It's the Morality, Stupid

An interview with the Christian star of 'Kristin.'

This interview originally appeared on Beliefnet in June 2001.

Living in New York, acting in L.A., and always hankering for home in Oklahoma, Kristin Chenoweth is constantly on the move these days. Beliefnet caught up with her during a stop back east to talk about her new show on NBC, "Kristin," about a Southern Baptist actress trying to make it in New York, and whether Christians are ready for prime time--and visa-versa.

As a Christian, are you considered strange in Hollywood?
It's surprising me that people are coming out of the woodwork and saying, Oh, I believe in God too, or I'm a Christian, or I'm very spiritual. But it's not very often.

How do you think people feel about you being a Christian?
When a show has a character like mine, and I don't think it's ever been done, people get nervous. They go, "Religious show!" The show's more about morality. I wanted to portray a person who is a Christian but who has real dilemmas just like any single young woman.

These are real dilemmas that we face. We're human. I talk to Christian women every day who say, "I want to be married. I don't want to wait anymore." I want to show the human face of Christianity with this show. I think we're on to something that's very different. Maybe we'll start people talking about it and even help people define what they believe.


Do you feel some pressure from evangelicals?
I think we have a show about someone who's good, or tries to be good. Maybe evangelicals are hoping that she's pretty close to perfect. But she's not going to be, because nobody is. Some of the best Christian women I know have made whoppers, I mean huge mistakes. And they'll be the first to say they asked God for forgiveness, and God forgave me and I moved on from it. That's life. That's the challenge of life.

The tough thing for both critics and evangelicals has always been characters who live out in the world but who have a Christian response.
Look, I love "Will and Grace." There's a very flamboyant, gay character on there, which seems to be fine with everyone. But the moment there is someone who is good or even mentions Christianity, people get nervous. I remember when "Dharma and Greg" came out, and she was supposed to be the Buddhist. It wasn't a New Age show. It just cracks me up. We've had some good reviews, but critics have been very harsh on the premise of the show, as if there is no one like Kristin.

Why is that?
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