An INNER VIEW with Award-Winning  Actress and Musical Artist, Cassie Byram

An INNER VIEW with Award-Winning Actress and Musical Artist, Cassie Byram

BIO

Cassie Byram is an award-winning actress, singer, and songwriter, encompassing theater, film, television, voice-overs, published songwriting and multiple album releases for adults and children alike. Cassie recently portrayed Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the film Forty-Seven Days with Jesus with son Jonathan Byram as Jesus.

Her stage roles include The Scarlet Pimpernel, The King and I, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and West Side Story, with television credits including Jake and the Fat Man, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Civil Wars and The Time Changers and is a featured singing the solo If I Loved You in the film City Hall starring Al Pacino. The Fathom Event “Forty Seven Days With Jesus” will be in theaters March 11, 12, & 14, 2024.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?

Cassie Byram: The idea of “peaking” is unbiblical. The thought that you are past your prime is a message from the enemy, who constantly wants to disable you every step of the way. It’s a message that plagues our society and can start as early as our 20s. On the contrary, God is in the business of redeeming our past and working in our present, all while His Holy Spirit ushers us into our future. God truly does work all things together for good. (Romans 8:28) From my experience I can tell you that just when you think your ship is docked and anchored, you’ll experience Christ, walking on the water next to you, helping you sail. I love this quote I recently heard from Tyler Perry: God says, “You don’t tell me when it’s over. I tell you when it’s over.”

Kathleen: With that in mind, tell us about your new role in the upcoming movie, “Forty Seven Days With Jesus.

Cassie: Getting a role in the new film, “Forty Seven Days With Jesus”, at this time in my life is a great example of why I don’t believe in “aging out” when it comes to career or influence! I played the part of Mary, the mother of Jesus, which was a joy in so many ways. First, being on a film set again is always thrilling. It just feels like home. Add to that the amazing fact that my own son Jonathan Byram is playing the role of Jesus; well, I can hardly begin to describe what that was like. I believe it’s the first time a real-life mother and son are playing the roles of Mother Mary and Jesus for film or TV. I’ve had the privilege of portraying Mary before in other projects, but I had the opportunity to take it to a whole new emotional level in this film. It’s an experience I will always cherish and consider as a career and personal highlight.

Kathleen: What do you wish you’d learned more quickly in life?

Cassie: Comparison is your worst enemy. We must realize everyone’s gifts and time frames are not the same. If we are in God’s hands, then the timing of our greatest impact is also in His hands. Our responsibility is to be obedient to His ways, and then God does the rest. The Bible is clear that we can flourish at any age. We see time and again, through Bible stories and present day stories, how God uses people of all ages to make a significant impact. I think about amazing women like the late Edith Kirchmaier, who on her 105th birthday signed up on Facebook.  She didn’t compare herself to younger people and give up. Instead, she used the platform to spread the message of giving back to her 32,000 friends and beyond!  Passing away at 107, she left a lasting legacy of conduct, values, and perseverance.

Kathleen: What have you learned about failure?

Cassie: At times, we confuse transition and change with failure. Learning to expect the unexpected brings a new and healthy outlook on the twists and bumps along the way. I can tell you from my journey that a turn in the road doesn’t mean your dreams will die. Often, our skills and gifts flourish in ways we never expect. Once when I was experiencing a slowdown in the middle of my career as a professional actor, singer, I frankly felt ready to give up. At that same time, I was given an opportunity to write and produce bible-based animation and music for children. Now, I run my own company, Mamala Media, where I offer “Heavenly Resources For Family Life” by producing music, books & animation for kids and adults alike. It’s so much fun, but I never saw that coming!

This quote from Charles Stanley makes a great point: “Why would you give up now at an age when you’ve finally learned some things and have so much to offer?”

Kathleen: We all impact other’s lives, but what’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?

Cassie: Influence comes only through perseverance and trust. Those are the keys to building your own fruitful growth, which leads to realizing goals placed in your heart that will be used to lead others. If we look at our lives as a slow fizzle, then we really aren’t living out what we say we believe when it comes to trusting God. For many women, the responsibilities of marriage and family can, at times, feel like a dream squisher! We start to create a narrative that discounts us from ever realizing our dreams or being viable again. But God promises, if we wait on him, we will mount up with wings like eagles! (Isaiah 40:31) This promise is not a once in a lifetime occurrence. God can renew our strength again and again at any time or age.

Follow Cassie:
Instagram: @cassiebyramofficial & @mamalamedia
Facebook: Cassie LaRocca Byram
Website: www.cassiebyram.com & www.mamalamedia.com

INNER VIEW with Kelsey Cooke

INNER VIEW with Kelsey Cooke

Kelsey Cooke grew up acting professionally in Hollywood, signing with her first agent at the age of 7. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from Vanguard University and pursued a Broadway, TV, and Film career in New York upon graduating. Her work eventually brought her back to Hollywood, where she co-founded thisishardtoread productions and is an award-winning producer, writer, and actor in the award-winning feature comedy/mockumentary film RE-OPENING. Favorite career highlights include: LIFE PARTNERS (Tribeca & Sundance Film Festival), BLACK NOVEMBER (Vivica Fox), PAN AM (ABC), ROYAL PAINS (USA), BAD TEACHER (CBS), and THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE.

Kathleen Cooke: OK full disclosure – you are my oldest daughter and the new Influence Women Nashville Chapter Director. I could tell lots about you…but I’ll let you tell us a bit about yourself.

Kelsey Cooke: I am co-founder of thisishardtoread productions with my husband, Chris. We create comedies with heart. I’m a producer, writer, director, and actor – not necessarily all at the same time, hah! I began in the industry as an actor at 7 years old in Hollywood and came up through the industry working not only in LA but after college in New York, working on stage and Broadway musicals before moving back to LA in 2013 as an actress and producer.

