personally, I love playing flawed characters dealing with the hard-knocks of life where you see the consequences of poor choices & behaviors, and then see the characters go through a path where they find hope… All done with creativity, laughs, and heartfelt moments that stem from a deep core rooted in the unconditional love God has for us all. An example would be my character in Doonby.
Thank you, Jenn, for stopping by today!
About Jenn Gotzon
Jenn Gotzon is an American film actress who since 2010, has starred in over 15 inspirational and faith-based feature films including mystery-drama, Doonby, where she starred opposite John Schneider, Ernie Hudson, and Robert Davi, and also Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon, a 2009 Academy Award-nominated film where she played U. S. President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia Nixon, for which she gained her career break. She also starred in Alone Yet Not Alone, a 2014 Oscar-nominated inspirational feature film, and, inspirational drama, I Am Gabriel, and also, the first silent evangelical feature film, The Good Book; drama film, Out of Ashes (Alan Powell), Dante’s Hell Documented, where she portrayed the heroine, Beatrice, alongside Dante, the character portrayed by Eric Roberts. Also, the 2014 award-winning music video, Walls by artist, Sean Guerrero, produced by Lamon Records. Learn more about Jenn on her website and connect with her on facebook and other social media via @JennGOTZON.