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Actor Scoop! ~ Alexa Jansson

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the wonderful movie, Fragile World. alexa-janssonToday, I’m interviewing its lead actress, Chloe ‘Alexa Jansson’ Russell. Follow our chat below and learn more about this lovely lady!


Miranda ~ Hello Alexa! Delighted to have you here at TBAP. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Alexa Chloe ~ Delighted to get your invite!  I’m an actress from Ohio, living in Los Angeles.
I’ve been acting professionally since 2003.  Besides acting, I love animals, music, and dancing.  I’ve been eating vegan for the past 9 months.  I see it as a ‘thank you’ to all the animals who’ve supported my health so far. I also don’t want to support some of the cruel factory farm practices.  I’m not saying all farms are cruel.  I had ACL reconstruction of my knee in April from a dancing injury.  All the new muscle I’ve built since my surgery has been from plant-based protein. I’m kinda proud of that.  I also like to make sculpture.  Lately, I’ve been making large, sculptural birthday cakes with modeling chocolate and pulled sugar elements.

 

Miranda ~ When did you first discover God? What particularly led you into a personal relationship with Him?

Alexa Chloe ~ I don’t recall a time or memory when I wasn’t aware of God.  I’m not saying I’ve always felt this way, I’m just saying I can’t recall when I didn’t.  Further, I can’t imagine the relationship being anything but close.  Although, there are times when I’ve felt lost and abandoned, spiritually. But sometimes those moments end up beefing-up the bond, so to speak, in the long run.  It’s funny how it works that way.

 

Miranda ~ When did you first discover your talent for acting? At what point did you decide to use it to serve God?

Alexa Chloe ~ My first feature film audition was in 2003.  I didn’t have any training.  My educational background was in Biology and Pharmacy.  But I was gung-ho to go to this audition.  I thought of it like this:  this character is a human being, and so am I So there.  Just be that.  Anyway, I booked it after a series of auditions.  Also, I think it helped that I looked the part and could relate to the circumstances, so it wasn’t a big stretch from who I was.  Since then, I’ve tried to embody characters that are more different than I am.

I don’t personally feel or say that I perform in film to serve God.  I wouldn’t ever think to describe it that way.  It seems bombastic.  Do I live for God?  Yes.  Or rather, I could not live without God.  Like, my cells would just implode and I’d be gone.  I mean, I guess I could distance myself as far as I could from God, and I might still be breathing, but I wouldn’t be doing anybody any good that way.  I do, however, think that it’s important to tell stories.  We need stories.  We need stories to put our experiences into context.  I think every human asks, why?  You don’t have to be fancy, or esteemed, or an actor to search for meaning.  I would like to show others that they’re not alone in their loneliness or sorrow.  I want to entertain people who need to laugh and find humor again.  This is who I serve: the audience.

 

Miranda ~ How different is acting than how you may have initially assumed it to be? Any life lessons?

Alexa Chloe ~ I didn’t realize how different genres of film and TV were from the point of view of the actor.  When you’re in the audience, things are funny, things are suspenseful, things are sad.  But as an actor, reading commercial copy versus daytime drama, versus primetime TV, versus dramatic film—almost different languages.  No, different dialects.  Life lessons?  Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot or fall on your face sometimes. You won’t grow if you’re too scared of failing.

 

Miranda ~ What has your journey into film being like? How did it draw you closer to God?

Alexa Chloe ~ When I’m cast in a role I get the opportunity—the privilege, really—to learn another life.  Even though the characters are usually fictional, it still teaches me a lot about human emotion.  No matter how prepared I am for a role, there is no safety net.  Kinda like in life.  We’ll never have all the answers.  It’s this mystery that compels me to keep acting.  It’s fascinating.  Plus all my preparation for the role is met with the art of the cinematographer, the director, the writer, the lighting—nobody can ever predict exactly how it will turn out.  It’s so collaborative, and so magical.

Miranda ~ Why did you choose to act in Christian movies as opposed to secular?

Alexa Chloe ~ I didn’t choose to act in Christian films over secular films.  I consider myself a secular actor.  The role of Rosalie in Fragile World was a mixture of haunting and hopeful, loneliness and fulfillment.  When they offered me the role I was thrilled.  It seemed like an opportunity to show where our humanness ends and our spiritness begins.

