By Darryl Mears
Playing a lead role in her first international picture The Pineville Heist is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for talented Perth actress Priscilla Anne Forder.
The daughter of an international model mum and a father who did Coca-Cola commercials, Priscilla was perhaps destined to make a career in acting.
Yet she was scared she would not be able to make a career out of it.
She began a human biology degree but felt unable to express her creativity.
"I just felt empty and knew that I would never feel content if I didn't go for gold and follow my dreams. You can't kill the dreams God has placed in your heart."
After a 2012 short-film for British-Canadian writer and director Lee Chambers, the 28-year-old Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts graduate passed a Skype-call screen-test and was cast as a drama teacher who helps a student (young West Aussie Presley Massara) stay alive in the aftermath of a bank robbery gone wrong.
In addition to professional modelling and TV commercials, her previous work includes a supporting role in Perth-made crime thriller The Reckoning, alongside Luke Hemsworth and Jonathan LaPaglia.
“I was going through
an identity crisis”Although acting has always been on Priscilla's heart, following God was not. The pressures associated with the industry took its toll on her growing up.
"I was self-centred, overly obsessed with image, a lack of self-confidence, stressed out, had sleeping problems, mild anxiety and was developing an eating disorder. I didn't believe God could be real if there was so much suffering in the world."
Through all of this, Priscilla eventually looked up, remembering things she was taught in a small Anglican church about a loving God.
"I was at my absolute depth of despair. I was going through an identity crisis. Who was I? Why was I put on this earth? I was exhausted from reading self-help books and trying to use my own mind to control my feelings, emotions and circumstances. When the people you look up to most in life fall to pieces, where else can you turn? You look up and find God."
Since committing her life to the Lord Jesus Christ, Priscilla has seen God turn her life upside down.
The troubles that plagued her have been overcome with love and the need for personal fulfilment has been replaced with a desire to help others.
"I cannot begin to list the blessing as God smothers me. I now put others before myself, I am awake to the problems and needs of people and respond in any way I can. I have found a peace inside the depths of my soul that nothing else could have filled. Even when there is storm and turmoil around me, He keeps me strong. He fills a void that nothing else in this world can."
Having recently travelled to Hollywood after completing filming The Pineville Heist, God showed Priscilla how people are and what He wants her to be.
"God showed me how people worship fame and money, but they are not eternally happy and ultimately live to feed their materialistic desires. Fame is the thing most further from my mind. I am in love with my craft and my Jesus, so doing what I love and giving Him the glory is what drives me. I plan to shine the light into the darkness and show people that the things of this world won't fill their voids, but God can."
Priscilla leaves her acting career in God's hands. Determining what is a good role or not is important to her based on her relationship with Jesus.
"God helps me determine the roles I take on. I feel it in my spirit when it isn't right. I have learned to pray to and seek God's approval before I say yes to any role."
Priscilla has found that by letting God be her personal director, His timing is perfect.
Having turned down roles in the past, she was blessed with better roles in their place.
Her future in acting and doing what she loves is clear to her, without any fear of the industry, the people who work in it, or the people who view it.
"I know that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me," she quotes from Philippians 4, verse 13.
"I had this revelation that acting is being that character without hesitation. I don't have the fear of failing and not being 'good' enough like I used to. If I fail, I fail, it doesn't change who and what I am to God so there is no stress. I seek the approval of God, not man, so life is much easier."
Priscilla hopes to make more pictures in Canada, having gained a two-year working visa. •