Gigi's Search for Peace
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
CBN.com - “I remember sitting there, and the curtain opened and I realized at that moment, this was IT for me. This is where I was supposed to be,” Gigi Erneta said.
Gigi Erneta was born in New York and began her professional performing career at the age of 8. When her parents moved to Houston, she joined the Houston ballet company, and was chosen for a lead child role in the Nutcracker.
“I got my first dancing contract when I was 14,” Gigi said. “I auditioned for my first commercial when I was 15. I did it in English and Spanish for McDonalds, and that is how it all started.”
Gigi continued her acting and dance until the end of high school. She received numerous awards and received a scholarship to the University of Texas Drama Department. During her time in college, Gigi worked in radio and married. As her career developed, she felt it was time to move to Hollywood.
“I realized that Hollywood was really hard,” Gigi said. “And people kept saying, ‘you know, you can do that and it won’t hurt your career. It’s work. And, I started to take jobs that I shouldn’t have been taking. They were late night, and they were these really racy movies that you know, they’re not pornography, but they are really pushing the threshold. I did zombie films. I did vampire films.”
Soon, Gigi was known for her extensive work in horror films, and was quickly labeled a “scream queen.”
“I think the darkness that I was experiencing on set started to manifest itself in my life, Gigi said. “People were dying in these movies; there was a lot of blood and guts. It was all darkness.”
In 2007, while Gigi’s career as a scream queen was flourishing, at home, her marriage fell apart.
“My life got really out of control,” Gigi said. “And in my divorce, it blew up and I needed help after my divorce. I was raised Catholic. I understood the priest doing communion, But I didn’t understand who Christ was. I used to say to people, ‘You know, I keep calling God…but He’s giving me the busy signal. I knew that there was something missing between me and God.”
“I had people coming into my life,” Gigi said. “I had a casting director coming into my life and I had another girl come into my life, and tell me, ‘You know, you really ought to read the Bible. Where are you with God?’”
During this time, a friend offered Gigi a place to stay while she got back on her feet. One night she tried reading the Bible.
“All throughout all of this, I was crying out to the Lord,” Gigi said. “I said, this isn’t making any sense. I don’t understand what you are doing here. At that point, was my complete resignation. I said I can’t do this anymore, this is it. And, I kept crying and crying in the middle of the night.”
That same night, Gigi noticed a noise in the bedroom. The next morning she asked her friend to come to her room and listen for the noise.
“It sounded like a gargling noise,” Gigi said. “And she sat down and said, ‘Gosh- it sounds like the inside of a whale.’”
Gigi called her Christian friend and told her about the noises.
“She said, ‘Read Jonah and call me back.’”
Gigi opened to the book of Jonah, which told of a man who had disobeyed God and been swallowed into the belly of a whale for three days.
“Every single word came out and just jumped right into my heart,” Gigi said. “It was like I knew the answer was right in front of me,” Gigi said. “I realized after that, reading the Bible and understanding that Christ died for my sins so that I could be here, my whole life, it just changed. BAM! I really didn’t understand what was happening, but I was ready for Christ. After that, it was like, the busy signal went away and the connection was direct!”
Gigi had some hard decisions to make about her career. Several months later, she left her horror roles and moved back to Texas.
“When I left California, I immediately got into a Bible based church and started spend lots of time with the Lord and it was amazing,” Gigi said. And I realized, it wasn’t just my work that had to change, but the way I lived had to change. Right away, I started getting blessed with work that was quality work. Things I wouldn’t audition for. They would just come to me.”
Gigi co- stars with co-stars William Devane and John Schneider in her most recent film “Flag of My Father”. The faith-based film tackles the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers. It was recently awarded “Best Narrative Feature” at the GI Film Festival.
“I was actually in the theatre with soldiers and I heard them crying. And some of them were weeping. And I realized that the healing was happening, Gigi said. “I realized my whole life that I was supposed to be doing this. I always wanted people to know a deeper feeling inside, a deeper emotion, a deeper understanding. Now, I’m reaching out with love. And that’s only going to come through Christ.”
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