Updated: Aug 13, 2018
Sharonne is a gem. As the editor of this magazine, I've had the privilege to work with Sharonne Lanier on set of the movie, Summer of '67 (out now). I actually auditioned for her role and got cast as her bridesmaid in the wedding scene. I often wondered how in the world does she manage being a nurse, a wife, a mother, and pursuing acting? All of it is DEMANDING. Let's learn a little more about Sharonne, and find out how you can balance work, life, and pursuing your dreams.
"I am a wife, mother of three sons aged 9, 7, and 5, an actress, and a nurse. My most important and cherished role however is being a child of the Most High. God means everything...Without Him there would be no us!
So now, a little bit about where I'm from...I was born and raised in Miami, FL and moved to Orlando at the age of 18 to study Theater Performance at the University of Central Florida. It was there that I met my husband. In 2008 we took a leap of faith and moved to Atlanta, Georgia without knowing much at all about the city.
All we knew was that Atlanta was gaining momentum in the TV/Film world and my husband, being the supportive man that he is, said let's go! We have grown to love ATL and it's probably one of the best decisions we've ever made."
Q: How did you know you were called to the film industry?
Well my love for performing all started in the 4th grade when my teacher forced us to learn Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream speech." I simply learned the speech to get the assignment done but I ended up falling in love with it and went on to perform it at an oratorical contest in which I won first place. But more than the gift of winning first place, I really enjoyed the impact it had on the audience members and I knew I would spend the rest of my life trying to make a positive impact on people's lives.
Q: What started your career? Was there a significant event to happen?
I landed my first professional gig in College touring with a gospel play. It was pretty amazing how it all came about and really shows how God can open up doors when you least expect it. I was a member of the UCF gospel choir and we were singing at an event one Sunday. The producer of a gospel play entitled, "I Don't Wanna Cry No More" , was in town with his show and was in the congregation. After our performance he asked if we would like to sing at the show. Of course we said yes! Well the producer found out I was studying Theater and asked if I would be interested in filling in a role for an actress who had dropped out of the play. It goes without saying that I accepted! And there you have it...That was my first professional gig. We toured the country going to several different states. It was fun. I learned a lot, good and bad, and I'm incredibly grateful for that experience.
Q: Why do you think God called you to film and television?
Oh my word... We are called to be a light in a dark place and in my honest opinion, the entertainment industry is one of the darkest places on Earth. It has incredible influential power behind it. Anton LaVey founder of the church of satan said, "Television is the major mainstream infiltration for the new satanic religion." I heard this statement over a decade ago, but recently I was reminded of it and I can't get it out of my mind. Satan is undoubtedly using TV/Film to rapidly spread his agenda to the masses. We have become incredibly desensitized to lying, stealing, violence, murder, sexual immorality, etc. largely in part to what we are seeing daily on our television screens.
Ephesians 6:12 says,
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
The darkness that has flooded the entertainment industry has not happened haphazardly. It is a deliberate scheme created by the evil one and we as Christ followers must step up and "fight the good fight of the faith" (1 Timothy 6:12)! I know people who have quit the business because of the wickedness involved. But I don't believe we should run from it. We need to confront it and cut it off at its roots. We need to falsify Lavey's statement. Let's make it read, "Television is the major mainstream infiltration for the hopeless to find hope." Television is the major mainstream infiltration for the lost to be found." Or, "Television (and film) is the major mainstream infiltration for the name of Jesus Christ to be made famous." I confess I haven't always participated in productions that fit this mold. However, the more I'm reminded of the spiritual battle taking place, the more I'm determined to fulfill my commitment of fighting the good fight in every single thing I do!
Q: Where does nursing come in? How do you think it fits into God's purpose for you?
A lot of actors wait tables as a side gig to keep some type of steady income coming in. I was one of them. For the longest time I knew I wanted to find a better side gig, but just couldn't decide what else I wanted to do. After delivering my second child, I knew that's what I was called to do. I wanted to become a labor and delivery or postpartum (after delivery) nurse. I talked it over with my husband and headed back to school. After graduating nursing school, I landed a job as a postpartum nurse at Northside which is one of the most popular hospitals for delivering babies in the world! I'll be the first to admit that the behind-the-scenes work as a nurse can be frustrating, but I truly enjoy my patients! I love being the one that helps to put a smile on their faces. Although delivering a baby is a joyous experience, mothers often experience time of extreme fatigue, pain, and nervousness. It is my goal to be the calm in the middle of the storm and I pray that in doing so, my patients see past me straight to the heart of Jesus.
