Amanda Jane Cooper is a Broadway star and TV actress who made her way up the ladder from guest starring in shows such as Glee and Bones to the longest running lead act in the Broadway hit Wicked.
From her beautiful looks to working alongside the most famous people in Hollywood, Amanda seems to have the perfect life. However, she has recently talked about the secrets and struggles she has dealt with inside the industry.
"I don't think I ever really believed that it was possible to be totally free [from my addictions] but I learned later that I was wrong," the fresh-faced star says in a YouTube clip from White Chair Films. "I didn't have an understanding of who I really was. I didn't know what made me matter."
During her studies in acting and musical theatre, Amanda constantly looked for affirmation from others around her. "Success started to slowly become my god and I said, 'Oh, ok. If I can achieve this role or something, then I'll be enough.'"
Out of nowhere Amanda developed an eating disorder and remembers the first time she forced herself to throw up. "I ate this dessert and something in me was just like, you have to get this out." She pushed herself so hard she burst a blood vessel in her eye; but that was only the beginning of her disease.
"I had this hatred and judgement of my body," she tears up. "I felt like I had to make my body a certain way. Basically, I would starve myself during the day and then binge at night. Feeling lost about my body, I started becoming careless with who I shared my body with."
After graduating from university with a Bachelor's Degree, Amanda went to New York to pursue her dream of acting but she admits that things did not feel right. "It was hard because I had all these secrets. I was so confused. It was like I have everything. Why is everything not okay?"
Then she moved to Los Angeles and the pressure on her to make it big and be successful there proved to be a heavy weight.
"I was exhausted by everything," she says. Her coping mechanisms were her porn browser and shoplifting. "I was addicted to porn. It was something that I felt like I needed just to go to sleep. I shoplifted to feel something – why am I not okay? I have got everything. Like, what else?"
Fame and fortune had sent Amanda into a dark tunnel of emptiness, depression, and fear.
"Binged, starving, hurting myself, crying, sad – I hate you. This war inside me was just ravenous," she remembers. "It almost became a place of comfort because dealing with the pain was less scary to me than the pain of what it would take to change."
Ironically, it was during a Hollywood wrap party that Amanda met Alice Isaac, who introduced her to Jesus Christ.
Amanda had heard about a Jesus in her childhood but did not know much about Him or understand how to have a personal relationship with Him.
"Something about Alice was really safe and for like 45 minutes, I just poured out my life to her," Amanda remembers, "And she loved me back to life. She was my mentor and the hands and feet of Jesus."
Amanda was enthralled with the Gospel message, "To think, wow, there's a God who sees me and knows me and loves me despite knowing all about me. My soul just knew this is what I needed. I need a Saviour. I can't do it for myself.
"I had to say 'yes' to God! He changed my heart," she says about the day she repented [turned away] from her sins and gave her life to Jesus.
"I started in counselling and that root thing that made me seek out all that attention, act out in all those different ways, and put myself in really, really dangerous situations – God just took that desire from me. I have come to a point of freedom – of healing."
Amanda has decided to abstain from sex until she is married, a decision she describes as "super life-giving." Very recently, the 31-year-old got engaged and the memorable day was documented on her Instagram page and Twitter feed.
"When I tell you he is better than anything I prayed for, I mean it," she captioned a sweet picture of herself and her fiancé Andrew Bell. "I am so grateful to Jesus for this love story unfolding!"
Today, Amanda is in a better place. She has overcome her addictions and eating disorder but knows she could not have done it alone. "Everything is different. It's crazy, the redemption, where God's allowed me to help other people who might be experiencing some of the same things. [Finally], I am at peace.
"Because of Jesus, because of God, my identity is as His daughter; and my worth, no matter if I'm in a princess gown or if I'm in my sweatpants or if I'm high achiever or going through it, I can be sure that I am loved, forgiven, seen, known, free."•