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Artist Scoop ~ Interview with Music Artist, Screenwriter & Author, Tyler Russell

Meet the phenomenal Tyler Russell! Tyler is an author, screenwriter, and music artist who’s out to take the world by storm by letting God use him in a myriad of ways. Very passionate about life and his work for God, Tyler released a Christmas single in 2016, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (find on apple & spotify), and a pop single this August, 2018, Now or Never (read the TBAP review here), written with fellow artist and friend, Zandy Fitzgerald of The New Respects, and took some time to talk to TBAP about it, as well as his story of faith, family, writing, and his take on life in general. Take a look!

Miranda ~ Hello Tyler! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Thank you for having me. I am a west coast boy, born in LA and raised north of Portland, OR. I now live in Nashville, Tennessee. I am one of six children; three of my siblings were adopted from Haiti in 2000. I earned my BFA in Theatre from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. After college, I began to write a lot as I continued to work for my Mom’s company. She is #1 NYT Bestselling Author, Karen Kingsbury. I have adapted several of her books into screenplays, and I sold my first screenplay last year. It was a Hallmark Christmas Movie called Maggie’s Christmas Miracle. I am also currently working on my first book series, The Baxter Family Children (co-written with my mom). Book One, Best Family Ever, will release in February 2019.

Miranda ~ Is there a special story on how you became a Christian? Would love to hear it!

I was raised in a Christian home to parents who found their own relationship with Jesus in their 20s. We were at church on Sundays and in the Bible throughout the week. I’m really thankful for such amazing parents who knew the importance of teaching us the Truth, and letting us figure it out on our own. My relationship with Christ is very personal. I realized how necessary it was in High School where there were ample opportunities to choose darkness or light. I chose light, which can be lonely at times. But every season since, I have held on to my faith and chased the light. I know I need to be in the Word and prayer every day. And I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me in all I do. To be filled with the Spirit and be empowered from Him is essential to walking in Holiness in 2018. I simply am no good without Him.

Miranda ~ When did music become a part of your life and, at what point did you decide to go professional?

Tyler: Whether I was making up songs as a kid, or doing theater, or singing in church, music has always been part of my life in some way. I grew up learning piano, and that became a helpful tool as I began to song-write in High School where I also learned guitar. I knew I always wanted to do music in some capacity. And I have had seasons where I pursued it, but the door never opened. I knew it was God saying, “Not yet.” And I always said that I would be patient and wait for the right time. And this feels like the right time. He has orchestrated so much of this and opened doors to work with the right people. So, I am just taking steps forward as He leads.

Miranda ~ In describing the dream that God has laid on your heart, where do you see God taking you?

Tyler: I just want to be used. That has always been my prayer.
I have so many passions and interests, and I hope to be able to do all of them at some point in my life. But most of all, I want to bring glory to Jesus and lead people to Him. I want the things that I make, write, sing, and say to touch people and make them think or feel something. And I want to be a person who brings light into the world. I really want to step out of God’s way and let Him work. My ‘YES’ is on the table for Him. So I will go where He leads and do what He says, and hopefully keep using the gifts He has given me along the way.

Miranda ~ You’re clearly passionate about your faith. What, however, led you to choose mainstream as opposed to Christian?

Tyler: It’s an interesting question, and it’s one that comes up often. It’s also something I ask myself a lot. Now or Never was something that I loved writing and it’s a song that I love to perform. It has this infectious energy to it, it makes you want to dance and smile. It felt like the perfect song to lead out with. I know that there is power in bringing light into the world, especially in such crazy times like we are in now. But Now or Never is one side of me. It’s one thing I want to say. I think that as more music is released, people will see the other sides of me. I write worship songs. I write things about my faith. But I also have songs about my heart, and about my life. Heartbreak, friendship, family, fun… these are all part of anyone’s life. They make up who I am. And these songs come from God. I know there are messages in these songs that need to be heard. So I hope that my music doesn’t just reach one audience, I hope that the message reaches whoever needs it in that moment.

Miranda ~ Now or Never is mainstream but deeply inspirational. What inspired the writing/music/tone? What would you say is your guiding principle when writing a song?

