So grateful that you are here! You’re in for a treat! Actress Grace Byers is a new online friend of mine and today she has joined us on our Spotlight Q & A! She shares about her challenging journey to finding success and growing in her field.
Beyond acting, Grace loves to inspire others and has an important voice to share with children through her inspiring books. I ran into a few copies while browsing through an airport bookstore last year. ‘I Am Enough,’ seemed to jump off the shelves and I was immediately intrigued by her desire to encourage young girls to love who they are. Her most recent release, ‘I Believe I Can’ is an affirmation for young people to believe in themselves.
As always, before you go, please leave a comment of encouragement for Grace below! You may also visit her website at https://www.ladygracebyers.com to check out her new lifestyle blog filled with inspirational talks and tips on fashion, beauty, travel, and fitness.
Have a fantastic day!
- If you could describe this season of your life in one word, what word would it be? Why?
Transition. I feel like this is such a season of shift for me. With my husband and I moving out of Chicago after 6 years, working in NY with a new show and implementing changes in my health and lifestyle, I absolutely feel as if I’m moving through cocooning stages. I’m also coming into myself in an entirely new way; being much more conscientious about what (and who) adds to my life and well-being and making space for that. As always, a season of transition brings many things: thrill, surprise, trepidation and unpredictability – but I’m in a space of learning to trust, no matter what presents itself.
- In terms of your career, before you knew you would be _______________, you almost . . .
Before I knew I would be on Empire, I almost quit acting entirely. Being a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults), I have a compassion and love for the deaf community. To make a consistent living being an actor was not only difficult, but it began to feel elusive and futile. Even after obtaining a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Acting, I had a lot of survival jobs in retail/customer service in order to support myself while auditioning. Ultimately, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life making a living doing something I wasn’t passionate about (i.e. my survival jobs). So, with over 25 years of ASL and deaf community experience, I heavily considered a career as a full-time ASL interpreter. Then, I booked Empire.
- In what ways do you ensure that your career path serves the purposes of God and encourages His people?
Especially with social media and technology, I’m acutely aware of the forum and influence I’ve been given. It’s vital for me to consult with the Lord daily to order my steps, words and actions in the way that would best share His love. I’m not perfect. (Let me say it again for the people in the back): NOT perfect. We are all a constant work in progress, but I love that God loves us deeply, in spite of that. I just do my best to keep my spirit available and my ears keen for God to speak and work.
- Fill in the blank. I am not a very _____________ person:
I am not a very judgmental person.
I think when I was younger, since I was bullied quite often, I began to gravitate towards presenting myself in a state of perfection. As I did this, it was easier for me to point fingers, criticize others and, in that way, feel better about myself. As I came into adolescence, I learned a lot of very difficult lessons, and not only did they humble me tremendously, but my need to be afforded grace, forgiveness and patience, became overwhelming. It moved me to the point of growth and transformation. Today, as an adult, to move with deep compassion and empathy is like breathing – and this, I’ve found, leaves absolutely no room for judgment.
- Name your biggest strength and your biggest weakness? How has each served you as you’ve fulfilled your purpose?
Biggest Strength and Weakness – my gifts of kindness, availability and encouragement. I love to give. I love to serve. Most of all, I love to make people feel loved; to be there for others in their time of need and help in any way I can; giving advice, encouragement or fulfilling a need. It truly brings me joy. In the same breath, it used to sometimes be a weakness in the sense that I would make myself so available to others that boundaries weren’t always drawn. There were people who took advantage of that and used/abused my openness, heart and time. I would end up feeling betrayed, drained and confounded. It can also be a weakness for me now when my care for others bleeds into having their opinion of me carry more weight than it should. I love that I’m currently moving into a space where this is shifting dramatically and I’m relearning the significance of drawing boundaries, severing ties and the profound power of the word ‘no.’
These gifts have aided me in my purpose by shaping how I choose to show up in the world; that no matter how many times I get hurt, I can still choose to keep my heart soft, but wise. I won’t allow myself to shut down and move away from people because encouraging others is, I believe, a big part of what I was born to do. So, I write children’s books filled with positive affirmations and use my testimonies to uplift whenever I converse with others or have speaking engagements. I try to extend love to whomever I can, whenever I can. In my profession, a big thing for me, is also ensuring that I not only keep the door open for those coming behind me in the industry, but that I do whatever I can to support and usher them through it.
- When is the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt?
This week, my husband and I were in the bed watching a movie and I’m always messing with him so I pinched and tried to tickle him. Well, his clap-back tickle game is strong. So of course, he tickled me until I couldn’t breathe. I’m sure I lost a cool 100 calories from laughing so hard.
- What has been the most difficult season in your life? How did you get through it?
Oh man. I’ve definitely had my fair share. I would have to say that it was when I was a starving artist living in NYC. And let me tell you, I was definitely starving. From eating ramen and PB+J sandwiches every day for a week until I got paid, to sinking into a 3-month isolating depression (I don’t entirely remember that period as I went to and from work and then slept in bed in the dark when I wasn’t at work), to being in a long, emotionally tumultuous relationship, to having to sell my scarce bedroom furniture for subway fare and food, to being hit by an SUV and splitting my eyebrow open, it was a difficult season, to say the least. The only thing that pulled me out of all of it, was my faith in God. I wandered away numerous times, thinking I could handle it all on my own. But, every time, I came back to Him, searching for respite and hope, and finding it in His presence.
I remember, I was lying in bed healing from the car accident, when I began a deep internal search. I was alive after this traumatic event. How? There’s no possible way I should have survived being hit by a car in this way on the rainy roads of NY that night. But here I was, alive. Why? I pursued that answer with God, and it continues to be a wild goose chase with Him! Not because He pulls my leg in jest, but because He’s a wonderfully unorthodox God and you never know how and where He will lead you. It takes a lot of trust, but all you know is, that in the end, He has your back, He knows what He’s doing, He loves you and you’re going to be more than just fine; you’re going to thrive – not without pain, hurt and massive disappointment because we live in a difficult world – but you’re going to thrive. There is, quite simply, no one like Him. His love cannot be rivaled or equaled. I’ve seen and experienced this first-hand, over and over again. So, that’s what I abide by.
- If this were your last year on earth, what would you want to spend your time doing?
I would deep-belly laugh daily. Volunteer more. Spend more tangible time with those that I love. Forgive as much as possible. And remember to give grace to myself while doing it all. I would also eat a lot of chocolate. (Like, a lotttt).
If you could make three wishes and there were no limitations on what you could request, what would you wish for?
1.) Absolute and perfect physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health for us all.
2.) That all hurt, harm, hatred and evil would be erased in this world. That we all would never have to experience injustice, suffering or pain ever again.
3.) That everyone would deeply experience God’s love.
- If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Baby Grace, you are enough. You are loved just as you are. Despite what others say, do or how they ostracize you. You are more than enough. I believe in you.
*These blog interviews are designed only to be fun, informative and introductory. GB Ministries has varying levels of familiarity with each participant so their presence here does not equal our endorsement of or full alignment with theological doctrine or political perspective.