Q: Andrea, what is your hope for those who read the book? Share with us the message of the book title?
The title, Perfectly Unfinished, defines my struggle of feeling like I could never attain perfection, along with the high expectations that I held for myself. Over the years, from my travels, speaking, and work, I have heard from so many others that face this same struggle at various times in their lives. I fought the lie of perfectionism for many years and until I came to the realization that I will always be a work in progress.
Q: Like many young girls and women, you struggled with feelings of unworthiness and perfection. How did/do you suggest girls/women deal with these feelings in a healthy way?
Let’s face it, beauty and vanity is everywhere. My struggles started when I was a young girl living in a small town outside of Chicago. No media influenced me, but my lack of nurturing triggered low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. My advice is to talk and share your heart with trusted friends. Get in a small group with authentic people that share your same faith, that will love and encourage you. Be mindful of social media and the downward spiral and false perceptions they can convey. Be aware social media is filtered, and often is an illusion.
Q: After high school you moved to LA to pursue a modeling/acting career and found yourself immersed in the fast life of compromising jobs, parties, drugs, and promiscuity. How did these choices heighten your feelings of emptiness?
After high school, I moved to San Diego with my father and brother. I immediately found a part time job and started modeling in San Diego while going to college. I was invited to a party in Los Angeles by an agent and that is where I met Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend and soon after we became roommates and rented a house together. I moved up to L.A. the day after I turned 20 with a $350 in my account and a dream in my heart. I was blindly swept up in the wrong crowd and I nearly died because of it. That lifestyle has a false illusion of perfection, happiness and acceptance. But as someone gets further involved in the drugs, partying, men, etc…, you discover it only covers up and intensifies the emptiness. In my book, I share my story about how low I felt until one day I cried out to God in my car while I was at a stoplight in Hollywood.
Q: You dated several celebrities and often found yourself torn between their worldly desires and trying to maintain personal integrity. What is your message to women feeling the pressure to compromise their values for acceptance or a relationship?
RUN!! Don’t give into the pressure to compromise your worth for a man or a career.
Q: Despite professional treatment to overcome your eating disorders, there were times you fell back into old patterns. What helped you break these unhealthy patterns?
During those times I tried to bring the darkness to light. My advice to others is don’t isolate yourself. Especially if you suffer from depression. I learned to confess my faults to my close friends and admit when I was struggling. I became my own advocate and turned my persistence to never giving up. Simplify your life. Journal. Sometimes you have to have a good cry. Make sure you treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. Focus on the things you love about your life, your body. Keep notes in a gratitude journal.
Q: After you married and started a family, old insecurities and eating disorders created chaos in your life and marriage. How did you confront these issues? Do you still struggle with these issues today?
I think one will always battle those insecurities but now I have a peace through it and reassurance I didn’t have when I was younger. I’ve been blessed with a husband that loves me despite all my flaws, and our three children, so I realize there is no place for self-hatred or negativity. Young children will mimic everything you do and say. In some aspects, they have been my biggest healers. I make sure I tell them no matter what you do, I love you no matter what and there is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you.
Q: You have starred in several feature films. Do you find acting and producing enjoyable or a challenge and how has this affected your self-esteem?
I love it. I find the older I get, the more I realize what really matters. Sure we all have days when we don’t feel so great about ourselves, but I remind myself this is NOT about me and my exterior.
Q: Do you have women you’d consider your “tribe”? How did/do you connect with other women in life- giving ways?
Yes and I love them!!! Many of them I met at church when I was a new mom, in a group called MOPS. I still have my childhood friends and friends all over the country that I keep in touch with also. We aren’t afraid to show our flaws, and talk, pray, cry, and laugh. Laughter is so healing, and life is hard. Almost all my girlfriends are going through their own storm, and we comfort each other. I try to be transparent on social media to other women I don’t know, because I want them to know they aren’t alone, and no matter who you are, NO one has it all together.
Q: How do you think that being in community attributes to your dealing with issues of perfection and unworthiness?
It allows you to just show up, to be authentic and just come as you are.