Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Met My Shero: Angela Shelton!

5:45 p.m.

What a great motivational speaker... Angela Shelton is such a widely-known and accomplished survivor of abuse. I felt like such a groupie waiting my turn in line to meet her! :D I am so thankful that I had the opportunity...

If you ever hear me say, "I love you, Squish", just letting you know now that I got this phrase from her.

There are so many more things I could tell you about Angela, but I thought the biography from her website said it best!

Angela Shelton is an acclaimed model, actress, writer, comedian, public speaker, filmmaker, cook, and loud mouth.

Angela has broken the mold since the day she was born. She was given a 50/50 chance to live when she was born full term at a measly 4lbs 4oz. She survived the incubator to grow to a full five feet ten inches and she wears a size 10 shoe too.

Angela Shelton grew up in the South in a trailer with her mom and dad. Angela’s mother adamantly refused to work so she could stay at home with Angela for her first 3 years. Angela claims that this is the reason she is sane today. When Angela was 3 her father decided to leave her mother for her mother’s best friend. Angela went to live with her father and his new wife who has 2 kids because her dad and his new family were the “perfect American family” including a picket fence. Both sides of the family and even her mother’s attorney thought Angela was better off with her dad. He went to church and was so well liked, handsome, and charming. Angela was sexually and physically abused, along with her step-siblings, by her father for 5 years until being removed from the home by social services and placed into a foster home. The story of Angela’s childhood and her inspirational journey from victim to survivor is all in her book, Finding Angela Shelton.

Angela’s mother was awarded custody of Angela again when she was 8. Her mother built her a kitchen by remodeling half of the kitchen to make it the right size for a child. Thus began Angela’s love for hosting, cooking, and all things culinary, which she carried with her into adulthood and went on to create her uncensored online cooking show, Stirring Up Trouble. Angela’s mother got married again and they moved to South Carolina where Angela enrolled in a new school. Her mother encouraged Angela to express herself through writing and performing. Angela became a mime at the age of 8 at the local mall. Angela’s number one love was writing and she went on to win many writing awards.

Angela and her mother moved California after her mother left her fourth husband. The duo’s trip across the country turned into Angela’s first novel and first film - Tumbleweeds.

Angela started modeling at the age of 14 after her mother got her astrology chart done in California and it revealed that modeling would be lucrative. Angela’s mother got married for the fifth time and they all moved from Southern California to Los Angeles where Angela got her first modeling agent, Nina Blanchard. Her first modeling job was with Seventeen Magazine. Angela moved to New York City at the age of 17 and began a very successful career, working consistently with Bill Blass as well as major catalogs and runway. Angela moved to Paris when she was 19 and began writing the book about her life with her mother that would later turn into the film called Tumbleweeds.

Angela began acting professionally when she came back from Europe and booked the lead role in Gavin O’Connor’s first film, Comfortably Numb, when she was 21. She let Gavin read her book and he insisted that they make a movie about it.

After they finished Comfortably Numb, she and Gavin began writing the screenplay based on her life. Tumbleweeds won the 1999 Sundance filmmaker’s award and got the lead actress, Janet McTeer, a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination.

Angela began writing screenplays in Hollywood and received outstanding reviews for her adaptation of Kaye Gibbon’s novel, Charms for the Easy Life, a Showtime movie starring Gena Rowlands and Mimi Rogers. Angela then wrote two TV pilots and four more screenplays, one of which was a comedy called FAKE that she is directing.

In 2001, the Writer’s Strike became a threat. In order to prepare herself for a pending Writer’s Strike, Angela began a documentary called Searching for Angela Shelton. Her plan was to survey women in America and see how they were doing. Her broad questions were, “Who are you, where have you been, and where are you going?” As she began interviewing other Angela Sheltons nationwide, she was shocked when 70% of them shared intimate stories about being victims of rape, childhood sexual assault and/or domestic violence. When the filmmaker Angela Shelton met an Angela Shelton who was tracking sexual predators amd lived in the same town as the filmmaker Angela Shelton’s own pedophile father, the journey became very personal.

Angela Shelton was discovered by people all over the world as she began editting her movie and sharing bits of it with the world. People started spreading the message word-of-mouth and on the internet. Angela had a mailing list, a forum, a website, and a following before she was even done with her film. The producers of the Oprah Winfrey Show discovered Angela through comedian Jamie Kennedy’s connection as executive producerher and invited her on the show. After that 48 Hours Investigates did an hour special about Angela finishing her documentary.

Angela became a superhero for survivors when she finished her film and began showing it all over the world at her speaking engagements. Angela is so open and honest about her own past, her pathway to recovery, and the ups and downs of becoming a whole person that people are drawn to her. She began sharing more of herself and started The Survivor Manual to share healing techniques and ways out of the box of pain and suffering. Angela became an expert in trauma and recovery while traveling with her film and speaking to over 30,000 survivors. Angela has become a sought-after speaker and uses her humor and honesty to inspire and empower everyone to end violence and lead joyful lives.

Angela Shelton became a superhero for kids when she booked the role of Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side series created by Baby Einstein creator, Julie Clark, and America’s Most Wanted creator, John Walsh.
Her latest project, Stirring Up Trouble, is an uncensored online cooking show with a splash of comedy and a handful of reality. Angela is bold, brave, feisty, and funny as she teaches ways to save money, stretch meals, have better love lives, live green, and make the world a better place because you’re in it!

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