If you missed pt 1 of this blog, you can catch it here.
Last week I wrote about our expectations of those who wear a label that may or may not conflict with their job. I hate to use the word ‘evolve’ as it seems like I’m saying I’ve progressed more than others, but in simplistic terms, my personal guidelines for being a Christian in Hollywood have evolved over my 12 years in this business. Some lines have remained. Others have been crossed. I can assure you that all have been wrestled and carefully debated until I came to a solid resting place that felt right to me. For now. As with most things in life, I’m sure it will continue to change and adapt and find its place.
Let’s start at the beginning. In high school and college, my formative acting years, I didn’t have to deal with any guidelines because a. it was high school and nothing edgy would be performed and b. I went to a Christian college. Same. In my senior year of college I went out for a community theatre play called Hot’L Baltimore. The show is about homeless, prostitutes and vagrants, and how they’re swept under the rug of society as if they don’t matter. I thought it was a good message. But the only role that was right for me was a young prostitute, called ‘the girl’. She had no explicit scenes, but there was one where she had an outburst of foul language, and at the time, I had decided that as I did not curse in real life, I should extend that to my acting roles. I auditioned, and sent the director an email informing her that I would have to modify the lines, and I completely understood if she didn’t want to cast me in the role. After a response championing the reason for art and character portrayal, I guess she decided it wasn’t that important, and cast me in my first professional production. I enjoyed that show. Admittedly, I was a little embarrassed to have my preacher father in law in the audience watching a show of this nature, but I was proud of my performance. From The Avalanche Journal, the Lubbock newspaper:
“Brittany Joyner impresses here as The Girl, too young to have stopped caring or trying to help. It is a role that easily could have been colored in much too naive colors; Joyner locates an impressive balance.”
As I graduated college, I made the decision to eschew my original plans of being a missionary and moved headfirst into pursuing an acting career. This hinged largely on a long discussion I had with my missions teacher and mentor, who strongly advised me to use my gift of performing and reconsider the short term mission in Brazil my husband and I were contemplating. Also, I had spoke with a friend who was already working in the Dallas market and it occurred to me that I could make a go at acting as a profession, a dream I had not revisited since its original conception as a 17 year old high school student. We sat at a cafe in Lower Greenville and I declared- “If you don’t have lines you won’t cross from the start, you most certainly won’t when you’ve had some success and big projects are offered to you. So, here are my lines: no foul language, no nudity, no sex scenes”. This was version one of being a Christian in (not yet) Hollywood. Join me next week for pt 3.