Tyler: Now or Never was written with my friend of over ten years, Zandy Fitzgerald. She is in the group, The New Respects, whose debut album, Before the Sun Goes Down (read the TBAP review here) was released the same day as Now or Never – Go get it. It’s amazing! She and I got together for a writing session and, after discussing how often songwriters write sad, heavy songs, we decided to go for something fun, something we would listen to on a road trip, and a song that we would want to dance to. Something that made you want to roll your windows down and just have a good time. We both rely heavily on our faith, and we understand the importance of knowing that tomorrow may not be there. It isn’t promised. All we have is today. So, we liked the idea of choosing joy and committing to live in the moment. And within an hour or so, most of the song was finished. Then I took it to the incredibly talented Eric Arjes. He produced this track and helped bring it to life. He really is a genius. He understood my vision and helped make it even better.

Miranda ~ Since you’re just starting out in the music business, how would you describe navigating it so far? Is it anything like you thought it would be? How is it different than what you thought?

Tyler: I have learned a lot about the music business throughout the last few years. Something I am learning is that you have to know what you want. You have to know what you want to say. No one can make that decision for you. And if someone does, it will not ring true. And you will come across as being disingenuous. You have to know what you want, and as a Christian, you have to know where God is calling you. Too many opinions may sway you one way or the other. But if God said it, then you move. So much goes into music these days. Not only do you need to put in the work, writing, working on an instrument, vocal lessons. You need to find the right producers or musicians to play on the track. There is social media and marketing the song. And then, once it’s been released, you need to brace for the feedback which really requires thick skin. The music business is all about being authentic, strong, courageous, and knowing how to market yourself. It’s not done without putting in some very hard work, especially as an independent artist.

Miranda ~ Who are the people who’ve inspired you the most professionally and generally in life?

Tyler: My parents definitely inspire me personally. They have such strong faith and have used their platforms and vocations as ways to glorify Christ. They teach me a lot about joy and humility every day. They teach me what it means to be selfless and serve others. They are a huge inspiration to me and make me want to be better all the time. Musically or professionally, I would say in one way or another, whether from a place of songwriting, marketing, resilience, life story, or passion for Jesus, some of the inspirational people for me are (in no particular order) Pastor Steven Furtick (From Elevation Church) and Michael Todd (From Transformation Church). I listen to these Pastors’ podcasts regularly. Musically, I am inspired by so many artists, but I like Need-To-Breathe, Carole King, Ben Rector, Jeremy Camp, Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Phil Wickham. The Worship Director at my church, Dwan Hill, is an amazing songwriter, musician, and man of God. He raises the bar for me in so many ways and displays what it means to be someone who is thriving and working in the music industry without compromise. He puts ministry and family first. Period. He sets himself apart. And that is hugely inspirational.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for at this moment and generally?

Tyler: I am so grateful for my family. Family can be tough sometimes. There are ups and downs and seasons where people go off and do their own thing. But at the end of the day, family is family. And we only get one chance with our family. So, I am grateful to have mine. I am so thankful for my health. I am thankful for Jesus in my life, and the friendship and Sonship I have with Him. I am so blessed to have the freedom where I live to be able to worship Him freely and study the Bible. And I am grateful for exciting adventures ahead and the countless songs I have yet to record and release. I hope this is just the beginning.

Miranda ~ Since you’ve already launched onto the music scene, what advice would you offer someone who believes they’ve been called by God into mainstream music and are just starting out?

Tyler: Don’t compromise. You may feel called to mainstream music, but that doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are. Your songs can be about your life, but let your heart be about Christ! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Stay in the Word. Surround yourself with people who will sharpen you, call you out when you do wrong, and then call you up and encourage you to be better. Be strong and courageous. Step out of the boat and just go for it! Be willing to shift and move as God leads. His plan is better than ours!

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee or Tea? Coffee

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor

Sneakers or Boots? Boots

Running or Walking? Running

Cereal or Fruit? Cereal. Always!

