Opinion: I Left Hollywood to Find Peace, and Make Faith-Based Films

Gigi Erneta

Gigi Erneta  (Courtesy Gigi Erneta)

I remember someone once telling me that people who go to Hollywood to “make it” end up selling their souls to the devil. I didn’t believe it back then, but after spending so many years in show business I have to admit that I have a better understanding of that statement.  

Not that I ever actually saw Satan himself but I did have experiences with people who were surely pitching for his team. In at least 15 of my years acting in Hollywood, I can tell you I wasn’t super picky when it came to roles, which led me into too many B movies running from Zombies, vampires and whatever else was a hot seller at the time. 

Being in Hollywood at that point in my life was like being on a train inevitably heading into a train wreck, union strikes, runaway film productions (shows heading out of state to shoot), divorce and financial surprises, very similar to what investors are living through right now with stock market. 

All you can do is watch it happen.

In the middle of the insanity God showed his mercy on me and pulled me out of the wreckage. As I drew closer to God, my life went through a transformation and I was blessed to be able to find acting work outside of California. 

The films were fewer but there was a dramatic shift in not only the quality of projects but also the quality of what I was able to produce as an actress.  

Not many people around me knew what was I going through at the time, including director Ernesto Rivas, whom I now had on the other end of the phone. He spoke with a little trepidation in his voice: “I’m not sure this is your sort of project, but it’s a story about a priest and a nun.” 

The story comes from a book called “The Temptation of the Miracle Weaver” by Roberto Rosas. Rivas then inquired if I would be interested in playing the role of the religious sister. I told him about the changes in my life, and he explained that he’d been on a spiritual journey when this script came to him. 

At that point we knew this was a divine appointment.  Faith-based films and films with a good message are just hard to find, so to have one come to you is a miracle.

Rivas continued to tell me that after years of traveling and having great success in show business, he found himself living a fast-paced, tumultuous lifestyle and getting further and further away from his roots. Seeking peace, he decided to move back home in San Antonio. 

“It was Texas," he said, "where I came back to God.”

He attended a men’s retreat that proved to be a pivot point in his quest for peace. 

“It was [that] weekend I discovered what love was all about,” Rivas said, “and thus began my journey back to faith.” 

Then one day the blessing happened. Deacon Roberto Rosas approached him to direct “Temptation of the Miracle Weaver.” The story melds the romance of “Romeo and Juliet” with the trials and tribulations of the book of “Job.”  

He got financing through private investors and two years from the phone call we were on the set together shooting this beautiful film. 

Isn’t it interesting how both of us were at the same point in our careers when Ernesto called? Coincidence, or what I like to call a “God-incident?”

GiGi Erneta is an American actress of Argentine descent. She has a part in The Temptation of the Miracle Weaver.

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