Still on promoting the movie, Providence, I’m glad to welcome actress, Juli Tapken, on TBAP! She’s delightful, sweet, and very friendly (so glad we’re facebook buddies, too!) Without much ado, I invite you to join us in the conversation below:
Miranda: Hello Juli! Wonderful to have you visit TBAP today. Could tell us a bit about yourself?
Juli – I’m just a regular girl. I’m a 40-year old wife, and mother to one son. My family is my heartbeat and, they go everywhere I go. We are on this journey together. We are truly going for this thing for Him (God). I have been involved in many missions throughout my life, and have never felt more called to anything more so than I do this mission of going out there to minister in this incredibly difficult industry. We are fully committed to this. My husband, Jeff, is my manager and handler. We home school our son, and teach him to follow God’s call on his life, and that we are all gifted and prepared for a great purpose if we will align our will with His.
How did you become a Christian? Tell us your story.
Juli – I learned about Jesus on my mama’s knee. She taught me that no matter what your circumstances are, you can trust that God loves you, will provide for you, has a purpose for every pain, and will bring a victory and an abundant harvest. If we remain steadfast, we will see Him move. So I was blessed to be trained up in The Way I Should Go. I accepted Jesus as my savior at 5 years old. I knew exactly what He did for me; I wanted the hope and freedom of a heart that I knew came only from Him. I was baptized, and identified with dying-to-self, therefore rising to the walk of newness of life. Of course, I had to test His limits and question His love many, many, many times! But He is always faithful to lovingly teach me through my defiance. I’ve had to re-surrender my life to His will every day, and let Him work out His plan for me.
Miranda: Wow. Truly admirable!
You’re into acting. How did it all begin?
Juli – With a children’s program at our church, when I was 7. We performed Psalty’s Christmas Calamity, and I was blessed to sing a solo. It was the first time I realized how powerfully God could speak to people through song and sketch. It changed my heart; God revealed His purpose for my life, and why I could do the things that I do.
Miranda: What led you to decide to go into Christian ministry as opposed to secular?
Juli – Honestly, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. God just opened the doors to projects that fit my passions and sensibilities. Not every project I’ve worked on has been decidedly “Christian,” but they all have a redeeming value, and, that’s what I’m about. We bathe every single opportunity in prayer, and seek only His will as it doesn’t have to be a “Christian film” for God to use me to minister and resonate with an audience. As an ambassador for Christ, I fervently pray His influence is evident to every cast and crew on every project. So I try not to limit His desired field for me to sow seeds of truth. If there is a cameraman or PA that wants to know more about the peace we have, and God wants to place me on a secular film set to show them His grace, then that’s where I’ll be. That being said, He has instilled in me certain standards that I should keep, and lines that I shouldn’t cross for a role—no matter what. Remembering God’s calling seldom feels safe and comfortable. We just need to hear, trust and commit.
Miranda: I’m truly glad you’ve chosen to uphold the principles God has placed in your heart, no matter what!
Can you list some of your work for the readers? Thank you!
Juli ~ Surrender (2014); Providence (2016); Mission Improbable (2015); The Shoes (2015); The Reins Maker (2016)—just to name a few of the most recent ones. I have been beyond blessed with more than my share of great stuff!
Miranda: In what ways is the Christian film industry different from the secular?
Juli ~ Artists are very passionate people, and all collaboration must be done with an element of grace. I have found that people in the industry, whether Christian or not, are passionate about their dreams, and will work hard to accomplish them. The only difference is—to what end? For whose glory and advancement do they go through this amazing and crazy process?
Miranda: Do you think there’s room for improvement in the Christian industry?
Juli ~ There is always room for improvement. As long as we get to tell redemption stories, we should always seek to tell them honestly and authentically. I feel a lot of times that Christian films shy away from tough subject matters; they touch on sin in a sterile way—afraid of offending the church. As Christians in the entertainment industry, we have to ask ourselves if our mission is to entertain the choir or to reach lost people with The Truth. Not to glorify sin and its lifestyle, but to shine a light onto it. The bible never sugar-coats the depravity of our human nature, but uses it to reveal our need for grace every day. I’d like to see more Christian films show the true struggle that is life on this planet surrounded by people, with thoughts and actions we can’t control, countered by our choices which we can control.
Miranda: Absolutely, interesting thing you just said!
How has your journey so far in acting/filmmaking helped grow your personal relationship with God?
Juli ~ I have no choice but to lean on Him for everything—provision, protection, my next job, when I need to allow my emotions go to a place where it should relate to a scene, etc. I know He is the vine, the source of all these gifts, and I must stay connected so my fruit will ripen and grow.
