Leaving "The Real Housewives of Orange County" was one of the hardest decisions Lydia McLaughlin had to make. At the end of the day, the mother-of-three chose her family and faith over reality stardom.
FOX411 spoke with the 34-year-old about the difficult decision and how it led her to write a book in hopes of inspiring others to follow God.
FOX411: How did you find your faith?
Lydia McLaughlin: My family's super spiritual so we were always encouraged to ask questions about God, but I didn't grow up in a quote-on-quote typical Christian home. When I was in high school I became a Christian through a young life trip that I took and I was really involved in that growing up.
FOX411: What inspired you to write your book "Beyond Orange County: A Housewives Guide to Faith & Happiness?"
McLaughlin: I think because I was on the "Real Housewives of Orange County," I've experienced a lot, especially younger girls, will get nervous around me and maybe get teary eyed around me, which is a very bizarre feeling. So I just knew I wanted to take that platform, which is a kind of the fact that I've already won the right to be heard in their eyes and use that to send a positive message. So because I became a Christian in high school and my older mentor meant so much to me, I knew how much of a difference I could make to other people too. And so I wanted to tell people about my faith and how it's shaped me into who I am and how important that is. And so it was just a natural overflow of my heart.
FOX411: What do you hope people take away after reading your book?
McLaughlin: I would love them to just make their faith a reality in their lives and to be set free from the chains of this world. To know that scripture is alive and active and it can make a difference in their lives and it matters.
FOX411: You write about your decision to leave the "Real Housewives."
McLaughlin: It was a really hard decision and I compare it a lot of times to a boyfriend that you know you're not going to marry and so you know you need to break up with him and that's hard. And definitely there are days that I question it and may be sad about it, but I know it was the right decision for me and my family. There were a lot of red flags along the way that I received so at the end I did the chart of all the reasons why I wanted to do it, which were kind of worldly and selfish kind of things, and the all the reasons to leave were of kingdom value.
FOX411: Do you find it difficult to be in the spotlight and stay true to yourself and your values?
McLaughlin: Yeah, I mean I think I was set up to fail because people think if you're a Christian and you mess up that means you're a hypocrite. But I'm a Christian because I'm so messed up and that's why I believe in Jesus and so I think definitely it was hard and the show is based on drama and gossip and clothes and fashion. It's a lot of things that you're definitely told not to go after if you're a believer but I thought I could. It's naturally who I am, I'm an editor for a magazine so we deal with luxury things anyway, so it seemed like a perfect fit in my life to take on that role and to try and be a light using kind of the megaphone that I got.
Faith & Fame is a regular column exploring how a strong belief system helps some performers navigate the pitfalls of the entertainment industry.
Follow Sasha Bogursky on Twitter @SashaFB.