Miranda ~ What do you hope to pass across to the people that view the movies you act in?

Alexa Chloe ~ It is not my place to tell audiences what message they should take away from the films I’m in.  If I’ve served the story and inhabited the character as fully and authentically as I could, then I’m happy.  If I can evoke an emotional reaction in the audience, then I’m over-the-moon happy.  That’s my nirvana stuff.

 

Miranda ~ What other actors/filmmakers have you worked with? How has working with them made you a better actress?

Alexa Chloe ~ I’ve worked with so many great peopleE. Elias Merhige made me a better actor because of his artistic approach.  He’s not afraid to take risks, and I like that.  I also worked with director, Adrián Ramos Morales, and loved his intense observational ability. He listened with his ears and his heart.

Miranda ~ Are you on any project right now? May we have a peek into this project?

Alexa Chloe ~ I’m not filming anything at the moment; I had to take some time off after my knee surgery.  But I’ve just returned to auditioning, so we shall see.

Miranda ~ In what way do you believe the Christian film industry is different from the secular? Where do you see the industry in the next five to ten years?

Alexa Chloe ~ I can’t answer that question because I don’t know.  How will it evolve?  Again, I don’t know.  I would personally hope that more Christian filmmakers will follow writer/director Sandy Boikian’s lead, and address human frailty, Christianity, and spirituality without using saccharine tropes of almost-perfect people living almost-perfect lives.  Life is far more complex than that.  And, I think people need that.  They need to see that they’re not the only ones who feel lost sometimes.

 

Miranda ~ Why should a Christian go into acting? In what way do you believe a Christian actor can impact the world?

Alexa Chloe ~ There’s an opportunity to show that every life has value. To express their humanity.  Warts and all.

Miranda ~ What’s the single most inspiring moment in your life? How did it shape your thinking?

Alexa Chloe ~ There are too many to list.  One of them is the time I spent caring for my dad before he passed from cancer.  Another, is my recent knee injury—I have learned so much from that!  I’m actually better off because of it.

Miranda ~ Who are the people that have inspired you the most? How have they done so?

Alexa Chloe ~ My mom is an artist.  She inspires me with her relentless creativity.  She has made a thousand beautiful things.  My mom can make an amazing thing out of practically nothing.  My Aunt Monna is a hero to me.  She inspires me with her stamina, optimism, industry, strength, and charity.

 

Miranda ~ What moment in your life has been the most disappointing/difficult? How did you handle it? Looking back, would you do anything differently?

Alexa Chloe ~ It’s difficult to have no guarantees as a creative.  It’s easier to be an accountant. At least in terms of the steadiness of it.  It’s difficult (to say the LEAST) to try to stop cancer from taking your loved ones.  It’s like trying to stop a freight train.  But these things can give you the chance to develop your mettle, and your faith.  I always look back and retrace my steps.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Miranda ~ What are most grateful for—generally/right now?

Alexa Chloe ~ Generally, I’m grateful for my human heart which can feel both great highs and great lows.  Right now? Same answer.  It’s a tough ride as a person, sometimes, but I’ve learned a lot of compassion through my own inner struggles.

Miranda ~ What advice would you give to anyone going into acting, especially in regards to hard work, and the road to possible fame? Is there anything you’d like to add—a principle that has guided you—not covered by your answers above?

Alexa ChloeWhat do I have to say?  Don’t let anybody make you feel scared or inferior.  And, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work hard.  Be generous with your work.  Give a lot.  I have no advice to give to anyone seeking fame.  Well, I guess reality TV is a bit of a short cut.  But well-earned fame kind of happens or it doesn’t.  It’s not just about talent.

The last words of advice are from two acting coaches:  “Act because it lights you up like a Christmas tree.” Amy Jo BermanAnother coach of mine, Margie Haber, would say, “Live the Life.”   Don’t perform. Live.

 

This is That (The Fun Questions!)

Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee!

Heels or Flats? Oh, do I have to choose?

Boots or Sandals? Sandals—gladiator style

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla

Vegetables or Fruits? Again, how can I choose between these two?!  I’ll go with vegetables….

Juice or Smoothie? Smoothie. Homemade.

