Faith is a big deal for our latest Femme on Fire Adrienne Bailon, so when she was approached by writer Galley Molina to be a part of the film I’m in Love with a Church Girl, based on his life story of trading in the life of a gangster for a life of worship, she jumped at the chance to play the role of the woman who changed his life forever. Known for her early music career on the Disney Channel and her talk show on BET, The Real, Bailon has a big year ahead of her.
Playboy.com: Tell me a little bit about what drew you to I’m in Love with a Church Girl.
Adrienne Bailon: It’s based on a true story and I think that really drew me in. I spoke to Galley Molina, the writer of the film—the movie is based on his life story. Just talking to him and seeing how passionate he was about this project was so contagious. He actually reached out to me because I was who he had envisioned to play the role of Vanessa, the church girl, because he had heard in one of my interviews at some point that I was raised in the church. My mother was a Sunday school teacher, my dad was a worship leader, so I actually really am a “church girl!” [laughs] My religious background plays a huge part in the foundation of who I am, so I was able to relate to the character in that way. And of course I loved the storyline. It’s a great love story, not only in the relationship between a man and a woman but also between a character and God. I thought that was pretty awesome.
Playboy.com: Not a lot of actors get the chance to interact so closely with the people that actually lived the story when they’re working on a nonfiction film. I heard that Vanessa and Galley were often on set.
Bailon: Vee and I found ourselves talking like two women. I love that women can always find something that they can bond over, and we just had real-life conversations about relationships and love and how difficult it was for her. It was really eye-opening. I could relate to her because we were raised so similarly. She happened to fall in love with a man who didn’t enjoy going to church and didn’t feel that he was worth even walking into one. It was just great seeing them interact with each other, too. It really brought it all to life and made it all very real to us as to what we were actually putting out.
Playboy.com: I was also surprised to hear that this film was made three years ago!
Bailon: Yeah, it was a passion project for me. It was something that I really believed in. I loved that this movie wasn’t so much about religion but about a relationship with God and how with that, somebody would be able to turn their lives around. God can use somebody like a woman for you to fall in love with to completely change your life. And knowing that this is a real-life story, that this really happened…it’s just so moving. It sends such a strong message. I really applaud Galley and Israel Houghton for holding out and not just selling us out to DVD, you know? They knew that it wasn’t just a faith-based movie but that it was something that could compete with the mainstream market and I really applaud them for holding it to that standard and holding out until they got that opportunity. We got the opportunity to premiere in theaters and I think that was a really big deal for us.
Playboy.com: What was working with Ja Rule like?
Bailon: So much fun! I’ve actually known Ja for years and I think that really helped for the chemistry on camera. We actually have a very brother/sister relationship and that made it comfortable for us to do scenes together. We were able to be comfortable and playful with one another.
Playboy.com: You’re also quite the singer. Do you have any upcoming music projects?
Bailon: I do! I’m working on a solo album. Now with The Real coming back, my talk show on Fox, I think it’s a great way to help share my music and what I’m really about. For a really long time it was difficult because [the music I was making] wasn’t always music I wanted to do, which was something more adult. Naturally, people viewed me as a younger person because of my work with Disney’s The Cheetah Girls. But I actually turned 30 this year! Being on an older platform that allows me to be myself is definitely going to be really helpful to make sense of my music. Now that I’m viewed as a grown woman I can put out the music that makes sense for me. I’m very excited about it. We’ll definitely have something out there by summer.
Playboy.com: I was so happy to hear that your talk show was picked up. What can we look forward to?
Bailon: I think we’re going to pick up where we left off. It’s so exciting. The girls and I have incredible chemistry, we have so much fun together, which is something you just can’t manufacture. I think that’s what people love most about it, that it’s real, pun intended. The fact that we are almost too honest for our own good makes for a great show. We don’t always agree but we respect each other’s opinions and I think that’s what keeps it interesting. You’ll definitely learn more about us. Even in the short time that we’ve been off-air, so much has happened. I turned 30 years old.… I’m moving to L.A. to film the show, which is going to be a huge change, so you can look forward to the girls attempting to teach me how to drive! So it should be interesting and lots more laughs.
What’s your favorite food: Pizza. It’s so bad, I can never say no to pizza!
What’s your favorite drink: I am a vodka tonic girl! That or wine, I really do love a glass of Malbec.
What’s your most embarrassing moment? Wardrobe malfunctions are always so embarrassing, so I’ll go with that.
What’s the worst pickup line you’ve ever heard? “Your father must be a terrorist because girl, you’re the bomb!” Yeah, that’s pretty awful.
I’m In Love With A Church Girl is now out on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital.