Years ago (in 1996, to be precise), I had the pleasure of costarring in a movie of the week with Candace Cameron Bure, called She Cried No. I’d met Candace many times before, but that was my first opportunity to really get to know her– to delve into her psyche. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Lest you think I was playing Freud in my spare time, I’ll admit there was really only some casual observance on my part. I was in my first year of college then, so I may have had a slight preoccupation with my industrious lifestyle as self-absorbed University coed. It didn’t leave much time for pondering the existence of others. That said, while I was busy pouring over French textbooks, attending film school lectures, and playing social butterfly at fraternity parties, I recall being fascinated by the fact that Candace was already married and preparing to start a family. I found it sort of mind-boggling that she was so adult, while I was content being a fixture in an immature college dormitory. We were running on two very different tracks, and I viewed that with a sense of wonderment. Consequently, I suppose it comes as no surprise that I’m still in awe of Candace sixteen years later. While I’ve respected her roles in TV and film for years, I’ve appreciated her role as wife and mother for almost as long. I’ve met Candace’s parents, as well as all of her siblings, and I am equally impressed by each of them. I can vouch for the fact that, without exception, they are humble, thoughtful, honorable and generous people. They are also a wonderfully close-knit family, which is clearly reflected in the way Candace and Val raise their own children.
It wouldn’t surprise me if your first thought when looking at Candace’s photo is, “Oh yeah, that’s DJ Tanner, from the show Full House!” While that’s a true assessment, her career has extended far beyond the mark she made on the popular family sitcom of her childhood, and I hope you’ll allow her to graduate beyond the accompanying “child star” stereotype. At 36, Candace is an accomplished actress, producer, author and inspirational speaker. That isn’t, however, to suggest those facets of her professional life define her. She is also a wife (to retired hockey-player, Valeri Bure), a mother to three children (Natasha, Lev and Maksim), and a passionate follower of her faith. I admire this woman’s subtle moxie– In a town where faith and family aren’t always placed in advance of career agendas (and priorities often include which class of car one drives or how much money one spends on their wardrobe), Candace and her family are a beautiful exception to the rule.
I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Candace via email recently. I inquired about her career, yes, but especially about motherhood. Any advice shared by a fellow mom (with far more experience than I currently have, might I add…), is a blessing! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did… Here’s Candace, in her own words.
JENNA: You recently reminded me that you have a daughter in high school. I am amazed by this because, although we are roughly the same age, I have more than a decade to go before I’m at that stage of the game! That said, I am already a bit apprehensive about how the teenage years will alter my relationship with my daughter. Have you found this to be the case? What challenges, if any, do you foresee high school bringing about for you and your fourteen year-old daughter, Natasha?
CANDACE: Every stage will alter your relationship, to some degree, with your child. Yes, high school is a different ball game than even middle school. And it is certainly a far cry from the elementary, toddler and baby years. They all present their challenges, as well as their blessings. I’m not always the one she runs to anymore when she cries from being emotionally hurt by friends, or the first one she wants to talk to when she’s thinking about boys. As a mom, it can hurt for a moment. But then you realize the task you’ve been given– to raise them to be independent people while holding onto the values and virtues you’ve tried to instill in them over the years. It becomes less about you (as a mommy) and more about the call to raise them the best you can. Does that make sense?
JENNA: It does! I realize you were probably tutored on the set, as I was, but how different do you feel the high school atmosphere is now, relative to what we experienced at Natasha’s age?
CANDACE: I was tutored on set for most of my life, but did attend public junior high. I also attended a private high school for a few hours each morning before work, so I understand it from a “normal” perspective too. Social media has definitely changed kids’ experiences growing up. The same issues like bullying, body image, boyfriends/girlfriends/sex, cliques etc. are still around, but the way in which they are handled is radically different. With the Internet in the palms of their hands, access to the social world is readily available to give them approval, opinions and critique. Instead of going to mom and dad, or a mentor, kids today are quick to post their problems to the world, for advice and counsel, with the swipe of a button. I also find it unsettling that in every thing they do, they feel the need to show and tell the world. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media, and think there is a healthy way to utilize it’s benefits, but I also believe it gives our kids one more thing to obsess over when they should be more concerned about community, grades, personal friendships and family.
JENNA: You have a husband, three children, a television show, a book and an online magazine… Not to mention, I would bet that’s only a partial list! I’m certain there are many women who wonder: How do you manage to juggle your career and family life so successfully?
CANDACE: The operative word in your question is juggle! LOL. It’s definitely a balancing act, and sometimes things fall down and crash. As much as I’d love to boast about doing it well all of the time, all too often I have to step back, take a look, and re-prioritize. Here’s my life model: God first, then family (husband, then children- if your marriage isn’t working, life with your kids will be that much harder!) and then work/friendships/and rest of life. It’s so easy for me to get consumed with the 3rd category on that list because I really enjoy it. Although I work hard, I’m blessed to pursue things I’m passionate about. With that said, I’m thankful for a husband who understands that, and helps me keep it all in check, as we co-labor to balance our lives and family together.
JENNA: Since we all need time to refuel and rejuvenate, an equally important question might be: What do you do for “Mommy Me-time?”
CANDACE: Bible study and prayer is my FAVORITE thing for refueling- something I try to do every single day. I love reading my bible, challenging myself to understand the scriptures in an applicable way to my life, and being filled up with God’s precious words. I also love getting a mani/pedi and going shopping by myself! The combination of all those things is, like, the perfect get-away day. Mommy-Me day!!
