Full House Hit TV Show Star Candace Cameron Bure
From Full House to Full-Time Mom, Candace Cameron Bure Traded the Spotlight: Now She’s Back with a New Show and Magazine
Written by Kelli Gillespie
She won over the hearts of families as the loveable DJ Tanner on the late 80’s sitcom Full House, and now, twenty-five years later, Candace Cameron Bure is still winning over hearts…in a different role. She’s a wife, mom, and rock solid role model with an unwavering commitment to her faith. Risen talked with this cover girl about growing up in Hollywood, finding comfort in food, raising a family, and her return to TV in the hit show, Make It or Break It. She’s also launched an online magazine for women. Bure is embracing life as she expresses the strength and importance of her faith.
Interviewed Exclusively for Risen Magazine
Risen Magazine: Full House is still in syndication in more than 100 countries… when you think of DJ Tanner what usually comes to mind?
Candace Cameron Bure: I always go right to my hair and my clothes. You know curly scrunchy, big bangs and shoulder pads. It was fun, and it was the early 90’s… but recently I’ve seen a couple of blogs posted that were really cute and one them was “Every Lesson I Learned, I Learned from DJ Tanner.” And it’s interesting to read girls’ thoughts because when you’re growing up playing the character on television you don’t give much thought to it; it’s a job, and it’s fun, I loved going to work. But you don’t realize the influence and the impact that it has on people. It’s flattering and it’s a neat thing to go down in the history books with what people think of when they think of their childhood.
Risen Magazine: What does that feel like when you’ve been working hard and then you get the call that says not only that you got cast, but that they were willing to put the pilot on hold until you were ready to film Full House?
Candace Cameron Bure: It’s incredibly flattering and I don’t think you realize what a big deal that is when you’re only 10 years old. I certainly didn’t. I had already been acting for five years and for me, it was just something that was fun. I really liked it. There was never any pressure from my parents or anyone. There was always just this open dialogue at home with my mom where she said, “Anytime you don’t want to do this anymore, you just tell me and I’ll call the agent and we’ll quit, or you can stop.” When I booked Full House, it was one of those things where you get really excited because you know you did a great job and they want you for it, but you also don’t want to get too excited because it’s only a pilot and you don’t know if the network is even going to pick up the show. So you’re super super happy, but then mom and dad are right there to go, “But don’t–, it’s not going yet. Don’t get your hopes up too much.” Especially since my brother [Kirk Cameron] was on Growing Pains and it was successful. Can you imagine as a parent, your second child now books a television show, but what if that pilot doesn’t go? I’m sure it was this huge balancing act on my parents part that I had no idea about. Fortunately, I didn’t have to experience that since Full House was a big success.
Risen Magazine: Both you and your brother Kirk, have been very open about sharing your faith. Where does that confidence come from? Did you grow up with a solid Christian foundation or did you come to know the Lord later in life?
Candace Cameron Bure: We didn’t grow up in a Christian household, although my mom was a believer. My dad didn’t have much of any religious background and he didn’t want any religion brought into the home. We did start going to church when I was 12 years old. That was two years into the show [Full House]. My parents had separated and were thinking of divorcing and so a family friend had invited our family to go to church in hopes that maybe some counseling would help my parents work through their marriage, which it did. My mom was very happy that at this point in life we were going to church as a family. I say I became a believer at age 12 because I did say the sinners prayer and ask Jesus into my heart, but I didn’t start living my life for the Lord and making it a personal relationship and commitment between me and God until I was in my early twenties. While we did go to church as a family growing up it still wasn’t a theme or something that was taught much at home because my dad – even though he went to church many years growing up – was not a believer. My dad actually became a Christian about seven years ago. It took a lot of time for him to get there. I definitely had a foundation and good principles growing up and my parents raised us in a very moral home… being dedicated to hard work, being good people, and knowing the difference between right and wrong. But I would definitely say it wasn’t based upon biblical principles, even though those were biblical principles, just because my dad was very hesitant to put any religious perspective on it.
You can call yourself whatever you want. You can have a belief, or knowledge of it, but unless you’re actually moving forward in action it’s really just an idea.
Risen Magazine: You’ve always been a “good person” and a “role model” but that’s not what being a Christian is all about, tell me about the relationship side and the difference?
Candace Cameron Bure: With any religion that you are, or you grow up with, or your parents are, you can assume that as your identity, you can put that into a compartment of your life, you can use that as one of your labels as who you are… I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I’m a woman. I’m an Aunt. I’m a sister. I’m an actress. I’m a student. I’m a Christian. I’m a ______. It doesn’t mean anything unless you’re putting those words, or those labels, into action. You can call yourself whatever you want. You can have a belief, or knowledge of it, but unless you’re actually moving forward in action it’s really just an idea.
