Part 4 of Summer of ’67 Actress Interviews, Bethany Davenport on Fitness, Acting and the ministry called Shores of Grace in Brazil

Part 4 of Summer of ’67 Actress Interviews, Bethany Davenport on Fitness, Acting and the ministry called Shores of Grace in Brazil

posted on: March 26, 2018

Bethany has been such a sweet person to interview. So beautiful, optimistic, open and inspiring. Enjoy her interview below!

Laura: How long have you been active in fitness?

I’ve been active pretty much my whole life. I started gymnastics when I was two and a half and competed until I was 12. After that, I did pretty much every sport my school offered. I started diving in high school and was on my college team for my freshmen and sophomore years as well. About two years ago I started doing triathlons, and I really enjoy it!

Laura: I went hiking for the first time last Mother’s Day in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was incredible. How long have you been hiking? Where are your favorite places to go hiking and mountain climbing? 

I would love to hike in the Rocky Mountains! I saw them for the first time on a brief stay in Colorado last year, but I wasn’t able to go hiking in them. My favorite place to hike is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s beautiful there! I’ve been hiking since I was a kid. My family would go camping every summer and that was one of our family activities. I just loved it! I went rock climbing for fun for the first time when I was around ten years old. I’ve never climbed outdoors on real rocks, though I would love to! When I do climb, it’s at an indoor rock wall.

Laura: I heard you recently started aerial sling classes. Can you explain what that is exactly? 

Yes, I did! It’s so much fun! Aerial sling, also called aerial hammock, is made out of the same material as silks, but it’s a loop instead of silks which is two pieces of fabric hanging down together. I’m not sure I am explaining it very well. It’s great for anyone who is curious about circus and circus arts. I have only been to a few classes, but I am definitely hooked!

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Laura: That looks so cool! What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now?

I’m doing my first obstacle course race next month, so I’m getting ready for that!

 Laura: What are you passionate about?

My faith, my marriage, and my cats. And acting.

Laura: What wins did you have this week?

I got to celebrate my birthday! I am terrible with birthdays because I always set too high expectations about how the day will go. I kept getting disappointed, and so for the past few years I just stopped doing anything special, because I knew it wouldn’t meet my expectations and I would get pre-disappointed. This year, I decided to just have a fun, casual day. I took the day off work and had a girls’ day with one of my closest friends, and then my husband and I went out and did a few different activities around the city together. It was perfectly imperfect, or imperfectly perfect? Not sure, but it was great!

Laura: Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path?

It was something I just couldn’t let go of. It had been a dream of mine for a long time that I had started to take baby steps toward, but I was too scared to actually make the decision to go for it. I was on a different career path at the time and completely miserable. My husband saw how unhappy I was and told me to quit and pursue acting, since he knew that’s what I really wanted. A few months later, I decided to listen to him. I quit my full-time job and started sending out my headshots and resumés to agencies, and the rest is history! I haven’t looked back since. I don’t think I would have gone for it if it wasn’t for his encouragement and support. He’s been my rock through all of this.

Laura: Thank God for a great husband!

In your opinion, what is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

Everyone will have them. That’s just part of life. I am in no way an expert on how to transform difficult experiences. One thing that I really try to not do is wallow in them. They can be really defeating if you let them take control of you. For me, I like to use that time for a lot of prayer. It is generally in the darkest times that I am most aware of God’s sovereignty.

 Laura: That is the perfect answer. Wow! 

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

I had an audition a few weeks ago for a part that was really a far reach for me. It was for an upcoming movie, and it sounded like it would be an awesome opportunity to grow as an actor. The role was a bit edgier than I’ve ever done, but I really liked the writing. I was contemplating if I should even audition, but it sounded really fun, and a great way to get my face out there some more. The scene was pretty intense and challenged both myself and my husband (who is my reader for most of my auditions). Ultimately, it was a great experience and I was proud of the audition I sent in, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone!

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Laura: How did you get involved in Acting? 

Acting was something I had been curious about for a very long time. As a kid, when I watched a movie I didn’t really think about how it was all fake and people were pretending to be other people and the crazy stunts involved with that. When I was in late elementary school, my parents bought our first movie on DVD. And that opened up a whole new world to me, because DVDs had bonus features. It was my first look into how a scene was filmed, how visual effects were created, green screens, and seeing the actors as themselves and not as their characters. It was fascinating! I started watching every featurette, every commentary, every blooper reel, and deleted scene that came with every DVD we got after that. The world of movie-making fascinated me! That was when the spark was lit. For me, getting into acting was a long, slow process. I did not actually start to really pursue that dream until after college. Sometimes I wish I had started sooner, but I think taking my time allowed me to grow as a person and gain some confidence. I have been pursuing acting as a career for almost two years. When I decided to really go for it and get some training, I actually wanted to do voice acting only. I have a lot of training in voiceover, and I really enjoy it! I hope I can do more. But it was through voiceover that I found film. My voice coach suggested that I take some on-camera acting classes to help my voiceover acting. I was terrified of the camera, but I decided to sign up for a workshop with an LA producer who was in town. I went to that workshop terrified, but I felt completely at home and discovered I love the style of film acting!

