When her family first appeared on the A&E series "Duck Dynasty" three years ago, Sadie Robertson had no idea it would result in opportunities to write books, host award shows, star in movies, design clothes and gain millions of followers on social media. Still, the 18 year old says she's determined not to get caught up in the fame and has a plan to avoid the pitfalls that've plagued others who became celebrities after being on reality TV.
"I think the key to that is recognizing that it's not all about me, it's truly not. God gave me this and this is all about God," Robertson told The Christian Post.
"I think if I would have came into this saying 'all of these followers are for me and these fans are for me,' then it would've been really difficult. I think I would've gotten lost in it all. But coming into it with the mindset of all these followers are for God, all of this fame is for God, it's not about making me famous."
Sadie is the granddaughter of Duck Commander founder Phil Robertson and daughter of the company's CEO Willie Robertson who heads the family business of duck hunting merchandise. Since her grandparents, parents, siblings and extended family share the small screen with her on the popular "Duck Dynasty" series — which pulled in 3.26 million viewers for its eighth season finale this summer — Sadie's had a lot of help navigating the world of fame, but admits the industry is a difficult one to thrive in, especially for a teenager.
"It is hard because you feel the competition, like you have to go to the next level and you feel like to get this lead in this movie, you have to do this. In reality, (people are) not staying true to who they are," she told CP.
"Whenever you try to be someone that you're not, that's really hard. You can get really confused and honestly, it's so crazy. So I'm thankful that I had a family that showed me that before I had to deal with it."
More than her family, Sadie has relied on God to guide her through life, which has exceeded the expectations of the rural Louisiana native. The teenager has made a name for herself outside of her family's wildly popular reality TV series in the world of fashion by teaming up with evening wear designer Sherri Hill to create the Sadie Robertson Live Original brand of prom dresses.
The "Duck Dynasty" star modeled for Hill during the 2013 New York Fashion Week before recently becoming the face of the Wild Blue Denim brand. Aside from her modelesque appearance, Sadie has become a voice for her generation as a motivational speaker who also authored her first New York Times best-selling book, Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values.
With over 1 million Twitter followers and more than 2 million on Instagram, Sadie was also asked to co-host the upcoming 46th annual Dove Awards on Oct. 13 with Grammy award-winning gospel singer Erica Campbell. And though she's eternally grateful for all of the exciting opportunities she's been afforded at a young age, Sadie also insists that she could never have planned any of it apart from God.
"I used to plan what my life would look like, then I realized God will take you to so many bigger places than you can ever imagine. So why try to plan?" she questioned. "My plan, although it may have been a good plan, it wasn't as good as the plan that God had for me. I would have never imagined I would be at the places I am today or done things that I've done today."
While she's made mistakes along the way, Robertson believes she has now learned to say "yes" to the new opportunities God has for her. After entertaining audiences as the second runner-up on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" in 2014, one of those opportunities may be a new career in acting, since she will appear in the movies "God's Not Dead 2" and "I'm Not Ashamed" in 2016.
"I told myself in the beginning of this craziness that I would only do a movie if the part fit me exactly. If I really felt like this was going to be a good thing, going to be a good message, and the person I was playing was a lot like myself," she revealed about her character Marlene in "God's Not Dead 2." It's a message that I want to share with people about standing up for your faith, saying, 'I'm not ashamed.' I'm excited for people to see it."
A true-to-life movie, "I'm Not Ashamed" centers on Christian high school student Rachel Joy Scott who's targeted during the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and ultimately dies for her faith.
"I think that with this movie, what I'm most excited about is it goes beyond a movie, and I think it's truly going to be a movement around a lot of schools, in workplaces and really everywhere," she told CP.
When she's not working on a handful of projects at once, Sadie's an average American teenager who believes she can have fun in life without illegally consuming alcohol, drugs or rebelling against her beliefs for the sake of a good time.
"Our minds have been changed to think that the good stuff is not fun when it really is.The things that I do that are in the world that seem like they would be temporary fun end up making me wish I didn't do that," she admitted.
"What I say to people is save yourself from a lifetime of regret because it only takes 5 seconds to say no to a party, a drink, a guy or all these different things. I say have fun in your faith and you're never going to have to regret that."
One look at her Instagram page — Robertson wears a smile in almost every photograph — and it's clear that she enjoys her life. And a closer look offers some insight into her dating life with boyfriend, Blake Coward, whom she's been linked to for close to two years.
As a devout Christian living her life in the public eye, there are certain standards that Sadie has set for her relationship in order to avoid going too far down any path that she'll regret.
"My brother always tells me, 'Stay in a place where God can bless you.' And I just say, 'OK, yeah sure.' But really, if you think about it and say it — you know God can bless you and nothing can go wrong — then you're going to be fine," she said. "Don't go in your boyfriend's bedroom and close the door. You can probably figure out what's going to happen, you're supposed to be smart.
"Be in it as a team. You can't go into a relationship with one person having a totally different opinion on that and thinking you're going to stay strong," she advised. "I don't think that can happen in a relationship, it has to be the two of you deciding this and really working because temptations are there. But if you're in it together, it's easier to get out of it than if you're the only one in a relationship trying to stay strong."
Spending time with friends and family is equally important to Sadie, but she also believes it's necessary to spend time giving back to those less fortunate than herself. Every year, she joins mission trips to the Dominican Republic, and this year chose to go on a mission trip to Haiti.
"For me, going on a mission trip is what truly changed my life because it gave me a different view of the world, my life, how good I have it and how faithful I should be," Robertson revealed. "I think it's important for people to go out and see how bad others have it, how good you have it and the ways you can help them. I think it's really important to help and to give back so you can view people as your neighbor and love them as your neighbor.
"I think glorifying God is something that people think they can only do during good times in their life whenever they're receiving all of these blessings, but that's not really the case. I feel like you should be able to glorify God no matter what situation you are in in life," she added. "No matter if you are really going through hard times or going through the best times in life, God never gives up on us."
For more information about Sadie Robertson and her brand, visit her website Live Original. Sadie will be co-host the 46th annual GMA Dove Awards which will air at 7 p.m., Sunday Oct. 18 on TBN.