Rain or Snow? Snow

Spring or Fall? Fall. Wait…spring.

Summer or Winter? Summer

Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking. That’s a no-brainer.

Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner.  My breakfast is coffee🙂

Music or Books? Music (but I love books, too.  This really isn’t fair!)

Dresses or Pants? Pants

Gym or Outdoor? Lately, the gym, for my knee physical therapy.  But I prefer outdoors.

Leather Jacket or Blazer? Leather Jacket hands down.  But it’s gotta be vegan leather.

 

Miranda ~ Thank you, Alexa, for stopping by today!

Alexa Chloe ~ Thank you so much for having me!

 

alexa-janssonAbout Chloe ‘Alexa Jansson’ Russell


Chloe was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio.
She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she enjoys cooking, fitness training, dancing, and her two Savannah cats.  Besides being an actress she’s also a licensed pharmacist and sculptor.

Book Review ~ A Better Promise by Kathy Bosman

51n1fa54n6l._sy346_.jpgAbout the Book


When Braedon hires shy and serious Alicia as a secretary in his furniture business, he falls for her instantly. Alicia admires Braedon for his kindness and warms up to him despite her decision not to. There’s just one problem—Alicia has plans to enter the mission field and follow her vow to remain single the rest of her life. When she takes up an offer to help teach the Basotho teenagers in Lesotho, things don’t go as smoothly as she hoped. Braedon soon gets wind of her troubles and joins her. But will Alicia open her heart to love or hold fast to her childhood pledge?

Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

Contemporary Romance

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


A Better Promise is a story that shows God’s love and affection for His children, His utmost desire to set them free from the bounds of pain and sorrow, and bring them to a place of rest, joy, and blessings. This story teaches that what God paramountly needs from a person is surrender.

Alicia, the heroine, has felt rejected for most of her life, and alone, and has come to believe that it is better she remains that way, even promising God that she would do so. When she meets Braedon, they both go on a journey that changes their lives forever. Inner guilt, pain, and frustrations are brought out, until each has to turn to the one that can heal them, set them free, and bring them to a place of forgiveness, rest, and joy.

Through this story, one comes to appreciate that dreams cannot complete a person unless they are built on God—the One who gave it to them first. And also, that some dreams may take years to manifest because God wants to bless us first, while adequately preparing us to receive the dreams He’s graciously put in our hearts.

Finally, God bless missionaries!—they should be prayed for as often as is possible, because for the sake of the gospel they’re exposed to numerous kinds of discomforts. It takes a heart willing to follow Jesus and serve others, to live in some of the conditions that missionaries do.

Overall, this was an absolutely beautiful story!

a1fvam7mbl._ux250_.jpg.jpegAbout the Author


Kathy loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three kids, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page. Kathy leaves in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press. She belongs to the Romance Writers of South Africa Group (ROSA) which has been her greatest support and inspiration that last few years.

Book Review ~ Sophia Redeemed by B. Benfield

51mj5zcu78l._uy250_.jpgAbout the Book


Bouncing around the foster care system, Sophia has a horrible life until at the age of eighteen; she flees her abusive “father.” Trying to survive on the streets, she is taken in by a pimp, Jax. While she makes enough money to rent a rundown apartment, Jax’s percentage leaves her struggling to pay her own way.

While treating herself to a cup of coffee, she meets Matt. The persistent young man asks her out, not realizing her circumstances. When Sophia reveals her past and shares with him her current life, Matt is undeterred.

A violent, life-changing encounter with Jax brings Matt to her rescue. He takes her to his parents’ guesthouse, where she is welcomed and given a job in his father’s church. The only stipulation is she must attend church with the family.

Blossoming in her new life, Sophia and Matt begin to explore their relationship. However, someone is not pleased with the changes in her life. Threatening calls and messages are only the beginning of the danger to Sophia. Corruption, lies, and betrayal threaten the couple and when the truth is revealed, many lives are left in turmoil. Can faith and love overcome the devastation in Sophia’s life and lead to her redemption and the life she deserves?

Category

Christian/Fiction/New Adult

Genre

Contemporary Romance

Rating

4 Stars

Review


Written in first person POV, Sophia Redeemed is a beautiful story that is both sweet and thorny. Its heroine and hero are exposed to a trying circumstance and reality that could beg the question, “Is there a God, and does He care about me?

