Part One of our interview with Real Andrews, the actor discussed his new role on the indie soap THE BAY, and revealed how growing up without a father impacted his personal demons. In this part he shares more about his religious evolution, as well as some shocking statistics about obesity in the United States. Why are Americans more at risk now than in the past 200 years? Find out below!
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Were you raised Christian?
Real Andrews: No. I was raised Catholic, I went to a private boys school. My grandma was very Catholic, I went to church with her. Then I was searching. I became a Buddhist, I went to Pentecost, I went to Baptist, I was searching. It was a process. The closer you get to God, the more you hear his voice. But you have to respect people where they are. I’m not a bible thumper by any means. But if someone wants to listen, if someone wants me to pray for them, then that is different. It has been life changing for me. Even for my [step] dad who almost died recently from Parkinson's. He was in that bed and I asked him if he gave his life to Jesus. He’s still alive now and he shouldn’t be by medical means.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How did Christianity become the religion that fit for you so well compared to all the others?
Real Andrews: There were so many things along the way. I can remember one particular thing that made a difference. It happened when I was in the deep trenches of partying, doing drugs, when I should have died twenty times over, hating the world, and blaming all my managers and agents for my lack of success. It happened when I was in one of my drinking holes. This guy was sitting next to me in a dive bar. He was different from everyone else because he wasn’t drinking. I kept offering him a drink, and he kept saying, “No, I’m good.” Eventually he asked me some questions. I did what I would always do, saying, “My manager sucks, my agent sucks, nobody gets me, nobody understands me, the world sucks!” Basically he said, “I used to feel the same as you. Maybe you’re looking for the wrong manager. Maybe you’re looking for the wrong agent.” I was drunk and high, thinking, “Whatever, Dude.”
He said, “Here’s what I did to change my life, and here’s what you can do. Go home, and write a letter to Jesus. Ask Jesus to be your agent. Put your life and your future in his hands and ask him to take care of it. Sign it at the bottom and see what happens.” Then one night I was sitting in my apartment on Hollywood Boulevard and I was in a bad place. By all means I should have died that night. I couldn’t even get myself up off the floor. Then all of a sudden I remembered that guy. I remembered him saying that. I thought, “I’ve tried everything else, why not?” I sat down, I found a pen, a piece of paper, and I scribbled down, “From this day on, I choose you Jesus to be my manager, my agent, to look after my career and look after my life. Tell me what to do.” I signed it, I put it down, and passed out. My life started to change the next day.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What changed?
Real Andrews: I had no desire to do drugs. I did stumble after that, but that was the beginning of my uphill climb. That’s when I got GENERAL HOSPITAL. I had been a struggling actor for so many years. Then I got GENERAL HOSPITAL and SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE. It was amazing. I look back and remember that I had had meetings with producers before that. I would be up all night before doing crazy stuff. Before I would go out I would have that battle in my head and heard the voice saying, “If you stay away from this then I will give you that job. But if you do this I’m not going to give it to you because you are not ready.” Then I would end up partying and not get the job. When I look back it’s not hard to see the pieces of the puzzle.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Things can fit together and makes sense when we look back with a clearer perspective.
Real Andrews: Even this interview right now. I get really excited about this. I get excited when I meet new people. Damon didn’t just call me for an interview just because. There is a reason for this. A year from now we’ll look back and see that this interview spawned this or spawned that. I get excited because I know everything happens for a reason.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I completely agree! My opportunity to do these interviews came to me through a series of happy accidents. I feel blessed that I have the privilege to use new technology to illuminate ideas that can help others.
Real Andrews: I can tell you are passionate about this. I can tell these interviews are about making a difference, not just talking to an actor. This is something I encourage my peers to do as well. If something is in your heart, then use the platform you have been blessed with and do something positive. We have a platform where people will listen.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In what other ways are you using that platform?
Real Andrews: The other thing that I get very passionate about is talking about health and wellness. I have a site called, “Lose Weight Easy And Fast” [loseweighteasyandfast.com]. It is for anyone struggling with weight loss. I will get back to them and come with a plan. In some states five out of five people are morbidly obese. Ten years ago there were zero states with obesity problems. Now there are 44 states that report morbid obesity. If you know somebody who has had a baby in the past three years, statistically for the first time ever since 1776, they will not outlive their parents. Not because of an accident or high blood pressure or diabetes, but because of obesity.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: That is a shocking statistic. What do you think accounts for this epidemic?
Real Andrews: It is a few things. It is laziness, it is lack of time. I was recently in Tennessee, in a town where the economy had hit hard. Nobody had any money. But you could drive past McDonalds on any given day, and there was a lineup down the road three to four blocks.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Why?
Real Andrews: It is convenience, it is laziness, people don’t have time. This is what I talk about at Raising Up Davids. Lets get moms, or dads, to stay at home with the kids. Thanks to Advocare I have been a stay-at-home dad. I do go to school functions, I do drop off my kids and pick them up from school every day. I am the “room mom” in several of my kids’ classes. It didn’t even hit me until my nine-year-old son asked me, “Dad, are you going to be at every school function?” It hit me like a knife. I got emotional. I said, “I will be at every school function.” [Pause], As a dad, I never knew how important that was to our kids. They don’t tell you. I say kids spell time as “L-O-V-E”. I’ll be honest, I’m addicted to my Facebook, my Internet, my computer. But I make a point of putting it down. When you go to a football game to watch your kid, leave your cell phone in the car. When I teach classes I tell people, “This next hour is your hour. Unless you have someone in the hospital or a brand new baby, turn your cell phone off. Nobody is that important.”
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: As a therapist, I perceive obesity in this country as a symptom of a cultural depression. Just like drugs and alcohol, I see people using food to medicate their mood.
Real Andrews: That's why I tell everyone I work with, “You a champion.” I have had people come up and say to me, “Nobody ever called me that.” I try to tell parents to say positive things to their kids. Make up a nickname for them like, “champion” or “warrior,” “queen” or “princess.” Negative words scar people without them realizing it. So someone says to me, “You really think I’m a champion?” I say, “Yes. You may not have found it yourself yet. But we are going to go find it.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Come back tomorrow to learn more about Real's challenge for getting fit in 2011, as well as a very special personal offer to people reading this interview!
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.