So I really took my faith personally and developed this relationship: Who is God to me? What did he do for me? And I had to understand who God is, not because I just went to church, or because my parents taught me this, I wanted to know what the Bible said. Then reading the Bible, things became more clearer because I saw it’s not just about being a good person, it’s about putting all of your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Having paid the penalty for all of our sin, that I am actually deserving of a life in Hell because I’m not good enough on my own. And none of us are. God gave us the gift of Christ, which is free to every single one of us. I had to realize that it wasn’t just about being a good person and my whole testimony in itself is based upon the fact that it took for me to see God’s law, by the Ten Commandments, and measure my own goodness by the standard of what God believes is good, to the world’s standards of goodness. While I realized for so many years that I’m a good person by the world’s standard, as I held myself up to God’s law, I realized I had broken all of his commandments and that I’m not a good person by his standard.
That’s when I genuinely realized and saw my need for Christ, for a Savior, for the payment for my own sin and that made me want to walk in a life that was pleasing to God. There are a lot of people that either have something so traumatic or significant in their life that happens, that you can run to God to fill that void or that trauma because you need the comfort, and then there is a huge group of people, and this is the category that I fall in, where I go, “I really didn’t have anything significant happen to me. I didn’t really see a need to have to run to God because my life was really good.” So I thought, “Hey I must be doing things great myself.” So it was understanding and recognizing that I am a sinful person by nature, and I had a light bulb moment of, “Oh now I see why I need Christ.”
Risen Magazine: There are so many pressures in life, even more in Hollywood where everyone thinks they are allowed a say in your life. You’ve talked about issues with bulimia. What do you want people to know when it comes to having a healthy body image?
Candace Cameron Bure: I didn’t really have a lot of pressure growing up in Hollywood. I had a very well-rounded home and parents looking after my best interest. If anyone gets or reads my book, “Reshaping it All,” the food issues for me didn’t start until after the show [Full House] when I was newly married and moved into a new part of my life. There was never any pressure to lose weight, or look a certain way while I was growing up on TV. And if there was, I was very sheltered and protected from it. My issues with food were really because I was trying to find my emotional comfort in food which turned into a dangerous and unhealthy relationship with food because it went into a binging-purging cycle in my life. It was never because I was trying to lose weight; I just didn’t want to gain weight. I was finding my comfort in food and it wasn’t until I realized through a series of prayers and conversations with my pastor, and people that had been through this, that I needed to turn to God for my comfort and not food, which seems like a very simple thing to say. But I think because food is something that we have to eat everyday to survive, it’s oftentimes a part of our life that we don’t think God really cares about. I just never thought about bridging the two together and thinking, “Oh God wants to be in this aspect of my life too.” God doesn’t love you any more or less, dependent on the number on the scale or what size you are; but as Christians, God calls us to be disciplined. And if that is an area in your life that isn’t disciplined, then it’s a sin; it was for me, the sin of gluttony. I had to look at it for what it was and then choose to honor God that way by making better choices for myself.
Risen Magazine: I think a lot of people are savvy that photos are airbrushed, movies are doctored and industries are perpetuating this standard of beauty that is false and created, but even knowing all that mentally, it still toys with many men and women on an emotional and maybe even subconscious level. As an actress, how protective are you of the image you project to others?
Candace Cameron Bure: Hollywood just pushes the envelope further and further with every year. When I have photos done I know that there will be some Photoshopping that will be going on, and that’s for everyone, just the re-touching. You smile so big you get lots of creases under your eyes – that’s always a little area, under my eyes, that I like to have re-touched. But I’m very particular in my photos in that I don’t like over re-touching. I do not like liquefying my body… that means you can actually take whatever part of the body you want or the whole thing and you can make it thinner, or wider. A lot of people thin their body down. I get chuckled at by photographers when I say, “Please don’t over Photoshop my photos.” Because not only do I think it’s unfair for the public, but I don’t want to look at the pictures in 10 years and go, “Wow I looked so good. This is so depressing how much I’ve aged.” When the reality is, I never looked like that in the first place. Mentally, I can’t handle being over Photoshopped and looking so great because I know it will just depress me in the years to come. That’s how I look at it. Listen, nobody takes a perfect picture. Everyone wants to put their best image forward, and I think that’s fair to do, but I personally do it at the most minimal percentage of re-touching that I can.
Also I’m very active on social media, my Twitter and Facebook, and I love connecting with people and fans, so I’ll post pictures all the time when I have no make-up on, or I’m hanging out with my kids, or I’ve just worked out. I hope people can gain a perspective; when I have a professional headshot or magazine layout, of course I’m going to look a little better than I normally do. But they can also see me in my daily life and I’m not ashamed of it in any way.
Risen Magazine: Full House also had a big impact not only on your career but personal life… your co-star Dave Coulier introduced you to your future husband, former hockey player Valeri Bure. What, if any, reservations did you have about marrying a pro-athlete?
Candace Cameron Bure: I didn’t have any reservations. I met him at 18 years old, was engaged at 19, and married at 20. There were no reservations; I was 18 and in love. I was kind of ahead of my time having lived such a lot of life, working and really had an adult mentality at a young age, as well as my husband did, and that is something that really connected the two of us. We got married a year after Full House had ended and I was really excited to just start a new season of my life.