Balancing Work, Life, and Pursuing Your Dreams
Well it's not easy, but I just take it one day at a time. It helps that I only work part-time as a nurse.
Having a strong support system is essential.
My family understands that performing is a God given passion and part of my destiny. My husband is fully supportive and even helps me with auditions. He's not very outspoken so when I first asked him to be my reader (when recording auditions, the person reading the lines off camera is called a reader), he was very shy and didn't really want his voice to be heard. But he overcame that just for me and now records with me in a heartbeat! My kids often help me run lines and they always compliment me when they see my work even if it's not very good, lol!
Align your priorities properly.
I have to constantly remind myself to put God first and to put my family above my careers. I mean if I'm not putting God first, does anything mean anything? And if I'm not putting my family above my career, I'm neglecting the very precious gifts God gave me to nurture and journey with through this life.
Let your kids have a fit. They will be okay!
My kids don't like it when I go out of town which I often have to do for my line of work. It's funny though because I've actually never had to be gone longer than a week at a time for shooting a gig. I've done gigs that last longer than a week, but I've always gotten a chance to come home in between. And I would say at this point I'm traveling once every 3-4 months if that. So in my mind I'm not away from the family all that much. However, my kids like to throw pity parties, lol! As a matter of fact, I went out of town a couple of weeks ago and I was literally gone for one night and the kids were complaining! I was like, "Guys, really? It's ONE night!" They're so dramatic, it's hilarious! I mean, honestly, I work 12 hour night shifts at the hospital and I usually do my nights consecutively. So there are times when the kids don't see me much at all for an entire weekend. They don't complain much about that at all! But when I go out of town, all of a sudden they feel the need to make a big to do about it. I guess it's kind of cute though. I really think it's more about them wanting to take a road trip with me as opposed to how much they're going to miss me for ONE day, lol! I do however make time management a priority and try to make sure I spend an adequate amount of time with my family. I've been learning to say "no" and I don't mind turning down opportunities if it means my family will truly suffer from it.
Stop thinking that it's impossible.
Like Nike says, "Just do it!" My mom once told me something I'll never forget. She said, "I believe God gives you dreams and visions for a reason. Don't run from it." Life can be incredibly distasteful when you're not living in the purpose God has designed for you. Trusting and relying on Him, although it may be hard, is incredibly worth it! Pursue God and His will for your life and everything else will fall into place. We must constantly remind ourselves that we're not living for us, we're living for Him. And He alone can give us true peace.
Q: What was it like to have a supporting role in Summer of 67'? How did you manage being away from your family?
'Summer of '67' has a story line based on real events with a message of hope and faith during a tragic time in the Vietnam War. Filming this movie was an absolute privilege and honor! The story mainly focuses on two sisters played by Rachael Shrey and Bethany Davenport. My story comes underneath theirs. The character I portray, Ruby Mae, is a young woman who has learned the value of walking in faith. Sharon Wilharm, the director, gave us a lot of freedom so it was really liberating and fun to develop my character. We received the script at least three months in advance, so I had plenty of time to prepare.
Because time was unusually on my side, I was able to tackle things little by little. I read the script in its entirety a couple of times and read my scenes over and over again questioning and answering the who's, what's, when's, where's, and why's. We shot in Nashville, TN and my character was filmed over a period of two weeks. However, the shoot days were not consecutive. So I was able to come up one week for a couple of days, travel back home, and then come up again. The kids didn't complain about my traveling for this particular project. But that's probably because my parents came to Atlanta from Florida to support my husband with the kids while I was away. They always enjoy spending time with their grandparents!
Q: Now that Summer of 67 is released, what's next for you?
My next project is a film entitled "Just Grace" which was written by, being produced by, and stars Karen Abercrombie the actress who portrayed the older prayer warrior in the Kendricks Brothers, "War Room." We are scheduled to begin shooting this August in North Carolina and I am beyond excited to be a part of this production. Lives will be changed!
Summer of '67 Movie
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