Kathleen: How and why have you gotten involved with Influence Women as the new Nashville Chapter Coordinator?

Kelsey: I recently moved to the greater Nashville area for the main purpose of collaborating with like-minded industry professionals. I was tired of waiting for some “big break” that would never come, and after producing my own feature film during the pandemic, I realized the Hollywood industry is so much bigger than the box we put it in. Nashville was the place where I felt called to create a movement with people who feel the same way. I know the multiple challenges of a career in the media and entertainment and the importance of collaboration with the right people and having a community of people who support each other not only in their work but in their faith.

Kathleen: When is the Influence Women Nashville launch, and what’s happening?

Kelsey: We are going to start gathering women on November 9th who are excited to get involved with our mission – to bring women in the industry together who want to encourage, uplift, and empower each other and align their media career with their faith and values. Let’s get to know each other and think of others who would also like to have a local community of creators. Please reach out if you would like to be a part of this initial group.

If you want to connect with Kelsey and Influence Women Nashville, reach out to her at: nashville@influencewomen.org.

Follow Kelsey: 
Website: thisishardtoreadproductions.com
Instagram: @kelseycookeofficial

An INNER VIEW with Gianna Simone

An INNER VIEW with Gianna Simone

Kathleen Cooke: Your childhood and teen years were tumultuous, but God had His eyes of love and care on you. What would you tell a young person today who is living in a challenging or chaotic situation?

Gianna Simone: God has recently been teaching me that He is my provider, protector, and source of ultimate love. That He is enough, and in Him, I am never alone. People will love us but also let us down, which really hurts. Yet, He will NEVER let us down, disappoint us or abandon us. He keeps His promises – always has and always will. We will never be more loved than we are right now. He is truly for us and loves us more profoundly than we know or could understand.

Kathleen: Your life was one of constant uncertainty, and the media and entertainment industry is always rocky and challenging. Many might have given up, but you pushed forward. How do you decipher the ambitions you want from the perfect place God wants you to be in?

Gianna: Such a great question! Many years ago, I had an epiphany about this concept. I know God loves me and wants the best for me; therefore, I want what God wants for me. So, I asked God to help me see and desire the very best for my life and make my desires His desires, and vice versa. I want my will to be aligned with His will. If I feel a strong urge toward something that appears to be a good thing, I know to pursue it and act on it. It always seems to work out.

Oh… I still make mistakes. I am still human. There have been times when I have misread a situation and have had to re-assess and re-route and learn something from God that I didn’t see before. It’s all part of learning, growing, healing, and drawing closer to Jesus. I have seen and experienced lots of things in my life that I know I don’t want, which has shown me more of what I do want in my life—empowering me to move in a positive direction with confidence.

Kathleen: Fear is the word, isn’t it? How do you deal with the constant fear?

Gianna: Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22, “Whatever you ask for in prayer BELIEVE you have received it and it WILL be given to you” Belief is so powerful, and fear can hold us back from accomplishing our mission(s). “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) Every single time I have chosen faith/love/belief over fear, it has changed my life for the better. Whether it is speaking at the United Nations (my first ever public speaking event) or jumping out of an airplane (when it was the first time for me ever to have flown in one) or standing on a cliff and bungee jumping off it (my most recent challenge), I love breaking through and overcoming fear. It builds character and strength. The mind is so powerful, and so much of what we want is right on the other side of fear.

Kathleen: Often, we never know how God uses others to influence our lives. Can you tell us about an instance when someone influenced your life and how God used that person to change the direction of your life?

Gianna:  When I was in foster care, I had tried taking my life and ended up in a hospital for young girls who had tried taking their own lives, too. I shared a room with another girl around the same age as me – about 15 years old. One night before bed, we were up talking, and I told her about Jesus. I had been attending church, and the messages were starting to make a lot of sense to me, but I hadn’t asked Jesus to come into my heart yet. The next morning, we were in a group setting, all sitting in a circle sharing our feelings and thoughts. She began sharing and started telling the counselor that she had given her life to Jesus the night before, and she no longer felt sad or suicidal any longer. I was in a bit of a shock that my thoughts had influenced her. God used my mustard seed sprouts for her belief.

It delighted me knowing that it had positively made a change in her life, but more profoundly, it impacted my own belief in God and His redemptive power. I soon got out of the hospital, kept attending church, and eventually asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Very soon after I was saved, God blessed me with my modeling and acting career, which have all led me closer to Him and profoundly changed my life. I can attest that once you give your life over to the Lord, He sets you on the most incredibly fulfilling trajectory and mission in life.

BIO
Gianna Simone is an actress, model, and producer. Her film credits include, Star Trek: Into the Darkness, Mother’s Day, I Can Only Imagine, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, and God Bless the Broken Road. She has appeared in several national TV shows and on the covers of numerous national publications. She presently hosts Love, Gianna, which focuses on plant nutrition with top doctors and athletes. She serves as a board member for The Plantrician Project and identifies as a Christian vegan.

Originally born and raised in Boston, she was abused and placed in foster care at 13 years of age. Her story is focused on overcoming obstacles in life. She founded The Gianna Simone Foundation, which focuses on bringing hope and positive change to individuals who have been neglected and abused. She worked directly with Kigali University providing scholarships to survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She was honored to present her work, on behalf of her foundation, at the United Nations. She works tirelessly with numerous organizations that assist foster care youth, sex trafficked victims, and animal rescue agencies.

Visit Gianna’s website here.
Follow Gianna: Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Facebook