Music or Books?Music

TV or Magazine? TV

Summer or Spring?Summer

Rain or Snow? Rain

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather Jacket

About Tyler Russell

Tyler has spent most of his life performing, writing, and singing. He grew up doing theater and acting and began songwriting in high school. He went on to study worship at Liberty University where he toured in a gospel choir. He then moved to Nashville to pursue music and finish his degree, earning his BFA in theater from Lipscomb University. He has toured the country singing and leading worship, sharing the stage with artists like Jeremy Camp, Mandisa, Tremaine Hawkins, and Michael W. Smith. Along with music, Tyler is also a screenwriter and novelist. He is currently working on recording and releasing original music and his debut single, Now or Never, is available now! You can visit Tyler on Twitter at @TyRuss107! Ephesians 3:20


Album Review ~ Holy Roar By Chris Tomlin

HOLY ROAR: the freedom, the experience, the wonder of worship. It is seeing the church come together, hands lifted to God, pouring out our praise with an eternal song in our hearts. It’s every voice together, changing the way we worship.




Contemporary Praise/Worship

Release Date

October 26, 2018.


5 Stars


Tomlin’s Holy Roar is so full of heart, worship, and absolute surrender to God, prepared with a zeal that persuades the listener in holy atmosphere to do the same. The music is the most excellent blend of contemporary praise/worship (in recent times)–rich with depth, passionate lyrics, and the wealthiest of melodies, touching on subjects from faith to heaven and [almost] everything in-between. There’s a “good ol” feeling to some of the songs that remind one of the old greats, and yet, still combines fantastically with the songs that are more modern/urban.

Holy Roar, as Tomlin implies, reverberates with enthusiastic praise and surrender that stems from the unrelenting passion to worship God and lead others to do the same. A beautifully put-together album that is soothing and reinvigorating for such a [weary] time as this.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My appreciation to Propeller Consulting, LLC for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

About Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin is one of the most heralded singer-songwriters in the world who has amassed an impressive body of work. He has sold more than 8 million albums, 11.3 million digital tracks with 16 #1 singles. Chris is one of only four artists ever to receive the Sound Exchange Digital Radio Award for over 1 Billion digital radio streams, others include Justin Timberlake, Pitbull and Garth Brooks. 

The Grammy® winner’s list of music awards include an American Music Award, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 21 Dove Awards, a BMI Songwriter of the Year Award and more. Chris’ concert tours have sold-out venues in major cities including New York City’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in Los Angeles, Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and Red Rocks in Denver, among others. This spring, Chris marked another career milestone by launching his own imprint record label, Bowyer & Bow, in partnership with Capitol Christian Music Group.

Scoop ~ Interview with GQ Model, Hollywood Actor & Author, John T. Prather

John T. Prather is an actor and model with a heart for God, passion for spreading the Word, and helping out kids in the foster care system. With roles in some successful TV series as well as being featured on major national magazines like GQ, People, and Men’s Health, success didn’t come easy for John as he often makes it clear the need to stand for Jesus no matter what. With his recent release of his debut novel, The Nephilim Virus—endorsed by Hollywood actress, Megan Fox, John is set to break new ground which he believes will open doors for Christians to spread the Word through stories that provide a crossover platform to accommodate both Christian and non-Christian readers. John stopped by on TBAP to talk about life, faith, his new book, as well as his work in Hollywood. Take a look!

Miranda ~ Hello John! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself that we don’t already know.

John: Thank you for having me! Well, I’m married to a wonderful woman, and we have three children. One of them is adopted out of the Los Angeles county foster care system. I’m a big advocate for foster care and adoption, and often write on the subject when I’m not working on a novel or acting.

Miranda ~ When did you first give your life to Jesus and make Him your personal Lord and Savior?

John: I was raised in a Christian family, so I was often in church while growing up; but when I was twelve, I decided I needed to figure out if the “God thing” was for me, or if it was just for my family. I’ve never been a halfway person, so I knew I needed to figure out what I believed for myself and go all-in one way or the other. I chose God. I always say God knew He had to get me when I was young or I would have gone all-in in the other direction.

Miranda ~ What event inspired that particular moment?

John: I was sitting in church. I remember the exact seat, but I have no idea what the pastor was speaking about. I honestly don’t remember anything more than the feeling of realizing that I needed to get exactly what my life was going to be about nailed down for myself. Was I going to chase God or chase selfishness?

