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Bethany joy lenz

Bethany Bethany Joy Joy Lenz Lenz

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Bethany Joy Lenz

The world of creativity has always called out to Bethany Joy Lenz. From stage productions of Peter Rabbit as a child to television screens all around the world in One Tree Hill, Bethany Joy Lenz shines bright in whatever she does. She is a revered actress, accomplished musician, impressive entrepreneur, artist, activist, podcaster, blogger, and more. In a word, Bethany Joy Lenz is a star.

“I grew up in Texas and New Jersey” Lenz says of her childhood. “My parents had different jobs and so we bounced around a lot.” Undoubtedly, constantly moving around could prove challenging and troublesome for many people, but for Lenz, all of the moving was actually pivotal to her development as a creative. “I think it really made me adaptable and made me a better storyteller,” Lenz reflects. “I got a chance to interact with lots of different people and lots of different places. I learned a lot from moving around so much.”

One particular matter that Lenz learned about while moving had nothing to do with the world around her, but rather, it had to do with herself and her future. “My dream job growing up was to be the Queen of England,” Lenz shares. “I didn’t realize at 5 that wasn’t really a possibility for an American, ha!” From there, after her royal dreams subsided, Lenz found her true dream: acting. “I discovered acting and kind of never ever wanted to do anything else besides that,” Lenz says. “In high school I thought, ‘maybe I should have a backup plan.’ I thought about maybe being a criminal defense attorney, I thought about being a psychologist, I thought about being a detective, but I really, really love telling stories and being able to wear lots of different hats. Acting was something that I’ve been drawn to since I was a kid.”

Indeed, even as a child, Bethany Joy Lenz shined in the acting world. From her earliest instances of being on stage, her star power is evident, even when portraying Penelope Peters in a performance of Peter Rabbit. “I remember all the bunnies were supposed to hop off stage, and as I was hopping off, I decided to grab a cabbage out of the garden that was set up on stage,” Lenz explains. “I got a big laugh from the audience, and I remember feeling like that was so exciting to have the freedom to just explore and play and be in the moment in a way that I felt like maybe I couldn’t really be in my real life.” This sensation, coupled with her family’s support after getting in trouble with the production’s director for improvising, further ignited Lenz’s passion for acting. “My parents had enough sense to tell me ‘not everybody in every town understands what real art is, even though they are in the arts,’” Lenz shares. “Because my grandparents were both in musical theatre, my parents knew enough to tell me I 100% did the right thing and to never second-guess your instincts on stage. And I never really did after that, and it made a big difference.”

Lenz had certainly found her passion, leaving her with just one thing missing: the sign to take this passion for acting and pursue it. “I think the moment that I realized I really could pursue acting was when I saw The Secret Garden on Broadway,” Lenz says. “Then I saw Daisy Eagan win a Tony for The Secret Garden and it really changed the course of my perception that I could actually be a professional actor. It

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wasn’t just a hobby, I could really do that as a living.” Fittingly, in a full-circle moment years later, Lenz got the opportunity to meet the very person that showed her that she could be an actress herself. At a screen test for a pilot in LA, Lenz and Eagan met. “She was lovely,” Lenz says. “We ended up hanging out together during the trip. It was pretty cool.”

The pilot screen test that united Lenz and Eagan was one of the many pilot auditions that Lenz went out for at the start of her career. “My first visit to LA I was 12 and came out with the Dallas TV and Film School to audition for pilots,” Lenz says. “They went really well.” Flash forward to a few years later, when a 17 year old Lenz was portraying the teenage clone of Reva Shayne on Guiding Light. “Getting to be on Guiding Light was a huge deal for me at the time,” Lenz recalls. “I was 17 and suddenly in magazines, it was a really big deal. It was an incredible experience to be in New York on my own. Learning about being on a set and learning about how cameras worked and how sound worked was a total crash course. I learned a lot about the industry and myself while working on Guiding Light. That was my college.”

The expertise and knowledge that Lenz acquired during her time on Guiding Light would prove invaluable, especially as she embarked on her next project, portraying Haley James Scott on the iconic show One Tree Hill. “It was amazing,” Lenz says of starring in One Tree Hill. “It was once in a lifetime. Most actors never get the opportunity to be on a show that runs that long.” One Tree Hill also gave Lenz the opportunity to try her hand at directing for the first time. “Directing felt freeing in a new way,” Lenz explains. “It felt like I could access a part of my creativity that I hadn’t been able to access before. I found out that I was really good at it and that I am a natural leader. When I’m given the role of leadership, I take it and I take to it really well. I also found that my musical sensibilities helped me move with the camera and find shots that maybe were not instinctual to directors without a musical instinct.”