Risen Magazine: Then you both decide to start a family and you put your career on hold and become a stay-at-home mom. What went into that decision-making process? Was it something that came naturally and was easy, or did you struggle with what your life would look like if you did remove the actress hat?
Candace Cameron Bure: It definitely wasn’t an easy decision for me and I did struggle with it. I wanted to be there as a mom for my kids, but because I’d been working since I was five years old, I didn’t know any other way of life. It was just part of me; it was who I was. Thinking of not acting anymore was a very difficult decision. It wasn’t so much that my identity was wrapped up in it, although that definitely played a large part, it really was like, “This is what I know, this is what I do well, this is what I enjoy doing.” But at the same time, my mom was a stay-at-home mom and raised us four kids, she eventually worked and opened her own agency, but that was as we got older. My mom was just always around. So that part wasn’t a difficult decision. I knew I wanted to be at home all the time and raise my kids. You can look through all the magazines and see the stories and you think, “Oh there are all these superwomen out there and they can do it all. They just do it all so well and perfectly.” So you think, “That’s what I’m going to do.” And that’s what I thought I would do. Then, I basically was just convicted and had a lot of discussions with my husband and said, “Yea, I can’t do this. I can’t do both. I need to choose and obviously I choose my children and to be home.” But it took about a year to two of mourning in a sense, even though I love my children, to just lay those dreams down. I always knew if that would be God’s plan for my life eventually, then he would open up those doors again. And if he didn’t, then he didn’t. I just knew as long as I sought God in my life that he would open and close the door that he wanted me to go through and that was a sense of comfort for me.
I just knew as long as I sought God in my life that He would open and close the door that He wanted me to go through and that was a sense of comfort for me.
Risen Magazine: When you look at that transition time, and then staying at home raising the family, what is something that you are appreciative of in the sense that you felt you would’ve missed out on had you not chosen to pause your career?
Candace Cameron Bure: I’m very thankful I was able to be a full-time mom. I wish though looking back that I would have enjoyed it a little bit more. I’m very happy to be a young mom, and that was a decision we wanted, to have kids right away, but now I wish I appreciated it a little bit more at the time. I realize how much I grew in those 10 years of not working at all. I grew so much in my faith and my relationship with the Lord. I can’t even imagine not having that time. Had I been focused on trying to juggle motherhood, work, travel, and my husband’s schedule all in that time, I would’ve never developed the relationship with God that I have now. That is really the most significant thing of me yielding to God’s ways and saying, “Yea it was tough, but I see what you [God] did in my life.” And then as a mom, I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on anything. Didn’t miss the first steps, and riding bikes, discoveries, I was there for all the stages that kids go through and I’m grateful.
Risen Magazine: I’m glad God opened the doors for you to come back to TV on the hit series Make It or Break It… your character is a mentor to the girls and a Christian. Was the character Summer, written this way, or did you get to infuse your personality on her?
Candace Cameron Bure: It’s interesting. The character wasn’t originally written that way. I had an initial meeting with the producers and team because they were really developing the character for me, but they had an idea of what they wanted. I had no clue until probably two weeks before I shot the pilot episode that they decided to make this character a Christian and put those types of values into the show through my character. It wasn’t anything that I asked for. It wasn’t a demand of mine by any means. So it was a pleasant surprise. The producers took a lot of aspects of my own personal life and my character and thought that would be interesting to write into the show.
Risen Magazine: TV and film are such powerful mediums to influence culture, how do you think it will impact young adults to see themes of purity and being equally-yoked in a relationship on a secular show?
Candace Cameron Bure: I think it’s a huge impact. I read lots of the comments [fans write about the show] and while there are a handful of teenagers that it completely annoys – which it just does, you’re never going to please everybody – I have also read and received so many emails of how happy and thankful people are for having a character that does have positive and good moral values that isn’t hypocritical in it as well. The reality is that we usually see shows that portray this double-standard like, “Hey we’re good, but behind your back we’re terrible people.” Hey they might mess up, they might make some dumb decisions along the way, but their heart, their integrity is there, and they really want to do the good and right thing. I think it’s great when secular shows include that, because it doesn’t exclude any audience. Having a total Christian show, you’re going to exclude some people that say, “I’m just not a Christian and I’m just not interested in watching it.” When you’re able to have that on a secular show, showing lots of different world views, including a very real and truthful Christian view, it just makes me so excited.
Risen Magazine: You have some upcoming film projects as well. Tell me about Puppy Love set to air this September, on The Hallmark Channel.
Candace Cameron Bure: This is cute romantic comedy. It’s puppy love in both senses of the phrase. It’s about a dog, and some puppy love between my character and this really handsome guy that owns the dog. I have a 12-year-old daughter in the film and it’s really about relationships. We end up getting this dog from the shelter, but realize this cute baseball player really owns the dog and it was taken to the shelter by mistake. So then it turns into this fight for the dog. It’s just a good wholesome family movie.
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Exclusive interview originally published in Risen Magazine, Summer 2012