Miranda ~ You’re an actor who’s been in successful TV series like Project: Phoenix, Scream Queens & WWE Raw, and also a model who’s been featured on national magazines like GQ, People, & Men’s Health. What principle guides your choice of contracts, and as a Christian, what has this cost you in Hollywood?

John: Having faith costs quite a bit in Hollywood. I often say that when Jesus talked about the gates of hell, He was referring to Hollywood because, it is the voice piece for the worldly way of living. I grew up in the south where belief in God was normal and accepted for the most part, but being a Christian in Hollywood is completely different. Christians face persecution out here because when they live the way Jesus called them to live, they are at odds with the Hollywood system. I’m not trying to compare Los Angeles to places like China or North Korea where Christians are literally dying for their faith, but as far as America goes, I think being a Christian costs more in LA than anywhere else in the States. Personally, I’ve lost jobs, gotten ostracized, and literally been screamed at for refusing projects I felt I shouldn’t do. But the great thing is, Jesus promised us the gates of hell would not prevail. For that to be true, though, Christians have to be out here attacking those gates.

Miranda ~ You have a new fiction novel out, your debut into writing—The Nephilim Virus. Huge congrats! At what point did you know you were going to be a writer?

John: Thank you! Getting a book published was a huge milestone for me, but I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved telling stories. I think I got it from my grandfather who was a wonderful storyteller. I used to listen to him and then try to write my own stories. I have stacks of old notebooks filled with stories I wrote as a child.

Miranda ~ Why now, why this story, and why do you believe it’s the perfect crossover that will invite both Christian and non-Christian readers?

John: I think all great themes such as faith and sacrifice and hope and courage and love are all just small pictures of the great story—God’s story. As a Christian in Hollywood, I wanted to write a book that was all about God’s story, but people wouldn’t realize it until it was too late and they were already hooked. My goal was to write a fast-paced thriller that Christians wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to their non-Christian friends. Actress, Megan Fox, loved the book and was kind enough to endorse it for me, so I hope that means I at least partially succeeded!

Miranda ~ What elements in the story make this possible?

John: C.S. Lewis once famously noted that the world doesn’t need more Christian literature, but more Christians writing good literature. I tried to keep that in mind as I wrote. As a Christian, everything I create comes from that worldview so that I can focus on creating a really fun, fast-paced, enjoyable story, and God will be in that.

Miranda ~ Since you’re already an actor/writer, do you have plans to turn it into a script for film, especially as it has the crossover element in place?

John: I would love to see The Nephilim Virus turned into a film or TV series. I can’t say too much yet, but there are things on the horizon that are very exciting. I hope to be able to share more soon, but I will say that having the endorsement of an actress like Megan Fox is a wonderful sign.

Miranda ~ What advice would you give a Christian presently struggling in Hollywood the way you initially did, but believes God has called them to remain and work there for His kingdom?

John: I would tell them to get used to struggling! Haha. I would also tell them to stay strong. I’ve been out here for eight years, and this last year was the most difficult yet. Los Angeles isn’t an easy city. It’s a battle every day. But if God has called you to be out here, then He will give you the strength to stay in the fight. Count on it!

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee or Tea? Neither! But tea, if I have to choose.

Gym or Outdoor? Both! Man, I’m not very good at this. Haha. I’ll say gym.

Sneakers or Boots? Boots. No contest.

Running or Walking? Running.

Cereal or Fruit? Fruit.

Music or Books? Books. Lots of books.

TV or Magazine? TV. Magazines don’t pay residuals. Haha.

Summer or Spring? Summer.

Rain or Snow? Snow.

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather jacket. To go with my boots.

Thank you, John, for visiting today! Thank you so much for having me! I really enjoyed our talk.

About John Prather

John T. Prather grew up with seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, on a steady diet of BBQ and southern values. After graduating from the University of Memphis, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at the entertainment industry. As a model, he has been featured in the national magazines such as People, GQ, Men’s Health, as well as on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine, among others. As an actor, he has played characters in TV series such as Scream Queens on the Fox network, as well as WWE Raw. As a writer, Prather has contributed articles top several websites and magazines including Focus on the Family, The Daily Caller,, and Prather’s wife recently gave birth to twins, and they have adopted their foster daughter whom they raised since she was days old. Learn more about John Prather on his official website.

