– by Joseph Jammer Medina



It’s now the modern day love story…..can a good girl fall in love with a man with a bad past?

In Reverence Gospel Media’s first nationwide indie faith-based film release, “I’m in Love with a Church Girl” is a romantic faith-based film about a former thug falling in love with a good Christian girl. The film is loosely based on the known music producer Galley Molina’s life.

The movie has a good cast with Ja Rule and Adrienne Bailon on the main roles. It also has Michael Madsen, Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore and T-Bone in supporting roles.

Here’s the synopsis:

Cars. Good looks. Mansions. Money. Women. Miles Montego has it all. Including a past. He was king of the streets as a high-level drug trafficker, and although he has tried to move on, the DEA isn’t convinced. Miles is still rolling with his old friends and colleagues, and the feds are certain he has not fully retired from his criminal past. When Miles meets Vanessa Leon, a woman who is different than every other woman he’s met, he is drawn to her beauty and her faith. She is a “church girl” in every sense of the word. Increasingly, he is torn between a life that he knows and a love that he feels. As Vanessa experiences his lavish lifestyle, mobster-type friends, gun play, and encounters with past women, Vanessa must reconcile her faith in God and her growing love for Miles. Both are tested to their last ounce of faith and strength in God and each other. God continues to chip away at Miles through struggles from his past, having to live up to his reputation, feelings of unworthiness, the death of his mother, federal charges, his friends being indicted, the strain on his relationship with Vanessa, almost losing her in a near-fatal car accident, and finally the spiritual breakdown that brings him on his knees to face God one-on-one.

Latino-Review had an exclusive one-on-one phone interview with the actress Adrienne Bailon. We discussed religion, difficulties of a faith-based movie and of course…..Ja Rule.

“I’m in Love with a Church Girl” is currently in theaters.

Check out the transcript of the full interview below or listen to the interview.

Latino-Review: What attracted you to this project?

Adrienne Bailon: I’m really a church girl. [Laughter] I think that drew me to the character Vanessa that I play. I was raised [in the church]. My mother is a Sunday school teacher. My dad is a worship leader. For me, this message really meant a lot for me. I was glad to be a part that was targeted for the mainstream audience with a great message about that your past is not a determinant of your future. There’s love, hope and faith.

Latino-Review: How did they approach you for this project? Did they have you in mind?

Adrienne Bailon: Yeah! The writer of this film and is actually based on Galley Molina’s life. He said from the moment they started casting I needed to get [somebody] to play Vanessa. He got in touch with my agent. I actually got on the phone with him. He was so passionate about the film and really felt that this was a role for me. I honestly and definitely thought that this is a project that it was an opportunity for me to give back after everything I’ve been blessed with and every opportunity I’ve been given. This is the teeniest bit that I could give back to God.

Latino-Review: Did you make any special preparations for your role then?

Adrienne Bailon: Yeah, I had to dye my hair black. [Laughter] What I love the most about the movie that it’s based on a true story. I think that it makes it so awesome that it’s someone’s real life and that there’s a real character I was playing. The original church girl’s name is Daniras. And she has black hair. So we had me dye my hair black. That was interesting. I was fighting—yet I did it.

Latino-Review: Since this is based on a true story, did you talk with the original girl and try to be more like her for the role?

Adrienne Bailon: Absolutely. The movie was filmed in San Jose where it was based. They were on set every single day. I constantly am hanging out with her, talking with her, and getting her vibe. We had a lot in common. It was just awesome to have her on set and actually know that I’m interpreting someone’s real life.

Latino-Review: So that wasn’t difficult at all for you, was it?

Adrienne Bailon: No. No.

Latino-Review: Could you talk about themes for this movie? This is sort of a faith-based film in which a lot of the mainstream audience would not get.

Adrienne Bailon: I disagree. It’s actually for everybody. It has a little something for everybody. That’s what so great about it. It’s a faith-based movie that had been done in a mainstream way. It’s not smacking you in the head with Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! It’s not at all what it is.

It talks in the sense of having a relationship with God as supposed to religion. I think it has a message no matter what the religion you are. It’s a message of faith, hope and love. Like I said, it’s that your past does not determine your future. You can turn your life around.

Latino-Review: So the message is about second chances and redemption, is that what you’re trying to imply?

Adrienne Bailon: Exactly. Exactly.

Latino-Review: How does faith apply to all of this?

Adrienne Bailon: By having faith, your life can turn around. I think especially in this movie. It goes with Miles, Ja Rule’s character, from being the biggest drug traffickers in the Bay Area to wanting to change his life around and not knowing if it’s even possible for him. Once you’re caught up in that lifestyle, a lot of people believe that certain things happen in your life and it would be impossible to turn it around to become the good guy. Once you gone left and it would be hard to go right.

It takes a lot of faith to believe that you can turn your life around. I think that’s how faith plays the part.

Latino-Review: Besides going to church, you being an actress for such a long time—do you relate with the movie and not get involve with the sins and craziness that Hollywood is all about?

Adrienne Bailon: I think I’ve definitely tried. No one is left without a sin. Everyone sin in their own different ways. Never judge one person’s sins to be greater and lesser than your own. One thing I’m so grateful for was my foundation in faith. It kept me away from a lot of things like drugs that I never had an interest. I always had my faith in God. My relationship with God helped me to get along not to get caught up in those things.

Latino-Review: How was it like acting opposite to Ja Rule?

Adrienne Bailon: It was so much fun. First of all the guy is incredibly talented. I’ve known Ja now for so many years. We already had a relationship that made it very comfortable for us to be on screen together. We had great chemistry and you can definitely see that on screen.

Latino-Review: What was the biggest challenge for you with this film?

Adrienne Bailon: The biggest challenge was the [releasing] of the film. We actually filmed the movie three years ago. Getting it off the ground was a passion project for all of us. I didn’t seem like it was going to do what we want for us—which is for it to go to the theaters. We didn’t want to do a faith DVD movie. We wanted it to be a movie that is faith based that is handled like a mainstream film. It was so great that Galley [Moline] and Israel [Houghton] stepped in. They obviously got it where it is today. I’m glad that we never gave up on the project. When I got the phone call that it’s going and to be in theaters nationwide—I was absolutely thrilled.

The hardest part was the waiting. It was definitely a movie that we believed in. We felt passionately about.

Latino-Review: That’s actually pretty good. We’ll see it in the theaters pretty soon. Now you’re also known for singing and dancing performances. You did nothing like that in this film.

Adrienne Bailon: That was important for me. This was about my acting chops. Showing everything I do in the acting world for me isn’t the goal. [Laughter]

Latino-Review: Well, with this [statement]—do you prefer to act in dramas or to go back to the singing and dancing like you used to?

Adrienne Bailon: I like them both. I love the opportunity I was given in this film to show my acting chops and play someone my age. [Laughter] I can relate to a lot of things that she went through in the film. I liked them both. I’m glad I got the opportunity to try something different.

Latino-Review: Would you try to do another Christian-based faith film again?

Adrienne Bailon: Absolutely…..absolutely.

Latino-Review: I appreciate you talking with me and good luck promoting the film.

Adrienne Bailon: Thank you so much and have a good one.

“I’m in Love with a Church Girl” is currently in theaters.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.