The brilliant and lovely Sharonne Lanier is one of the leading ladies of Faithflix’s Summer of ’67 movie (read the TBAP review here). Her sparkling screen presence is incredibly difficult to miss, even when a secondary character, and her vibrant faith is all kinds of lovely contagious as she talks about Jesus as her Lord and Savior without missing a heartbeat. Sharonne gladly shared bits of her faith, life journey, and career with TBAP today in way that displays her passion and the joy that comes from doing what she loves. Her honesty and bright personality are both refreshing and inspiring and invites a listener to participate in the genuineness of the arts. Take a look!
Miranda ~ Hello Sharonne! Glad to have you visit TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Sharonne: Thank you for having me! Hmm…what can I say? I love God, I love my family and friends, and I love acting! I’m particularly passionate about faith-based and family-oriented films. The world is becoming such a dark place and I really want people to know there is still HOPE. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the entertainment industry. I don’t think we really realize how much our lives are influenced by entertainment and, unfortunately, most of it is completely unhealthy for our spiritual lives. I want to help reverse this trend.
Miranda ~ When did you first find Jesus? What led to that moment?
Sharonne: Honestly, I was raised in a Christian household, so I didn’t really experience a come-to-Jesus moment. However, I can vividly recall the moment I truly knew He was real, and not someone we just read about in the Bible. In 9th grade, we were learning about world religions and I remember asking myself, How on earth can I believe that my faith is the only way? The thought just started to seem so self-righteous to me. Well, during that time of questioning, Satan decided to make himself known and, boy, did he! I would literally wake up in the middle of the night to see my bedroom door moving by itself or the ceiling fan stopping itself. I had nightmares in which I could see demons at the foot of the bed, but I was stuck in position and couldn’t move or speak. My word, it was awful! One night, I woke to see a 7 to 9 foot orange figure at the foot of the bed slowly coming towards me. Suddenly, it flew back outside of the room and for a moment I was stuck in total fear. I finally mustered up the courage to scream, “In the name of Jesus!” I heard a whole bunch of fighting in the hallway. It sounded like furniture being slammed against the walls. After that night, all the demonic activity I was experiencing stopped. What did that mean? It meant the name of JESUS has POWER!!! I literally heard the battle with my own ears…His name broke the chains. His name is mighty. His name has power. His name is real.
Miranda ~ You’re a wife, mother and nurse! That sounds super busy! What moment inspired you to wear another hat, acting?
Sharonne: Lol, the question more so is, what inspired me to be a nurse! I was acting long before becoming a nurse. For years, I tried to think of another career besides acting that would make me happy. Money isn’t always the best in acting, and with a family, I knew we needed to be more secure. I literally couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do. After delivering my second son, it became apparent that I wanted to be a Labor and Delivery or Postpartum nurse. So, I went back to school and now work at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, which is the #1 hospital for delivering babies in the world! I’ll be honest, I still enjoy acting a lot more than my second career, but nursing is a nice side gig 😉 I love my patients!
Miranda ~ Being a wife, mother, nurse and actress, how are you able to successfully juggle family and work and maintain balance?
Sharonne: By the grace of God…I’m not joking! There are times when I feel like this is way too much, but He helps me get through. God has blessed me with my family, careers, and opportunities, so I’m constantly looking to Him for guidance, and I’m learning to trust Him more and more. There’s no way I could do this on my own.
Miranda ~ You just got cast in Karen Abercrombies new film project, Just Grace. How did you land this role and, what, about the story and role inspired you to go for it?
