While I was in Los Angeles last week I had the pleasure of sitting down for coffee with an incredibly gorgeous and talented fellow Kentuckian, Bethany Brooke Anderson, to speak with her about my possible involvement in her upcoming first feature film Burning Kentucky. After studying at University of Kentucky she left Kentucky to pursue dreams of acting in Los Angeles. During this meeting I connected with Bethany on a very personal level, we both see ourselves as big fish from small ponds, and when you find a kindred soul like that it’s so easy to feel like right at home. She’s an incredible inspiration to me. After you take a few minutes to read through our conversation below, I’m sure you will feel the same way. A quick meeting over coffee turned into us talking and talking, me getting my first parking ticket in LA, and feeling right at home.
1. Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your story? Dreams? Aspirations? What brought you here?
I’m a hybrid city/country, artist, actress, and filmmaker. I’m a daughter and a sister, a best friend and a fiancé, I’m a control freak practicing a zen life style. I’m a daredevil. I’m an explorer. I’m most myself around a bonfire with people I have either cried/ laughed so hard I’ve wet myself in front of, playing music and trying to solve the worlds problems. I’m inspired by nature and children and people who have lived harder lives than I have. I’m a dreamer with a business mindset and an unsolicited motivational speaker. I’m my biggest fan and my biggest critic. I’m Bethany Brooke Anderson. My aspiration is to cause a reaction in people’s souls through cinematic story telling. To enlighten and awake people in ways they forgot or never knew. To bring good, hard working people up with me on a journey to being better at our calling. To nurture talent and to give back love I have received. I believe I am now in a place to fulfill my calling as a filmmaker because I finally let go of any distractions besides the willingness to create work that matters to me. To not waste a moment of my life doing things that didn’t serve my greater purpose.
2. Why a movie about Kentucky?
It’s only natural that Burning Kentucky be my first feature film I’ve written because it’s a story that encompasses so much of me. My comments on love, drugs, religion, family, loyalty, life. Each character has my finger prints. I’ve been all of them. I’ve hated all of them. I’ve been in love with them. I’ve lost them. The story plays out in the mountains of Appalachia, because that’s where my roots are. I always felt just outside of that world. My heart and mind have traveled their for years, reconnecting with my ancestors and trying to understand why it is the way it is.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a story. I don’t expect to change the world, or how the world sees Kentucky, good or bad. I just want the audience, wherever they are from, to connect to one moment. One tear, one laugh. I simply want to take them on a journey.
3. What’s one thing you want the blogging world to know about Kentucky that none of them know?
I love so many things about Kentucky. Once you get past the obvious answers like bourbon and moonshine, I want the world to know that Kentucky is not $16 mason jars of moonshine in Brooklyn. It’s not flannel shirts and handlebar mustaches. Appalachia is not hip. It’s real. It’s hard. It’s beautiful. It is home to some of the most unique talents, musicians, story tellers in the world that have to fight through less than perfect circumstances just to survive sometimes. Kentucky is this beautiful mix of soft and tough. Comforting and disarming. Kentucky supports Kentucky. Kentucky loves Kentucky. And I love Kentucky for that.
4. Who are your style icons and why?
I feel like I’m going to fail this question. I have no icons. I don’t keep up with trends, purposefully. I wear clothes that do something to me. They talk to me. From a pile on the concrete in front of vintage shops to my mothers old clothes from college. I like clothes that tell a story. That look like they’ve got a history. I use to have no clue about what looked good on me, so I followed all the trends and always felt like I wasn’t living in my own skin. Then I decided to wear whatever I wanted when ever I wanted to and to never question my aesthetic. I think fashion is about confidence. I don’t ask people’s fashion advice. I know when I’m dressed like me.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to the dreamers out there, what would it be?
My advice to dreamers is to work. Work towards your dream. Rip chords. Make moves. Pull the band aides off. Be fearless and hard working. There is never a “perfect” time to go for your dreams. Just decide you will. Then, one step at a time, do it. Unless your dream is brain surgery, accomplishing your dream is not brain surgery. People less intelligent than you have figured it out. Decide that other peoples opinion of what “success” in your dream means is absolutely nothing. It’s easy for people to judge you from their couch. Surround yourself with people who build you up. Nurture long lasting relationships. Don’t get wrapped up in fame or other people’s personal lives. Don’t get lost in fantasy, only say the truth. Lift up other dreamers, but loose the savior complex. Decide that success is and can only ever be happiness.
Burning Kentuckyis the story of the son of a sheriff that falls for a runaway bootlegger’s daughter in the woods. After discovering a dark family secret, he is forced to choose between protecting his father’s good name, or the girl in the trees. Be sure to keep up with all happenings of the movie on their Facebook page, Burning Kentucky, and if you’re interested in helping showcase the beautiful state of Kentucky visit their website, here, for more information on how to do that. If you’re interested in contacting the team you can do so by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for taking the time today to discover another one of Kentucky’s talented children. I hope you’ll continue to follow along with their journey. It’s bound to be an unforgettable one.