Thankfully, this story is a powerful reminder that God does care, and that He always has a plan. It illustrates that God comes for the helpless who have no idea how to reach for help because there’s no one to turn to, and for those  whose hope have sunk into complete despair. It also shows that sometimes God may thwart a plan which we believe is the best option, only to present to us a better plan and put us on a brighter path. More importantly, this story portrays how much God is willing to shower on both the lost and found, His abundant love, and He illustrates this by fiercely defending His own and exposing the wickedness that threatens them.

This is a story to be absorbed pensively because of the wealth of inspirational messages it has to offer. Though, simply written, the author doesn’t hold back in sharing the beauty of her faith in a tremendous way! A chuckle here, a giggle there, and moments of solemnity littered across the story—are only some of the wonderful experiences to be expected while reading this book.

618pj0fd6fl._ux250_.jpgAbout the Author


B. Benfield is a Christian Romance author from North Carolina. She paved her way writing New Adult Romance, where she wrote four novels before she ultimately decided to pull those books from the shelves, follow her heart, and pursue Christian Romance. Her first project is the Faith and Love Series, which includes Sophia Redeemed, Saving Taya, and Mila’s Strength. B. Benfield is signed with Bison Publishing.

She’s a banker by day and a writer by night, spending all time in between hanging out with her husband, son, friends, and family! She loves to hear from her readers, so don’t hesitate to shoot her a message! Find B. Benfield on her facebook page and on her website.

Album Review ~ Future + Hope by New Hope Oahu

Album Photo

cover170x170-1.jpeg.jpeg

Category

Christian/Inspirational

Genre

Pop/Contemporary Worship

Release Date

September 9th, 2016

Rating

5 Stars

Review


Future + Hope began with the head-nodding disco-popish (Jesus) I Want You, and then slid into contemporary worshipful mode for most of the album. In listening to Future + Hope, there’s the clear sense that it is so much more than the music and the singing, but all about worship to God, Most High. Each song is designed to lead the listener into complete surrender in heart and in spirit. The simple but amazing lyrics are soft and beautiful, blending wonderfully with the instrumentals, and making sweet symphonies that can only be described as heavenly.

If you’re a fan of Hillsong’s music, you’ll adore New Hope Oahu’s Future + Hope. Be sure to look out for Call On The Name, Written and Amen—the songs which I believe are the cherries on top of the icing! From I Want You to Mesmerized, this 12-track album is beautiful music therapy for any troubled heart seeking peace, comfort and rest.

Book Review ~ First Family by Alice Langholt

First Family CoverAbout the Book


If you’re a reader who enjoyed “The Red Tent,” you would most certainly enjoy this new book of biblical fiction, “First Family.” You may have heard the story of Adam and Eve. But, the biblical account leaves many questions unanswered. How did Eve entice Adam to eat that fateful fruit? What did God think about their disobedience? How did they figure out how to survive outside the garden? What did Eve think about being pregnant? What were Cain and Abel like as kids, and how did they get along with their parents? Why did Abel and Cain decide to make an offering to God, and what were God’s reasons for rejecting Cain’s? What happened when Cain killed Abel, and what was it like for Adam and Eve to discover what had happened?

First Family is a modern language journey through the story of Adam and Eve, told by the characters themselves, as they fill in the gaps in the story with breathtakingly real first person descriptions of growth, discoveries, angst, joy, determination, and heart. First Family is today’s voice for the story behind the familiar story of Adam and Eve. Themes of love, loss, grief and faith will resonate with every reader.


Category

Religious

Genre

Biblical Fiction

Rating

2 Stars

Review


This book gives a perspective of the story of Adam and Eve, and their two sons, Cain and Abel, in first-person POV of each of the characters, including God’s and the serpent’s. The plot is designed in a manner to mirror the imperfections of man before/after the fall, and the gradual learning process of man—shown by how Adam and Eve handled new discoveries and environments from the moment they were created.