JENNA: You have an online magazine, www.Roomag.com, which encompasses matters of motherhood, eating well, faith, and more. You also have a New York Times Bestselling book, titled “Reshaping It All.” What prompted your blogging and writing journey? Was it driven by craving an outlet for creativity or by your walk in faith?
CANDACE: Writing was definitely prompted by my walk in faith. I would never have considered myself a writer (it’s not my natural talent)– just a storyteller, a woman who loves to talk and wants to share! I decided to open up about my journey with food, and the role faith played in it, by writing Reshaping It All. I started “Roo” as another outlet for women to come together and trade secrets. It’s a watering hole, for ladies in all facets of life, to share what helps them be the best mom, wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister and woman they can be.
JENNA: What a wonderful motherhood oasis! Your television series, Make It Or Break It, which aired on the ABC Family channel, came to an end this year. As art often imitates life, do you choose roles solely based on their intrinsic family values? If so, has that made for a difficult time finding roles in a town that isn’t known for being terribly family-oriented?
CANDACE: I do give substantial consideration to choosing my roles based on the family values they hold. I want to work on projects my children can watch, and where families won’t be worried about being uncomfortable because it’s too provocative. I’ve always been about family values– starting with one of America’s most family friendly shows, Full House. It certainly planted a seed. Along with my upbringing, it’s one that has stayed with me (now as a mom) in my career. It is definitely more challenging to find roles that fit my standards but, with cable television, there are some wonderful options and networks. I’m also working diligently on creating and producing my own family friendly movies and shows. I believe there is a strong audience that, like me, want it too.
JENNA: Since both you and Kirk have had successful acting careers, a passion for being in front of the camera obviously runs in your family. Would you encourage or allow your own children to get into the industry?
CANDACE: Yes. I would allow my kids to pursue a career in the industry, if that’s what they wanted. I had a great experience and truly enjoyed every minute- that’s why I’m still in it! I think I know the ins and outs of the dangers, and I am confident I could steer my kids clear of those pitfalls we see some child actors getting into. So far, my boys have no interest in the entertainment business and, while my daughter likes to sing and act and has given it a shot, she’s more into working on school plays and singing in church. And I’m perfectly OK with that!
JENNA: In your book, Reshaping It All, you reveal your past struggles with bulimia. I have the utmost respect for your decision to come forward with this vulnerable part of your history. What made you decide to share this aspect of your life?
CANDACE: Thank you. I never intended to share that secret with the world, until I starting writing my book. With my focus on food, fitness, and faith (topics I constantly talked to women about because they were asking me my secret to staying in shape after kids), I would share to an extent, but not fully uncover my darkest and conquered secret. It was shameful for me, and something I didn’t want to open up about, since that demon had been slayed and was gone. But I realized in the writing process, that without fully divulging my battle, the solution didn’t covey its power to the fullest. After gentle coaxing from my writing partner, I decided to lay it all on the line. And I’m glad I did.
JENNA: What words of wisdom can you offer mothers who, as you do, have children approaching that age where body image tends to be so harshly criticized?
CANDACE: We, as mothers, are the best (or worst) examples to our kids. If they see us complaining, pulling and tugging all the time at our clothes, and saying words under our breath like, “I’m so fat!” -even when we don’t really mean it- it sets a standard and a trap for them to walk into; it’s a model to follow. If we have a positive and healthy outlook on inner and outer beauty, it helps them form a self-assured and confident outlook on their bodies. What’s most important in our family is to teach our kids, daily, the importance and benefits of eating well and exercising regularly. All three of my children have different body types, and they have to eat differently. Teaching them “why” they need to eat the way they do makes all the difference. These are tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. But above all, we reassure them that their worth and value will never change depending upon a number on the scale.
JENNA: More than ever before, bullying is being spotlighted in the media. However, that isn’t to suggest it hasn’t been around since we were kids. Was that something you dealt with? If so, what helped you to move beyond it?
CANDACE: I was bullied in junior high school for being on T.V. I was made fun of, pushed, knocked down, and had obscene words written on my locker multiple times. One time, my gym locker was covered in gum and shaving cream. I cried many times. It hurt. I would tell my parents, who always offered wisdom, comfort and security. And, thankfully, during those years my older sister went to the same school and was my go-to person to stick up for me. She also enlisted her friends to make sure I was covered if the going got rough, and some days it did. My parents always told me that these times would eventually pass, and they did. But I always knew where to go to for support if I needed it- to them, my school counselors, my sisters, and my trusted friends.
JENNA: On a lighter note… You’ve raised three children. Consequently, I imagine you have a collection of colorful stories. Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite funny anecdotes from their childhood?
CANDACE: One of my favorite stories, which I share in Reshaping It All, is when my youngest son, Maks, was about 6 years old. He LOVES to eat, and after seconds or thirds for dinner, and about 2 or 3 pieces of whole fruit for dessert, he went upstairs to get ready for bed. While he was getting his PJ’s on, standing in his underwear, he urgently said to me, “Mom, I think we have a problem!” “What?!” I frantically said. And while he pushed out his big round belly and tapped on it, he said, “I think I’m pregnant!” Awwww- it was SO cute! I laughed so hard and, of course, explained to him that he was in no way about to birth me a child. I, of course, went on to explain that just because food tastes really good, it doesn’t mean we have to go hog wild! Good teaching moment.
A huge ‘’thank you’’ to Candace, for taking the time to answer my probing questions! I encourage you all to check out her online magazine, www.roomag.com, Facebook page, and to learn more about Candace on her website, www.candacecameronbure.net. You can also follow her on Twitter!
Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter too!