More recently, Bethany Joy Lenz can be seen in the films Blindfire and Five Star Christmas. Lenz portrays Jan Bishop in Blindfire, a movie that touches on vital topics such as racial tension and identity. “To me, any story that wants to encourage people to look at each other from a place of humility, and a willingness to grow and change, and a willingness to forgive, that’s a story worth telling,” Lenz shares. “I think that was the aim of Blindfire, and I’ve talked with a lot of people who’ve seen it, and it seems that topic has hit home for a lot of people. I’m grateful to have been a part of that.” Lenz also stars in the hit Hallmark film Five

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Star Christmas. “We really had a great cast,” Lenz says of the movie. “It was a lot of fun. The movie performed outstandingly well and I’m so grateful that Hallmark let us do a big ensemble comedy because it was their first one and I’m proud to have been the on-camera helm of that.”

On TV screens, Lenz has leant her talents to a wide variety of popular shows varying in genre and tone, thereby demonstrating her versatility as an actress. In Pearson, the spin-off of Suits, Lenz starred as Keri Allen in all ten episodes of the series. “I loved Keri Allen and I wish that I would have been able to play her for longer,” Lenz reflects. “I really wish we’d been able to continue that show because it was honestly the best working experience I’d had up until that point. It was just so collaborative and professional.” As for guest appearances, Lenz has appeared on hit shows like Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Colony, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Working on each show is definitely flex to creative muscle for me,” Lenz says. “Each of those experiences were unique.”

In addition to being a star on screen, Lenz is also a star in the world of music. She is a skilled singer and songwriter who has released music that has been well-received by both fans and the charts, gone on tour, released a Christmas album, and more. “Singing is just something that is natural to me,” Lenz shares. “It’s a comfort, it’s like a friend when I’m lonely.” The acts of songwriting and performing are also something that Lenz enjoys. “Songwriting and creating something out of nothing is an exciting thing,” Lenz shares. “And performing as well, just being able to interact with an audience and sharing your story being able to move people, or be a conduit to people being moved in their hearts, it’s a humbling and thrilling thing.”

Lenz’s creative prowess as a musician also includes her aptitude for writing musicals, namely her musical about Pocahontas that she completed during quarantine. “During lockdown, I finished my musical which is based on the tribal history of Pocahontas,” Lenz explains. “There’s a book called The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History by Angela L. Daniel and Dr. Linwood Custalow that is a really powerful retelling of the oral history of the true story of Pocahontas that’s been passed down through her tribe for 400 years. So it’s very different than what’s in our English history books. It’s a story that is in dire need of retelling because we seriously need to adjust our treatment of and perspective of the Indigenous community that was here before we were. I feel really passionate about using art as a tool to do that. I’ve been writing this play for about four years, and we finally have it scheduled to workshop very soon.” Reflecting on her incredible career thus far, Bethany Joy Lenz’s perspectives as an actress and as a person are profound and mature. “What’s been great about getting older and having been in this business for so long is recognizing that the breaks don’t mean that you’re going to be happy,” Lenz says of getting “big breaks” in the industry. “If you reach the next level, it doesn’t guarantee happiness, it just means you reached another level. There’s always more to look forward to, but you have to really be content with who you are and with your life outside of whether you’re getting these career breaks or not. When I get really honest with myself, I feel so, so, so incredibly blessed and lucky to be where I am. And I hope that tomorrow holds more adventures and more opportunities to share my heart and my perspective with the world. So I continue to try and make myself a better person so that my perspective is on a balanced, humble, intelligent, thoughtful, intentional level. I do take my position seriously as an artist, and I’m just really grateful to be here.”

Looking forward, there are exciting things on the horizon for Lenz. “There’s new music coming,” she shares. “I promise I’m working on it. I’m just trying to pick a genre.” Additionally, fans can listen to the Drama Queens Podcast, an iHeartRadio podcast hosted by Lenz and her One Tree Hill co-stars Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush. The trio discusses all things One Tree Hill— from the audition process to set-life and beyond — and the podcast is available on all platforms.

Bethany Joy Lenz is a versatile, talented, and famed creative. Her aptitude on camera and off, artistry as a musician, and care as a storyteller all demonstrate the wisdom she has for her craft. “I love the fact that I’m able to tell a story that might affect somebody’s life in a positive way,” Lenz says. “Whether it’s One Tree Hill, whether it’s an indie movie, whether it’s music, or whether it’s Hallmark, wherever I’m being welcomed in as a storyteller, I am so happy to be able to have that freedom to not just express myself, but to mirror something of the human condition that I hope inspires or motivates a viewer in some way. I think that’s what all storytellers hope for. The world needs art.”

Photographer: Heather Koepp Stylist: Joanne Black Hair: Marc Mena

MUA: Sarah Sullivan

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