Miranda: How would you describe your journey so far—the ups and downs?
Juli ~ Well, in film, there are no guarantees. Even if you’re cast, there’s no guarantee you’ll shoot, or make it through edit, or that a project will even be completed. I truly have learned to thank God for every door He opens, but especially for every door He closes.
Miranda: Thanking God for closed doors takes trust, submission, and humility. I like that!
Is film exactly how you imagined it would be?
Juli ~ I’m not sure I could ever have imagined this.
Miranda: How has your journey inspired you to move forward?
Juli ~ God’s been so faithful in allowing me to learn as I serve Him—to realize the difference between when I let Him work, and when I try to do it myself. And every time He shows up in a performance, it is so elating that I just want to have that opportunity to let Him do it again, because, His light shines so much brighter than mine!
Miranda: What has been your experience on the Providence set?
Juli ~ I absolutely adored my time on the Providence set! Fred and Sharon Wilharm are wonderful to work with and, are very dedicated to making sure each and every person involved knows how vital they are to the overall project.
Miranda: How has it made you a better actor/person?
Juli ~ Every opportunity to work shows me ways to improve. Both professionally and personally. I look back every night and assess what was done, what could have been better, and what is in my control to fix for tomorrow.
Miranda: I love your passion, Juli!
The role you played in Providence, how did it inspire you personally?
Juli ~ I love the story of Providence! The obvious love story of Rachel and Mitchell, but also the underlying story of Christ’s great love and patience for His bride, the church: how He lovingly lets us come to the realization of His sufficiency on our own, and how He is right there waiting the whole time.
Miranda: What do you hope viewers of this movie will walk away with?
Juli ~ I hope people will realize their worth, that true love is worth the wait, and that every day brings us closer to our destiny.
Miranda: What are you most grateful for in your life right now?
Juli ~ Jesus, Jeff and Lain.
In what ways do you hope to inspire people, now and in the future?
Juli ~ I hope people look at me and at what God is accomplishing with this one surrendered life, and recognize all the gifts they are equipped with, and how they can use them to bring hope and change, one choice at a time.
Miranda: Again, sweet!
As an actor/filmmaker, what advice would you give to anyone venturing into the industry?
Juli ~ Stay true, stay humble, stay the course, be patient, be selective, and, work everywhere you can: community theater, church dramas, improve groups, etc. When you do it because you love it, every gig becomes “the big one.”
THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)
Coffee, Tea or Mocha? I love me some coffee—sweet and light just like me! 😉
TV or Magazine? I don’t really have possession of the remote control very often, so I’m gonna say magazine while my guys are watching TV.
Book or Music? Book, book, book! Love to get lost in a novel. Although music is a huge part of my prep process.
Gym or Outdoor? For what? Like running and stuff? Yeah, I don’t do that.
Rain or Snow? Rain! It holds a special meaning for me and my hubby, it rained on our wedding day, so we see a rainy day as a blessing ever since. How sweet!
Spring or Fall? Fall; pumpkins are my favorite thing ever!!
Summer or Winter? Used to be summer. But the older I get, the more I appreciate the slow restful time of fireplaces and snuggle blankets.
Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast for dinner.
Boots or Heels/Sandals or Flats? Whatever goes with the outfit.
Dress or Pants? Same Dress or Pants? I love the ease and comfort of a slip on dress.
Thank you, Juli, for visiting TBAP today! 🙂
My pleasure!! I really appreciate this opportunity to share my heart and mission with you and your readers. God bless!
Find this post on facebook!
About Juli Tapken
Entering just her third year in the film industry, Juli Tapken has logged more than 20 IMDb credits with major roles in feature films like faith-based projects Providence, Mission Improbable, The Reins Maker, and many more. Juli is also showing up big in television with upcoming shows like 12 Masks and Think. Create. Repeat, plus multiple commercials in various markets. She began singing and acting very early as a child in Oklahoma, building to lead-roles in musical theater classics like Oklahoma, Gypsy, and The Diary of Anne Frank, which led to a professional career in Branson, Missouri, where she performed in Two From Galilee, and a long run on the musical comedy, Smoke on the Mountain. Juli Tapken is dedicated and driven to bringing her characters to life in an honest and relatable way, while being a strong asset on set. Juli also has great range, performing many different role-types, and is actively seeking even greater challenges! Visit Juli on her website, view her IMDb profile, and connect with her on twitter and her facebook page!