“Lights, camera, action.”

Ever since I was three years old, and watched the classic show “Sesame Street”- I always wanted to move to Los Angeles, and be an actress. It was when I got a little older (6 years) that I realized I loved modeling just as much as performing. I had been with the same agency in Portland, Oregon for about 8 years, and despite going through my adolescent awkward phase I still booked jobs. I loved performing for the camera- the lights, the camera, the action. It felt like where I was meant to be. My biggest modeling job came when I was on a billboard on the major 1-5 freeway running through Portland, OR. It was when I was in 8th grade (14) that I was cast as the girl who went on a a bad date who listened to a good song to get over it. It was the first time I was being marketed as older than I was, and I didn’t mind. I wanted to look beautiful and sexy. Why not?

Here I’m 14 years old and in 8th grade- (Sorry this is a printed picture, hence the scratches).

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A fun newspaper ad I did when I was 6 years old for the Washington Square mall in Portland, Oregon.

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But I was ready for the big time, and wanted to make it in Hollywood.

I moved to LA halfway through high school, which came as a complete culture shock that I wasn’t entirely ready for. Switching to a different High School halfway through is already a big deal for any person, let alone moving to a new state and moving from a small town to a beach community with the LA pressure. Let’s just say, that there were definitely popular “mean girls” at my high school and they made sure I knew I wasn’t welcome. I would get called rude names walking down the hallway, I purposely couldn’t sit at certain tables that were designated for the cool kids, and got made fun of because I didn’t have a car- when most of the students around me drove Cadillac Escalades and BMWs. Because of my newfound experiences at this school, I could not wait to leave and graduate! However, I met my soon to be close friend Christina in drama class (Still best friends to this day, 15 years later!) and she would be my true friend, and ultimately later, be the one who re-introduces me to God.

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When I was 18, I signed with an agency and my agent told me that I would be best suited for lingerie work, and so that’s what I did- because a.) it seemed glamorous, and from a young age I did look up to the Victoria’s Secret models b.) I needed to make a living, and c.) I wasn’t a believer yet, so I thought there’s no harm. In 2006, I worked so hard to be on the cover of Maxim magazine that was having a contest, and I submitted my “best” lingerie photos to them, I made a video, I even had all my “friends” on myspace vote for me. I ended up being 1 of 10 girls picked and I was in the magazine. That day I thought it would be a dream come true- when in reality it was anything but. The photographer told me to pose more seductively, stick my chest out, and I felt very degraded and humiliated on set. I could not wait to leave.

A couple months later, another one of my life-altering moments came when I worked on the Victoria’s Secret Christmas commercial as a body double, (which was a dream come true) and when I was on set that day- the photographer’s assistant was showing me how he was retouching the model’s neck, thighs, and removing her very famous freckles. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in the same room with women I looked up to my whole life, and they were stunning in person- but their photos were being so digitally altered it made me feel like I needed to tell all the girls who look at the catalogue like I did what I was seeing!

Here I am with supermodel Gisele Bundchen (who was really kind to me, and told me a secret- that all the Victoria’s Secret models wear hair extensions for shoots!)

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Through my modeling jobs, I started developing anxiety- and each time a camera was focused on me, I didn’t feel skinny enough, pretty enough, or completely ready to be scrutinized by the people who make it all “happen.” I tried to hide it and and forget about my problems, by going to the hottest clubs, partying and drinking with celebrities, yet I still felt lost. I needed God badly in my life.

Then, when I thought things couldn’t get any worse- I became spiritually attacked. I moved into a house on Laurel Canyon, that was owned by a Hollywood horror-movie producer, and because I wasn’t a believer, I thought it was no big deal. I just liked that it was close to Sunset Boulevard and that I was near my “hollywood” friends. However, as soon as I moved into the house, demonic oppression set in. The air in the house was heavy- I felt like something was attacking me. I felt a real spirit of fear very different than I had ever felt before- like something evil was watching me. It was my first encounter with spiritual oppression. I knew I needed to get out of that house.

I moved to Tucson, Arizona for a year and a half with my family to try and refocus my life, and because I was traumatized by the horror house incident. Yet I still hadn’t given my life to God.  It was in Arizona that I turned to every self-help book available: The Law of Attraction, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, all the Anthony Robbins books – but nothing helped me.