Sharonne: Yes, I’m so excited!!! I saw the breakdown for Just Grace on ActorsAccess, which is an online database for auditions. When I saw the project, I was immediately drawn to it. I was so drawn to it that not only did I submit through the database, but I also contacted the casting director, Tara Marcelle, to let her know how incredibly interested I was in reading for her. To my surprise, she actually responded (many casting directors really don’t like you contacting them personally or they’re too busy to respond to personal emails). She said she would send me the sides. Man, I was excited, but then I got the sides…and I was really excited! I thought this is going to be AMAZING!!! It’s truly a story of God’s grace and His redemptive power. I prayed about it, submitted my audition and………………..nothing. Almost a month went by, and I heard nothing regarding casting. Then one day, I’m sitting on my computer checking my messages on Facebook, and all of a sudden, I see a message from Karen Abercrombie that says, Welcome to the cast, call me… I started to get excited, but then I stopped myself and I was like, “What…wait a minute, did I read that correctly?” I’ve actually never received word that I was cast in a project through Facebook, so I had to double-check that I read everything correctly. This was so unconventional. But, I read it right…I had been cast! I started screaming, jumping up and down, running through the house, and praising God! My youngest son, who was home at the time (he’s 5 years old), was like, “Mommy, what is wrong with you?!” I told him I landed a role in Karen Abercrombie’s movie, and he just looked at me like, Okay, whats’ the big deal? Lol! Then it dawned on me that she said, “Call me.” I said to myself, “Sharonne, calm yourself down, get it together, and make the phone call!” It took several minutes, but I finally made the call. I’m sure I sounded mature and professional while talking to Mrs. Abercrombie (she is an ABSOLUTE delight by the way), but on the inside, I was a bubbly mess of joy ❤
Miranda ~ The filming of Summer of ’67 has been wrapped up, and has now been released. How would you describe your entire experience on set with the crew of Summer of ’67? How did your experience affect you on a personal level and, professionally?
Sharonne: Oh my, I loved making this film and am absolutely HONORED that I had the opportunity to be a part of it!!! Btw, I screamed when I got this role too, lol! You know, everyone was so kind and loving and sweet ❤ Sharon Wilharm, the director, told us many times that she had people praying for God to bring together the right cast and crew. I can honestly say her prayers were answered. Everyone worked together and jelled so nicely. It was such a unique experience, as many of the out of town guests stayed in Sharon and Fred Wilharm’s house. When performing as a non-local talent, I’m used to lodging being provided at a hotel. This set up was quite different, however, but I LOVED it! Many of us got a chance to bond like we never would have if we weren’t staying in the same house together. I enjoyed getting to know several of the cast and crew members, as opposed to just working with them on set. Furthermore, I was able to see and experience the Wilharm’s heart. They are such beautiful people with a true heart for ministry. And Sharon is something else…I watched her wear MANY hats without appearing to be stressed at all (read Sharon Wilharm’s TBAP interview here). And I’m talking from sunrise to sunset! I’ll never understand how she does that!
On a personal level, this film reminded me of the importance of valuing the relationships God has placed in our lives. On a professional level, it reminded me to trust in putting Him first when it comes to my acting career. For a long time, it seemed so difficult to plug into good quality faith-based films. But lately, I feel as though God is saying just trust in His timing. Summer of ’67 also reiterated the fact that actors need to know and trust their craft at all times. Sharon has a unique directing style in which she pretty much lets the actor bring whatever they want to the table. Unless she really feels the need to, she won’t ask you to make adjustments to your choices. I was a little nervous at first with having so much freedom, but then it became fun as I was liberated to literally play around with my character. If I wasn’t prepared, it could have been a disaster on my end!
Miranda ~ What do you have to say about the general belief as regards to hard work, fame, and money that supposedly comes with the territory of acting? Do you believe that the general public has a misguided view of this?
Sharonne: Lol, I most certainly do, lol! In regards to money and acting, I feel like most people think I’m going to get a big fat paycheck when I say I’ve landed a gig! Unfortunately, most of the time, this is not the case, particularly when it comes to non-union projects. There are some independent projects that pay pretty well, but for most of them, it’s just not in the budget. Union jobs, on the other hand, usually produce nice checks. But, the challenge with that lies in how often you are able to actually score a union gig. Furthermore, not only will taxes be taken out, but if you have an agent, they will need to receive their percentage; and if you have a manager they will need to receive their percentage as well. So the money situation can get a little tricky. Oh, and if you prefer to work on the stage as opposed to TV/Film, lookout, there’s even less money there. With regards to hard work and fame, I would say they do not go hand in hand. We all know plenty of talented hardworking actors who are not famous. If one wants to get into the acting profession for money and fame, they better think twice. There are far more unknown, economically challenged actors than there are rich and famous. I, personally, don’t need to make millions. My goal is simply to be able to perform and help support my family without needing a second job. I love acting so much that if I didn’t need money, I would do it for free all the time. And, I certainly don’t want to be famous…It’s all about making HIM famous ❤
Miranda ~ Who are the people who’ve influenced you the most in your career and in life generally? How so?