While, generally, I applaud and encourage fresh perspectives, there are a lot of notions in this story that I do not agree with on a Scriptural and convictional basis. Clearly, this book isn’t for anyone who isn’t willing to entertain over-the-edge controversial opinions of the happenings in Biblical times. For starts, there are characters attributed to God’s person, and there are presumptions to the manner in which certain events transpired that may cause one to hesitate in fully yielding to the story (even portraying Adam as naïve and Eve as deceitful and rebellious before the fall), which in turn disrupt the reading enjoyment altogether. Sadly, this affects in a negative way, the perceived quality of the overall work of the author. I, myself, have to wonder about the author’s intent in writing this book: is it more to present what she believes about the person of God, and to debunk other opinions of what happened in the Garden of Eden and afterwards, than a writer’s intent to entertain and pass on a message as is conventionally done in inspirational fiction?

Also, I noticed that enough room wasn’t given to the development of the characters (and even the plot) before the fall. It seemed as though the author was hasty in getting to the part of the fall, and then moving past it to dwell more on the lives of the characters afterwards.

Overall, from a literary perspective, the story was well written, easy to understand and follow—the author’s craftsmanship is without question. But presenting a controversial albeit dangerous opinion of a story in the Bible even as a Biblical fiction, in my opinion, hurt what could have been a fine work.

Alice LangholtAbout the Author


Alice Langholt is a parent and teacher with Master level training in several Reiki modalities. She has a Reiki practice and teaches Reiki and intuitive development in the Washington, DC area. Alice is the Executive Director of Reiki Awakening Academy, School of Intuitive Development online, offering online instruction in holistic and metaphysical subjects. Alice has written ebooks in Distance Healing and Energetic Protection, as well as specific coursework in Reiki for Parents, Reiki for Nurses and Caregivers (approved by the Ohio Board of Nurses for continuing education units), and more. She offered Reiki to patients and staff at The Cleveland Clinic, and is currently a volunteer with JSSA Hospice, and a Group Leader with The Distance Healing Network (the-dhn.com). Alice is rated the #1 most influential person on Twitter under the category Reiki by wefollow.com. Her four kids and husband, Evan, know & use Reiki. Find Alice at ReikiAwakening.com, and interact with her via @ReikiAwakening on Twitter, and Reiki Awakening on Facebook.

Alice is also the author of the A Moment for Me – self-care for busy people series of books and cards, offering ways to balance your mind, body, emotions, spirit, relationships, and success in 30 seconds. Visit www.amoment4me.com for more.

Album Review ~ Hope’s Not Giving Up by Remedy Drive

Album Photo

Hopes Not Giving Up - Remedy Drive

Category

Christian/Inspirational

Genre

Pop/Rock

Release Date

September 2nd, 2016

Rating

3.5 Stars

Review


There’s a hymn and pop/rock quality to the opening of the album which give the impression of church worship and concert music as one element, which in my opinion, is a sweet combo for any music-loving Christian.

While the album may have opened with the delightful Better Than Life song, the first piece to strike a chord in my heart was All Along (look out for it; song #3). Resuscitate reminded me of the band Red, but of course, not without the unique flavor that Remedy Drive is known for. Crystal Sea has a soft quality to it that is both soothing and spirit-lifting, as well as entertaining in quiet sort of way.

From Better Than Life to Guide You Home, Hope’s Not Giving Up is a pleasant album great for the moments when one is searching for the tranquility that only music can offer.

Album Review ~ Follow Through by Unspoken

Album Photo

Unspoken - Follow Through

Genre

Pop/Rock

Release Date

August 26th, 2016

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


A true testament of faith and God’s goodness, a splendid sacrifice of praise and worship, and a relentless gospel-telling piece, Follow Through is an album full of positive energy, spiritual upliftment, and, it doesn’t hold back in melody power. From Higher to Roots, each song is lyrically beautiful—packed with God’s Word and truthful life experiences that will resonate with any believer, which is a lovely design to mend broken faiths, hearts and spirits!

Interesting additions to the conventional pop/rockish mixes in the album were the two final songs, Can’t Deny Your Love, a delicious Latin-pop music, and Roots, which had an African-praise flavor to it. Worthy mentions include Life In The Death Of Me and Soldier.

With wonderful and thought-provoking lyrics that will remind a Christian of where they stand with God, Follow Through is an album worthy of your attention this summer.