Movie DVD Review ~ Saving Faith By Lionsgate

About the Movie

Saving Faith revolves around Faith Scott and her Uncle Donny. Faith is the Executive Director of the Ritz Theater in the small Tennessee town of Clinton. After years of struggle to keep the doors open it looks like it might be time to shut them for good. In one last ditch effort to keep the theater alive, Faith and Uncle Donny look to put together a big Christmas show…in June. Using his connections, that Faith knows nothing about, Uncle Donny is able to book a big time headliner for the show – Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Peter Marsh is a local business man in Clinton that has been waiting for the Ritz to go under so he can buy it cheap from the bank and sell it to a big time developer. When he hears about the Vince Gill/Amy Grant show, he pulls out all the stops to make sure the show does not go on. Uncle Donny, Faith and their friends and family pull together to make sure that they have done everything in their power to keep the doors to the Ritz Theater open, but can they succeed?





Initial Release Date

February 1, 2017.

DVD Release Date

September 18, 2018.


2.5 Stars


The Story line is built to inspire with these three themes: that trusting God no matter the situation is the best thing any child of God could do; secondly, to step out, make decisions, make efforts, and never give up. Thirdly, in the midst of trusting God, things may not go the way we hoped that they would, but it doesn’t mean that God isn’t in control; ALL things will work out for the good of those who trust God.

While this plot has a beautiful message, screen and behind-the-scenes execution could have been better. The story is engaging enough to follow through to the end, but this isn’t enough to make the movie utterly spectacular.

Article ~ The [Entertainment] Gatekeeper

The New Faces Director

Many years ago, I worked in a major acting and modeling agency in the West as the New Faces Division Director (I will keep the agency unnamed). I was responsible for seeking new talent, vetting new talent, and training and helping develop new talent. Pretty much, you had to impress me in order for you to move forward to be represented as…new talent. It meant going forward to introduce models and actors to directors, casting directors, producers, and setting up “go-sees” for models for national and international agencies like IMG, BOSS, LA MODELS, and also, going to Milan, Paris, Japan. You get the idea. I LOVED my job and I was GOOD at it!

During my time in this capacity, I was “important” because I had business cards and the card named my title. I WAS THE GATEKEEPER.  I discovered some fantastic talent, met some colorful characters, and made some great friends and colleagues. I opened doors for many aspiring talent and I (unfortunately) single-handedly crushed many dreams of potential new talent or talent that wasn’t meshing with us, and had to tell them it wasn’t working out.

An agency is a business and this is a real side, albeit—not always pleasant, a fact many people seem to overlook. Agents look at new talent in dollar signs because, this is their business like any other.

A cold hard fact.

Developing New Actors and Models

I mentioned ‘developing new talent’. What this means is that, along with my co-worker in our department (who I didn’t really like or agree with), we were required to sell classes to wide-eyed individuals with the caveat: there are no guarantees you will get work as a model or actor. I have nothing against learning or taking classes to enhance your acting skills and becoming fierce on the runway. Heck, I was/am an acting instructor. I think you should learn how to have etiquette on set, how to put on your makeup, speak properly, learn to cold read, etc. These are all necessary abilities for this industry. My colleague and I would essentially guide the talent. If they wanted to take classes, so be it; they made the informed choice. We were doing our jobs and received commission for it (YES, when you are sold a class for thousands of dollars in an agency or talent scouting company, the agents get a commission. This is a self-serving industry. It is a business. Not that this is all bad. Just know that going in.). People were learning, the owner was happy, we discovered some awesome talent and weeded folks out. Everybody won, right?


Until my conscience started whispering nags at me like, “Selling classes to people who obviously don’t have a future or the right temperament for this industry is wrong. Stop and use better judgment!”

If It Doesn’t Challenge You It Won’t Change You

Some examples of poor choices that come to mind as to whom we sold classes to include:

 A little boy who couldn’t read. This child was enrolled by my associate because, he was an absolutely beautiful child. I mean, gorgeous! His grandmother thought for sure that he would be a star. I ended up refunding their money, which made my co-worker extremely angry. It was painful to see this child under so much pressure each time I looked at the tape. I knew it wasn’t right. I was ashamed we let it happen.

