Actress Laura Osnes on Faith, Overcoming Cancel Culture, and Setting Roots in Tennessee

Actress Laura Osnes on Faith, Overcoming Cancel Culture, and Setting Roots in Tennessee
Tony Award-nominated Broadway star Laura Osnes performs from Washington, on July 4th 2021. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

Actress and singer Laura Osnes rose to prominence on the 2007 Broadway revival of “Grease,” subsequently landing leading roles in musicals like “South Pacific,” “Anything Goes,” “Bonnie & Clyde,” and “Cinderella.” However, the Minnesota native’s illustrious career in theatre was derailed in 2021 after the stage mainstay fell prey to the throes of cancel culture.

Ms. Osnes, 38, reflected on the distressing experience, namely the blowback she received during the COVID-19 pandemic after her personal health decisions became tabloid fodder.

“It’s a journey I wouldn’t wish on anyone, except for the perseverance, fortitude, and courage forged by having to walk through fire,” she told The Epoch Times. “God’s refining process is painful … but it’s proof that He makes beauty from ashes.”

Seeking a fresh start, Ms. Osnes and her husband, photographer Nathan Johnson, made the difficult decision to leave the bright lights of New York City behind. In the fall of 2021, the couple relocated to Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville.

“The transition happened so quickly,” she recalled. “It became very clear we no longer felt at home in New York City, and closing that door was devastating for me at the time. However, the peacefulness, balance, and community we have found in Tennessee is so life-giving!”

Ms. Osnes admitted that starting over wasn’t easy, but said the move “opened doors to new opportunities, creativity, relationships, and adventures full of purpose.” The time spent in Tennessee, coupled with her decision to practice forgiveness, also helped her to mend her broken heart.

“And I now see the fruit of a richer community, expanded creativity, greater responsibility, deeper empathy, and renewed hope on the other side!” she said. “I am still very much a tender-hearted work in progress, but now I know my value is rooted in what really matters.”

‘On the Other Side’

In October 2022, the seasoned soprano channeled the emotions she harbored from the challenging previous year with the release of her first EP. The album, titled “On the Other Side, Part I,” featured five original songs, including “Thick Skin” and “Great Divide,” which detailed her journey to the other side of cancellation. The singer-songwriter currently has two new original songs in the works.

Ms. Osnes—previously a regular in Hallmark movies, including 2019’s “In the Key of Love” and 2020’s “One Royal Holiday”—made her debut on Great American Media’s flagship cable network Great American Family in 2023, starring in “A Dash of Christmas” opposite actor Christopher Russell.

That same year, she and her husband launched a production company, Rebel Rocket Entertainment. The duo is currently filming a documentary series about a local theater company that features adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I participated in one of their recent stage musicals and it was a life-changing experience,” she said. “We’re hoping to find a platform for this magical, meaningful content very soon!”

More recently, the actress helmed Great American Family’s first Easter film, “Just in Time,” which premiered on March 26. She said she was moved by many of the overarching themes present in the film, such as redemption and restoration, particularly due to her own struggles.

“We see different relationships being healed through forgiveness, surrendering control, intentional communication, and ultimately finding a firm foundation of faith. I resonated with the way my character, Hannah, has to go through her most difficult season to truly realize her need for something greater,” she explained.

“Hannah doesn’t start out having any faith in God. In fact, she’s been pretty hurt and disappointed by Him in her past. But being able to incorporate my own faith-journey into Hannah’s journey made the process so meaningful for me,” she continued. “My prayer is that any moving moment in my performance points straight to Jesus, providing truth, authenticity, and depth to this film that may not be as evident otherwise.”

Putting Her Faith First

Ms. Osnes said choosing projects that align with her faith and values has always been a priority but admits this isn’t always an easy feat in the entertainment industry.

“I haven’t always succeeded and had to learn some lessons the hard way. But I’ve tried to cling to Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘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 paths,'” she shared.

“God has proven His faithfulness in my life time and time again, especially when I don’t know or understand. He has offered peace (or, adversely, a sense of uneasiness) over specific job decisions, brought miraculous provision in seasons of drought, closed doors I thought I wanted so His better ones could open,” she added.

“I honestly don’t know how people in the entertainment industry navigate the emotional, mental, and financial rollercoaster of this career without that firm foundation. But I’m constantly practicing discernment and obedience, comforted by the promise that He will always guide my path as I trust and surrender to Him,” she said, noting that she is always appreciative of the opportunities and platforms that God bestows upon her.

“I’ve always felt called just to love people, and I learned early on that compromising my values was never going to be worth any role or job opportunity. It’s hard not to be a people-pleaser in the entertainment industry… we love that attention and applause,” she offered. “But my greatest advice would be to stop living for the validation of others and start living for the audience of One.”

From The Epoch Times

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