Sharonne: Of course, there are several people I could mention, but my mom wins the prize hands down. She is full of incredible wisdom. The funny thing is, she would never admit to being wise, but I can’t say I’ve met a wiser person. She has incredible insight! And she’s able to see things from different angles. One thing I really love about her is that when I come to her for advice, she doesn’t give me a specific directive on how to deal with the situation. Instead, she helps me make a decision based on the information at hand. When I was younger, this would bother me a lot because I was like, Ma, just give me an answer! Her refusal to do so really taught me to think, pray, and stand on my own. I love that woman!!! She also taught me to trust in the visions God has given me no matter what they may look like to the outside world. I remember when I was studying theater in college and I just wasn’t sure if it was the best decision. I was seriously contemplating changing majors. Most parents would not condone their children studying the Arts. They would encourage them to study something with a more stable future. But not my mom. She encouraged me to fight for what God placed in my heart. I’m so glad she did ❤ Earning a BFA in Theatre Performance was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—right now, generally, and about Summer of ’67?
Sharonne: I’m grateful for a lot!!! I’m incredibly thankful for my family. I have an incredibly supportive husband who chooses to ride with me on all my crazy, and sometimes, not so pleasant adventures. I have three incredible sons who constantly show me unconditional love. I’m averaging a minimum of ten kisses a day ❤ And they always make me laugh! As for Summer of ’67, I’m thankful for a film that honors our veterans, and most importantly, honors God.
Miranda ~ What advice would you offer a person who’s about to get started in the acting profession, especially on their first project?
Sharonne: Don’t let fear stop you. And don’t worry about the when, why’s, who’s, and where’s? Just jump in and do it! I find that a lot of people wanting to get into the profession have so many questions, they talk themselves out of getting started. Don’t over-think it! Just take it one step at a time and do it!
THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)
Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Mocha! So incredibly unhealthy I know, lol! But coffee and chocolate combined…sweet mama!
Dresses or Pants? I prefer wearing pants, but dresses are so much prettier.
Boots or Heels? …Umm…tennis shoes.
Gym or Outdoor? Outdoors baby!
Summer or Winter? Summer, I was born and raised in Miami, FL!
Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast food at dinner-time.
Cooking or Cleaning? Cleaning…I cannot stand a filthy house, which happens a lot in a house full of males!
Books or Music? Music all the way!
Juice or Smoothie? Smoothie, of course.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Come on, you didn’t even have to ask that one…CHOCOLATE!
Fruit or Salad? There’s nothing like a good salad.
Scarf or Gloves? Scarf
Blazer or Leather Jacket? Blazer
Aww…That’s it? I was on a roll!!!
About Sharonne Lanier
As a child, Sharonne Lanier witnessed the power of performing arts and knew she was destined to take part in it. Sharonne refused to take the desire lightly and decided to study Theatre Performance at the University of Central Florida. While many of her peers worked extremely hard at gaining self-recognition, Ms. Lanier knew there was a deeper purpose for her. It was at this point that she wrote a personal mission statement. It reads as follows:
“I am an actress who will use my God-given talents to positively motivate people. I seek to participate in productions that aim to teach and enhance the joy and moral conduct of people’s lives. I will leave this world knowing that I contributed to making a number of people’s lives easier to live.”
To this day, she has tried her best to honor this statement. Sharonne is a SAG/AFTRA eligible actress and a member of the Actor’s Equity Association. She has performed professionally in countless stage plays, television, and film productions. She is also a proud wife, mother of 3, and a nurse. Sharonne states, “May God forever get the glory in all I do!”