Laura: What is your favorite quote or mantra?

I have two!

The first is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

The second is scripture I try to live my life by.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Laura: Proverbs 3:5-6 brings great hope and promise! Thank you for sharing that reminder.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why?

This probably sounds silly, but I would wave that magic wand to get a house. Not a big, fancy one, just a modest house with walls that don’t touch anyone else’s. My husband and I are both so over sharing walls. I am very ready to not hear the neighbors through the walls or be worried that our TV or music is too loud. That day will come! I just have to be patient for a bit longer.

 

Laura: That is funny but so true. I remember our first apartment when we got married over 13 years ago and how cramped and close everything was. Houses take time. You’ll get there! We are finally buying a house now. 

What advice would you give someone concerning who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

Let go of your fear, and go for it. If it is something you truly want, it is better to try and fail than not try and always wonder what could have been.

Laura:  Beautiful advice.

Laura: In how many films you have performed up till now? 

I have done 3 short films and one feature film. I have also been cast in another movie that is set to film in a few months. I hope to do many more though! I absolutely love film.

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When do you feel like your true self?

I feel most like my true self when I am surrounded by those closest to me. There are no expectations, because they are the people that already know me, love me, and accept me as I am.

Laura: I love that.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

I think in many ways, I am the bravest version of myself (so far, at least). Since I started acting, I have been constantly pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone. In order to get anywhere in the film industry, you have to constantly push yourself. I’m definitely still learning how to do that, but I am trying!

Laura: Are you working on any current projects

I have a film coming up in a few months. I get to play a college track athlete whose goal is to make it to nationals. It’s going to be pretty demanding physically so I have already started training for it. I want to make sure I look like I could actually be a college track nationals hopeful. I started weightlifting in January and I’ll start doing track workouts in the spring to help me get ready! It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I basically feel like Wonder Woman.

BUMP still.png

I have the opportunity to take part in several different kinds of projects: film, TV, commercials, music videos, and a few industrials. I have really enjoyed getting to see the projects that are finished (many are in post-production), and I am very proud of how they turned out. I’m not necessarily satisfied with my performances in them, but the projects have been great, and I have been so honored to be a part of them!

Laura: Tell me about an area in which you would like to improve as an actress? 

I mean, pretty much every area could use improvement. I don’t think I’ll look in the mirror one day and think, “well, I’ve mastered acting”. Each role is an opportunity to grow, and I think with each role, I learn what my weaknesses are and what strengths I have. One of my goals would be to be able to cry on camera. I’ve been able to tear up, which in many scenes is powerful enough, but sometimes you just need to be able to let lose and sob.

BTS Bump.jpg

Laura: Do you ever think that you could have done a bit better in any particular role? 

Every. Single. One.

Laura: Which has been your favorite character that you have performed? 

I don’t think I really have one favorite! Each character I’ve played has their own journey and it is so fun getting to explore that for each particular character. When I played Kate in the short film “Bump” (Sheepshed Entertainment), I had to really tap into my meek, quiet side and show the fear of getting pregnant in a society that doesn’t allow people have their own children. It was the first time I really connected so well with another actor, and it was such a great experience. But when I played Kate (yep, another Kate!) in “Summer of ‘67” (Mainstreet Productions), I had to tap into my free-spirited side of trying to ignore the war and forget all the pressures at home with people close to her gone overseas. Her character has so much growth throughout the film, so it was great getting to go through that with her. Those would be my top two because I got to really delve into their lives and help create their world.

BTS Summer of '67.jpg

Laura: What is keeping people from living their best life?

Fear and pride. There is fear they will fail and then pride of not wanting to others to know they failed. It’s perfectly reasonable to be fearful, but when it is holding you back then it becomes a problem. And it is definitely difficult, but in order to go after what you truly want you have to put yourself out there and be open to failure and criticism. People miss out on a lot of opportunities because they are afraid of what other people will think. If I had worried about it less, I may have started my crazy life switch into acting much sooner.

 

Laura: How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

You have to be very sure about your values and also be willing to give up opportunities to work toward that goal if it compromises those values. There have been some role opportunities that I have turned down because I wasn’t comfortable with the content or what the project represents. As an actor, my face and name will be associated with each project I do, so I want to make sure I’m representing something I am proud of. And sometimes that means holding out for the next opportunity.

Laura: How do we make our values a reality?

I think if you have certain values, they will be apparent in your life. They will influence your decisions, how you live, and how you treat and interact with others. If your values don’t impact how you live, are those values really that important to you?

Laura: Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

Some friends of my family started a nonprofit organization down in Brazil that helps women recover from prostitution and helps young girls escape from sex slavery. They are a wonderful couple with hearts for God and they live down in Brazil with their four children living this every single day. The ministry is called Shores of Grace. The work they do in that country is truly remarkable.

Laura: That is my heartbeat! Bringing awareness to human trafficking! How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

They have a website  (shoresofgrace.com) with information about the different aspects of their ministry as well as how to donate if you would like.

Laura: If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?

I recently got an Instagram! Feel free to check it out @thebethanydavenport 😊

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