My family and I moved back to Los Angeles, and I was excited at a new chance at life. And then the year 2009 happened- which was the worst year of my life. I had depression, and I had thoughts of suicide. I couldn’t figure out if God would forgive me if I killed myself. I even tried googling it, but the answers weren’t there either. I had once felt so full of promise, so alive. I had so many hopes and dreams of a wonderful future. However, through that hard season of my life- I was so fortunate to have a friend who was a believer. Christina would come over to my house and tell me, “Nicole maybe you are going through all of this so that one day you can help young women. Maybe you can be an example to them and share your story, your struggle with depression. I believe Jesus Christ can heal you, because nothing is impossible with God.”

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Christina and her friend waged war with the devil in their prayers. And he fought back hard for my life. Possession is very real.  One day it happened to me. I don’t want to go into too many details to scare you, but hell is a very, very real place. I went to hell one day- I saw demonic faces, I saw all ages of people- I heard screaming, and it’s literal fire. I saw all my sins come at me at once, like I was dying and I needed to ask God for forgiveness but it was too late. God showed me that this is what happens when you die and you’re not saved- you see all your sins from when you’re young, (I can’t remember what age) you plead to God, but it’s too late. If you have Jesus, you do not need to be afraid. The key God showed me is to make sure you have accepted Jesus, have been forgiven of your sins, (ask God for forgiveness daily, because you never know when it will be your last day on earth. The Bible says, “Our days are as fleeting as a shadow.”) and watch your actions- to others, animals, and everyone. You see the repercussions that it makes when you die. That is why God gave me that experience- to warn people. I share more of what happened to me and details in my book “Into the Light.”

After that experience, I knew Heaven and hell were very real places, and I sure didn’t want to go back down to where I just was. I started praying, reading the Bible, and I gave my life to Jesus. I really came to God as a child, and asked Him to take over my life and to give me a fresh start. My favorite book was (and still is one of them) The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. God started showing me “God incidences” that He was listening to my prayers and watching me. One such incident happened one day while I was at school and I was having trouble with one of my teachers, and God told me to look at the tag in my jeans. It said, “God loves you.”

 

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It was a physical sign that God wanted me to see. Over the next year, I had many more God incidences, but I will share them later.

I made the decision to accept Jesus in June of 2010. It’s interesting how God’s timing works, because only 3 months after that, I met my future husband to-be Eric. I was swept off my feet, and Eric is the kindest, most thoughtful, most loving husband a girl could ever ask for. We got married on 11/11/11, and we just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary on November 11th!

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And then in 2013, our beautiful son Elijah came. He is now three and a half years old! He is so intelligent, he loves to sing, read books, communicate, (He knows so many words, he surprises us all sometimes!) he loves to be tickled and snuggled, and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful son!

Here he is today:

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Looking back, I can see God at work in my life even when I didn’t see Him there. He knew that everything I went through- all of the dark, painful experiences and spiritual attacks- I would then become a voice for His kingdom and use my story to inspire others.

God listened to my prayers. His power helped deliver me through the depression I was in. God hears your prayers you are asking. He knows what’s best for you. He has your eternal future in mind! God can make ANYTHING happen– He did with me. He will do it for you. I just hope through my story-and through God’s Will- that I can inspire you to give your life to Jesus, because He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

I love meeting people and sharing my story of how God saved me:

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If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and want one- it will be the best decision of your life, and for eternity! It doesn’t have to be complicated or hard- it simply takes a willing heart. All you have to do, is simply ask Jesus into your heart by saying a simple prayer that goes,

“Dear Jesus, I want to invite you into my heart. I recognize that I am a sinner, and I need your Holy grace to save me. I believe you died on the cross for my sins, and that you rose on the third day so we can have eternal life with you in Heaven. I want to live a life that honors you. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Inspiring young women is one of my greatest callings- and I couldn’t be happier about it. My ministry is called Project Inspired, and I started it 6 years ago in 2011. (Wow time flies!) I can’t begin to tell you the amount of joy it brings to my heart when one young person tells me they decide to follow God because of my story. Project Inspired is a worldwide community of faithful young women talking about life challenges, dating, friendships, and so much more. You can check it out here or you can Like us Facebook to see new articles daily!

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This is my favorite scripture:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; seek His will in all that you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6