Adrienne Bailon says playing the character of Vanessa Leon, a devout Christian in the faith-based film "I'm in Love with a Church Girl," was similar to her own life and hopes the film will spark interest in moviegoers to pursue a relationship with God.
"I'm in Love with a Church Girl" was released earlier this month and tells the true story of a drug dealer who falls in love with a woman in church after living a tumultuous life as a drug trafficker. Rapper Ja Rule plays the character who chases after Leon only to find that she is no easy win because of her religious background. TobyMac, Stephen Baldwin and Vincent Pastore also co-star in the movie.
"I think I have a really similar experience to her, because yes I am a church girl, I grew up in the church," says Bailon in an interview with Latina Magazine. "But at the same time, even with my current boyfriend, we had a lot of conversations that we have in this movie."
Playing Leon entailed Bailon preaching to her on-screen boyfriend, lecturing him on the value of chastity, all while trying to get him to attend church. Bailon says the film is about redemption and God's work in a person's life who may be seeking a second chance.
"If you want to change your life tomorrow, it absolutely can happen. You can become anything you want to become. If you decide you want to change your life around, it doesn't matter where you came from, what you did, if you were incarcerated or you are from the projects, if you are an uppity kid who came from a really wealthy family and all of them do drugs and are into that life, it doesn't matter, come as you are and God does His work," said Bailon.
She added, "I hope they get the message of faith in the sense that believing in something greater than yourself really helps you get through life so much easier. So for me it's really not about religion, but a relationship with God is the message we want to get across."
The film is based on the life of Galley Molina, founder and CEO of Reverence Gospel Media/New Breed.
During his teenage years, Molina became involved in selling drugs after a drug supplier moved into his neighborhood and by the 1990s, he was a part of a major drug-supplying ring.
Around the same time, he met his future wife, Damaris, who encouraged him to seek God,and after a year of establishing their friendship, he committed his life to Christ only to discover that life was about to get complicated.
After being indicted for drug trafficking, Molina remained mum about his case to Damaris until he confessed and while out on bail, they got married. However, he was incarcerated eight months later and while serving his sentence, Molina wrote the script for the film without thinking it would make it to the silver screen.
Now, Molina serves as the worship pastor for Evergreen Valley Church in San Jose, Calif.