A painfully shy young woman with very low self-esteem who often walked hunched over and hid behind her hair. This young lady was about 17-19 years old. Her mother and ex-model sister thought this was the way she could improve herself, and that, somehow, she would become a supermodel. No pressure. Later, in watching the tapes of the class, I saw that she would freeze and cry on camera, and not in a ‘cry on cue kinda way,’ but more or less, in a humiliated and terrified way.  She never spoke, but was allowed to coast in the classes (more on this later).

A mentally disturbed young man who was disruptive. His parents had money to burn and wanted him to “flourish”. An advance acting workshop was coming up, and a guest director from L.A. was coming to teach. My boss said, “Sign him up because his is a sure bet on tuition.” Against my better judgment, I didn’t speak up because I was afraid of my boss (Amanda Priestly, anyone?), and because I didn’t want to lose the big commission.  Well, several professional actors who were in the class, as well as the guest instructor, complained about this young man’s outbursts. We later explained to the parents that this wasn’t for him and refunded their money (along with my sure bet of a large commission).

She Hid behind Her Hair and Looked at Her Shoes

Remember the painfully shy young woman in her teens? Well, here is what happened:

A year later, the girl and her beautiful, confident, former model big sister (who gave up modeling to be married with children), came to visit me in my office. The younger sister, as always, hid behind her hair and remained silent and sat hunched over. The big sister did all the talking…and I mean ALL the talking. She demanded to know why we hadn’t contacted her sister with auditions. “After all,” she said, “she took all the classes.”

I listened intently. My face was getting hot and I was ready to do battle. Remember I mentioned I was important because of my title? I was thinking, while they…I mean SHE—the ex-model now turned beautiful perfect mother and Christian homemaker—was talking, that, how dare they come into my beautiful expensive, hoity-toity office and make such demands on me? ME? Irene Santiago, the New Faces Director?! Because…I AM important! My business card says so! I AM THE GATEKEEPER!  Be gone, sisters! Your sister shall not pass because she isn’t good enough! Well, that didn’t happen, because, thankfully, I didn’t say any of that. Not even close. (Thank you Holy Spirit. Proverbs 13:16a, NLT Wise people think before they act.)

Instead, something else happened.

I remembered an interview that I had watched with Jay Leno and the supermodel, Elle Macpherson, a few nights prior. I remembered how beautiful she was and how well she carried herself. She was so eloquent, funny, and charming. This is what the young woman seated in my office was expected to be. And not celebrated for who she truly was. My heart softened, and, gently, I thanked the ladies for coming to see me. Instead of going all “The Devil Wears Prada” on them (not that I owned any Prada or could afford it), I spoke with love from my heart. I said to the younger sister (and I’m paraphrasing because it’s been a long time), “You must be extremely special because your big sister loves you very much to come here to support you in this way and speak on your behalf.” She nodded. Then I said, “I have heard what your sister has said, but I would like you to tell me, what do you think of all this?” The poor girl remained quiet for some time as she looked at her shoes. Hiding behind her hair, she eventually mumbled her answers.  She was so scared and embarrassed, and cried. Then the big sister cried too. I felt really bad. If I wasn’t so “important,” I would have cried too (Okay, I teared up).

I asked her if she wouldn’t mind showing me how she was instructed to walk on the runway. She agreed.  Then she walked hunched over, unsure of herself and still hiding behind her hair, then sat back down and looking at her shoes still hunched over. I asked her to tell me what she liked about the classes, and she mumbled that it gave her more confidence, and that it was fun to learn scripts and socialize with the other girls.

Okay. I was happy to hear that!

Then I explained, “When you go to an audition, the first thing they notice is your confidence and ability to look them in the eye; then they want to hear you speak. It is scary enough as it is going into auditions, but this is what it is. This is what is expected. Did you happen to see the interview with Elle Macpherson on The Tonight Show the other night?” Both girls nodded. Clearly, they remembered how elegant Elle was. I said, “Yes, she is beautiful, but that is not what really makes her beautiful, memorable or successful. What makes a woman beautiful is her confidence, a loving heart, and her charm. There are many beautiful women out there, but beauty fades. It’s what’s inside that counts.”

