A September Chat with British Actress, Jennifer Lee Moon
Jennifer Lee Moon-Norbury is a British actress and dancer. You’ll know her from her appearances on Britain’s Celebrity Fitness and East Enders. But, she’s also a lover of Jesus. Enjoy this interview that Seele did with Jennifer where she talks the entertainment business, how she keeps her ego in check, Jesus, and who she’d like to host for a dinner party.
Seele Magazine: When did you know that you wanted to be a model and actress?
Jennifer Lee Moon-Norbury: I've always loved film and when I was cast as Mrs. Noah in my school production, aged 5 I decided that I wanted to be an actress although I actually became a professional dancer first. The modelling wasn't really planned; I was scouted during a dance class at Pineapple studios and booked my first commercial at 15. But it's been a rollercoaster since then.
SM: Being a model and actress can come with fame. How do you stay humble and keep your ego in check?
JLM-N: I don't feel like any of my work has particularly brought fame as such, but the nature of the job can often bring attention and influence. I think for me, now my character is more important than my achievements. Knowing that my value is in God and not defined by the jobs I book or what people think of me helps to keep me in check. Ego is so dangerous, I spent a while allowing my success and failures to define me. It was the emptiest feeling and it led me to make some pretty dumb decisions. Although I've been blessed to make a career out of what I do, it is also a job that comes with a lot of rejection and often more 'no's than yes's so it's really about staying humble in the successes and remaining grateful and patient in the failures.
SM: In your time of searching for fame and growing in your career you backslid in your walk with God. Why is trying to live a life away from God unsuccessful and empty?
JLM-N: For me I really feel like I've experienced both. The fullness and joy that comes from living a life of purpose with God, and also the emptiness and misery from trying to do things in my own strength.
When I backslid I remember literally feeling like my identity had been stolen. Living in the flesh was so disappointing, and even though I found myself having what I thought was 'success' I had completely forgotten why I wanted it in the first place. Mark 8:36 says
'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' And I can thoroughly understand that now.
I think ultimately when I'm in alignment with my creator and his plans, which are to prosper me and not to harm me. I walk in the authority and the identity that he's given me, and I never realised how valuable my Identity in Christ was before. Storms still come but having Jesus in the boat makes all the difference. He's replaced my constant fear and anxiety with a perfect peace that passes all understanding, and now I have a joy that is contagious. I have an anchor and a light for my path instead of feeling tossed about by my emotions. Take the fame and success and give me Jesus any day.
SM: Who is Jesus to you? When you hear His name what comes to mind?
JLM-N: I'm smiling trying to find words to answer that question. Jesus is my first love. He's the one that never gave up on me. He's my saviour and I've really felt his saving grace as a tangible reality, whereas before it just sounded nice in songs. He's my redeemer, he's literally redeemed time for me that was lost and restored what had been taken. He's my healer, physically, emotionally and spiritually. He is my best friend, he knows more about me than anyone and still chooses to love me, and at the same time He's King of Heaven. Mind blowing!
SM: What sort of role model would you like to be for young girls who aspire to be models and actresses? What advice do you have for them? What are the most important things they should be chasing?
JLM-N: I think I'd like to be a different kind of role model! I'm not perfect, I want girls to be able to relate and look at me, and think if she can do it, then so can I. And I'd like them to be able to maybe learn from some of my mistakes so they don't have to go through all the things I went through. I'd love to tell them that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. That they are beautiful Kingdom princesses and that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, despite what anyone might try to tell them.
I'd like them to know their identity in Christ is the most powerful weapon they have and that it's not worth trading for anything. And that there's NOTHING they can do to change Gods love towards them. The only advice I can give them is to trust God and keep their eyes on Jesus. To seek him and his kingdom first. To do everything they can with what's in their hands and to do it with their whole hearts.
SM: What's your favorite thing about your job?
JLM-N: People. I get to meet some amazing and crazy people in my line of work. A lot of the jobs I book are short contracts so you only get to be with a certain team for a few days or a few weeks. It means that you have to bond pretty quickly and I love getting to know people. I also get to travel and do some awesome things. I had a job recently in South Africa where I was allowed to do some of my own stunts and it was a real adrenaline kick. Hanging in the air from a crane can really make you pray hard.
SM: What's does the perfect weekend look like to you?
JLM-N: Because I don't have a 9-5 Monday-Friday job, my weekends are always different. Sometimes I have castings or shoots on Saturdays but I always try & keep my Sundays free for church.
If I'm not working then a perfect weekend would be Practicing my martial arts and do an acting class Saturday morning then catching up with a girlfriend in Shoreditch for lunch or something, and have a date night with my hubby in the evening & catch a movie. Sundays are my rest days so ideally spending the day chilling, at church and then food & hangs with friends after.
SM: If you could host a dinner party with three guests, who would they be?
JLM-N: Hmm, if I could have dinner with ANYONE, it would be Jesus, Mother Theresa & Audrey Hepburn.
SM: What's something that you know now that you wish someone would have told you at the age of 18?
JLM-N: Haha! I would tell myself to run from the people that wanted me to compromise. I would tell my 18-year-old self that everything is going to be OK. That your dreams are in Gods hands, that what he has for you will not pass you, and the doors he opens no man can shut. I would tell myself to not listen to the lies, to not compare myself to the rest, to listen to that gentle voice, to not despise small beginnings and to keep living for an audience of ONE.