I was one of the more fortunate ones who earned a living as an actor in commercials and an occasional guest star. I, like everyone else, was aspiring to get a regular part on a TV series or a film that might afford me a big break in the industry. I was working hard in my acting class and really beating the pavement to try to get a job, but nothing was happening. I had few auditions and didn't get any jobs at this time. At this point I was starting to point my feet in a different direction--God.
Unclear of whether I should go back to school or continue to pursue acting, I began to search the Bible for answers. One Sunday in the service, the pastor gave us a prayer to pray: "Dear Lord, I am your faithful servant, use me." I began to pray that prayer often. I was beginning to feel that maybe this business had no place for the morally elevated. I was at a crossroads in my life, searching for a career in psychology or possibly law, and this prayer could not have been given to me at a better time. Every day I felt lost, I lifted the prayer up to the Lord. I knew that I wanted to do something to serve, but I wasn't sure what.
This prayer also helped me because it was about asking for His will in my life as well as praying for an opportunity to serve. I longed to discover exactly where God wanted me to be. Through this prayer I also found my passion. I wanted to use my acting skills to reach teenage girls to prevent them from falling victims to their sexuality and to help them find their self-worth. I began to pray for these teenage girls and asked God to lead me to them.
A few days later my manager called. "I've got a great audition for you, Tracy. Aaron Spelling has decided to produce a daytime show for NBC. This is huge."
"I'm there," I replied. Spelling had an amazing professional reputation, and I was eager to be a part of his new venture, so I prepared myself for this audition.
I read for the role of Tess Martin, who was a nanny for a wealthy family. I loved reading the script and discovering this evil character. Tess wasn't at all what she appeared; she seemingly was nice, but behind closed doors she was evil. In an effort to get money to support her young son, she devised an evil scheme. The family who employed her as a nanny was a wealthy and powerful dynasty. In the story, the wife suffered amnesia and suddenly disappeared. Her family was naturally frantic to find her.
My character, Tess, found her; but instead of bringing her home to her family, the nanny devised a sinister plan that would benefit her, naturally, and not the woman. Unbeknownst to the family, their nanny, Tess, had a baby boy to support; but she had no money, so she had the woman believe the baby was hers so that she could become the nanny to her own son. Sounds a little like Moses in the bulrushes.
Tess's personality traits were drastically different from any character that I had ever played. My favorite characters are ones that you can see their public self and their private self, and the contrast between the two. I prayed I would get the part of Tess.
God answered my prayer with a callback. A callback is when the casting director likes you enough for a role that they invite you back to read for the producers. I prepared for my callback, and I thought it went well. I thought to myself, I'm getting closer.
I used to walk into auditions with the subtext, "Please like me. I can be whomever you want me to be so I can have your approval." I was learning that God approved of me and Rob approved of me so I didn't need the approval of strangers.
When my name was called, I went inside. I felt totally relaxed because I wasn't desperate for the job. I knew that my profession no longer defined my identity, because my real identity was in Jesus. Even though I would've loved to work as an actress again, especially on this show, I trusted God for the outcome.
I got a call in a couple of days for a screen test. I'd made it to the third step. My manager warned, "You probably won't get it." He was usually so positive, but he knew I was going up against others who'd been on soaps before, and I think he thought I didn't have a chance. "Tracy, don't be disappointed, but I think it's unlikely they'll go with an unknown."
I refused to allow the words of my manager to discourage me; if the Lord's will was for me to get the part, then I knew I would. It was that simple. When I went in for the screen tests, they did my hair and makeup and then they told me to wait in the dressing room. I was the last person to be called into the audition.
Praying for the first time before an audition, I said, "God, if this is your will, please allow me the circumstances for a good audition." I relinquished the job to the Lord. In the past I wouldn't pray. Instead, I would demand that God give me the job because I wanted what I wanted. Now I wanted Him in control and His will not mine.
A couple of nights later, my agent called and asked, "How far is the drive to Burbank?" I said, "About 45 minutes. Why?" She said, "You're going to be making it a lot."
To her surprise I didn't scream, laugh, or cry. I just said, "Oh, great." She said, "Aren't you excited?" I said, "Yes, it is great." But for me it wasn't the end-all that it used to be. After getting the part on "Sunset Beach," I was informed that our largest audience demographic was 12- to 18-year olds. I was going to reach the girls I wanted to help in the ministry that I felt that God had called me to do. I also understood that my role on this TV program would give me the platform to influence others. I thanked God. Rob and I discussed the logistics. I was excited and wondering, What is it like to be on a soap? If I'm on a soap every day, will people start recognizing me in public? I was happy because I had a calm assurance that this was God's plan for my life. God had given me a platform, and this time I would use it to glorify Him. "Thank you, Lord. This is something I've always wanted."