Now I had to tell them the whole truth.

I explained that the business is immensely competitive. While the classes did give her some confidence and taught her many useful skills for life, it was not reflected in her walk and talk. It did not mean that she was any less special. This business just wasn’t for her. Her heart was not in it, and she even admitted that she was taking the classes because of her mom; it wasn’t her passion but her mother’s. Both sisters understood and agreed with me. They thanked me for my time and left. I was so grateful!

Crisis averted.

But then, about an hour later, their mom called, demanding to know what I’d said to them. “All I know is that I have two daughters that are in tears,” she exclaimed.  In my mind I was thinking, “Wait, I thought this was worked out?” Then I started to get a little queasy in my stomach. A thought came to me, just tell the mother the same truth.

So I did.

“Thank you for calling me, Ma’am.  You have two special daughters. Let me explain what I told them. Did you happen to catch The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the other night when Elle Macpherson was on…”

She understood.

The Gatekeeper Turns In Her Keys

 I made mistakes and regretted them. The agency is still a major and legit business.  In the owner’s defense, she believed one-stop shopping was the way to go. But that is her business, not mine. I turned in my keys and eventually left. I was grateful for working there, I learned much and moved on. When I left, I realized that, yes, my job was important, but not for the reasons that I’d initially thought. It was important because I’d done a lot of good for clients—as a catalyst who believed in and guided them.  A title is not what defines me. My heart and actions do.

Summary Points To Remember About the Business of Agencies

If you learn anything at all from my musings, it should be this: There are no GUARANTEES that you will get work as a model or actor no matter how much money you spend. Agencies and Talent Scouting Companies are a business. Show business is still a business. They are not daycares, babysitters or magicians. YES, you should plan on spending money in the industry, but be wise about it. Do your homework and due diligence. Prospective talent/parents/grandparents/legal guardians, don’t be so desperate to be a part of the film and modeling industry that you would sell your soul, dignity, kids’ dignity or spend your entire life savings. Scams see you coming a mile away. Be smart.

There are No Shortcuts

Successful talents have supportive agents/agencies. The film and modeling industry can be fun and worthwhile. While it is NOT for everyone, it is also NOT all evil. It’s what’s inside you that counts! Your PASSION! What makes a person appealing is their confidence, a loving heart, and their charm. There are many beautiful people out there, but remember, beauty fades.

About this Contributor

Irene Santiago’s motto is A.B.C = I Act Because of Christ. She is a busy, award-winning actress, voice over talent, speaker, acting coach, model, producer, wife and mother. She is mainly recognized for her role in High School Musical (Part 1) as the “Chem Teacher” (and her kids roll their eyes whenever someone mentions it!). Other credits include: One Tree Hill, Providence, Adrenaline, and Badge of Faith.  You can connect with her on her official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and IMDb page.


*The article, The Gatekeeper, first appeared on ToBeAPerson (TBAP).

**To learn more about Irene Santiago’s work or about reputable talent agencies and scouting companies check out these helpful links below:

Irene Santiago’s other articles on TBAP

How Fear Inspired My Life and Career

Respecting the Creation You Were Meant To Be

Helpful Acting and Modeling Links

5 Ways to Recognize an Acting or Modeling Scam

Modeling and Talent from the Better Business Bureau

Backstage – So Your Child Has an Interview With a Talent Rep? How to Prepare

How to Choose An Acting Class

Watch out for modeling scams as per IMG MODELS

Album Review ~ Daydreamer By Matthew Parker





Release Date

October 26, 2018.


4.5 Stars


Matthew Parker’s Daydreamer opens with the eclectic Alice, an invitation to a musical journey inspired by a heart rich with much to say about life, which is the undertone expressed throughout the album in a myriad of ways. The beauty of Daydreamer album—as showcased by the song, also, by which the album is titled—is that it highlights the truth that Christians, like everyone else, live in a world where each individual is exposed to multiple experiences that come together to build the individual into the person that they are—love, dreams, friendship, mistakes, faith, hope, heartbreak, sorrow etc. And in the midst of the lyrics and the music, is a signature blend which brings to the music scene a quintessential pop quality unique to Parker and Parker alone. Parker hits his notes with such beautiful melodious ease and impressive skill that it is nothing short of outstanding.

Daydreamer is an album that invites the listener to experience the highs and lows while maintaining faith and a positive outlook on life!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My appreciation to DREAM Label Group for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About Matthew Parker

Matthew Parker grew up in the mitten-shaped state of Michigan, USA. He wasn’t especially interested in music as a kid, but at about age 12, after learning to play guitar and fiddling around with making weird synthesizer sounds in Garageband, Matthew found a love for creating creative, catchy tunes with electronic and organic sounds and it looks like he’s never going to stop. After releasing 2 well-received albums and getting one #2 and two #3 hit singles on the Billboard CHR Radio Chart, Matthew is gearing up to release his third album with DREAM and is incredibly excited for the world to hear his newest tunes.

About the album, Matthew Parker says, “I’m beyond excited for this new album because I’ve been working on it for 2 years ever since my last album, Adventure, came out, and I’ve put my WHOLE mind and soul into this. It’s been amazing to see how much I’ve grown as a songwriter and producer, and I’m so excited to show the world the new sounds I’ve come up with. I’ve taken risks on some of the songs, especially in departing somewhat from the pure EDM vibes I’ve somewhat been known for, with more of the songs on this record being more on the Pop side, with electronic influences. I can’t wait to see what happens with it. I know this is going to be the “adventure” I’ve been “daydreaming” about for a while. Keep your eyes open for my upcoming album, Daydreamer.”


Article ~ I Am Samson (Part 2) – The Power of God’s Redeeming Grace


“Come boldly to the Throne of Grace and obtain mercy and grace in your time of need.” —Hebrews 4:16

Samson is named in what is popularly referred to as the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. While the first few names were listed along with the events in which their faith travailed, other names that followed were simply mentioned; Samson was one name in the latter group.

Some people often wonder why Samson is called a hero of faith—Didn’t his story end tragically? How could such a tragic tale be inspiring to anyone?

Well, Samson is listed as a hero because his faith highlighted the depths that God’s redeeming grace, which yearns to restore man, could reach no matter how deep the pit of despair and destruction. It’s astounding that despite the horrors that happened to Samson because of continued complacency, he dared to have the bold faith that would lead him to pray to God and say, “O Lord, God, remember me…” This speaks of a person who’d known God on a deeply personal level, and had experienced richly His goodness, faithfulness, and mercies on numerous counts.

It’s a known fact that, typically, when the average person falls into sin, there’s the tendency to want to run from God; it takes God’s love and believing on this love, to be drawn back to Him in full hope and faith, and receive joy, peace, comfort, and restoration. Sadly, running is more common today among Christians than not. Thankfully, more people are being taught the truth that God gladly anticipates us turning to Him when we stumble or fall.

This is what Samson’s story brings to the table.

This is what Jesus’ coming and work on the cross illustrates—a loving Father Who wants to redeem!

Are you lost and in despair of redemption?

Do you believe that you’re too far gone to be saved?

Do you despair that at this point, it is impossible for your life to make meaning?

I invite you to look at Samson’s story and dare to be inspired by his faith and boldness to seek God’s grace that first forgave, then restored his purpose, and finally, gave his life and story impressive meaning that resonates to this day—so much so that he is recognized eternally as one of the great heroes of faith!

Remember this: no matter who you are, what you’ve done, and where you are right now—even sick in the hospital or in prison—in the hands of the Almighty and Faithful Jehovah, your story can make a difference and not be wasted or turned into ashes. The arm of God is not too short to restore purpose and use you to bless others. The wisdom of our Father in heaven—Jesus Christ—manifests in our lives in a myriad of ways if we let Him be the author and finisher of our faith.

Just dare to be bold to seek His grace and face.

What do you say?


About the Editor

Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, and a Mogul Global Ambassador. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category.

When Miranda isn’t working on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, her journey as an author and her other activities, you can follow her personal website. You can also connect with her on TwitterFacebookPinterest, and Google+.

*The article, I Am Samson (Part 2), first appeared on ToBeAPerson (TBAP) Blog, and is part of the ‘I Am’ series.