"There was a situation I faced, where the designer's line was very revealing..."
Tiffany Brevard knows there are all sorts of ways to get a message out- through social media, door-to-door campaigns, even music. So when this model/actress turned singer/songwriter got the chance to write a song that would help a cause very dear to her heart, she chose to use her talent as a platform to bring awareness to a pressing issue that is often overlooked. We caught up with Tiffany to find out more about her career, and how we as Christian performers can use our gifts to shape the world.
You walked the runway this year for OC Fashion Week in Los Angeles. On a scale of one to crazy, how much fun was that?
It was super fun! What I love about OC Fashion Week is you can make so many connections. The networking is amazing. A lot of the designers that I walked for have asked me to be a model for their photo shoots, and they’ve connected me with producers who helped record some of my music. Building my portfolio is always an extra bonus. This was my third time doing the event and it was great seeing other AMTC grads there. I’ve noticed a lot of designers I’ve worked for are Christians, which can be rare in this industry. One in particular, Cece Leyton, who designs resort wear, has such a beautiful heart. She loves the Lord, and has become a mentor of mine. I definitely believe you need a team when you are in the entertainment industry; people who are your brothers and sisters in Christ, to walk through it with you. OC Fashion Week was a great experience and I’m very grateful to have participated in it.
You wrote and performed the song, Take Me Home, which is part of a social action campaign for animal rescue. What inspired you and your songwriting process for this project?
I grew up around horses and I’ve always heard about the horrors of horse consumption, nationally and internationally. The amount of horses that are slaughtered, it just breaks my heart. I was interning with For Good Entertainment (they’ve worked with the great Diane Warren, who recently wrote Lady Gaga’s Till It Happens to You, about domestic abuse) and they wanted to put together music videos for a social action campaign. I spoke up and said, “I love music, and I do write.” They asked, “Would you like to write a song for the campaign?” And I said, “Okay!” I went home that day, and it’s crazy, but the words just came to me, melody and all. I went back the next day with what I had composed and said, “Can you give this a listen?” I sang and played the song on my guitar. They really liked it, so I went home and that same night I wrote the rest of the song. It was completed within two days. But you know, it wasn’t crazy at all. I keep going back to the Lord, because there’s no doubt that he gave me those words. There are stories to tell, and that’s one way He’s using me.
How important is this cause to you, and what can we do to help support animal adoption?
What’s cool about this campaign is we partnered with The American Humane Society, Homes for Horses and ASPCA; they’re all devoted to animal rescue. Take Me Home was published on ITunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Apple music, and a percentage of the income generated is being donated to Homes for Horses, and hopefully The American Humane Society. In terms of making a change, anyone can show their support by going on the websites for The American Humane Society or Homes for Horses and donating. Another way you can help is by doing your own research, looking up facts about the urgent issues currently happening with animal cruelty. In my music video, we include some of those statistics. For example, there are over 100,000 American horses that are bound for the slaughter each year. Whether they are retired race horses or horses sold at auctions, people are buying them and shipping them off to the slaughter house for human consumption. It’s really heartbreaking. Horses are so smart, they’re beautiful creatures, and they’re great for healing purposes. I used to ride a lot, so that’s why I connect so much with this campaign.
Tell us about the child empowerment campaign and your experience overall working as an ambassador with the For Good team on CNN.
My role on the For Good team is helping on the creative side, which includes producing content, developing marketing strategies, and helping with the music. For Good produced a profound documentary called Mully. It’s about a man from Kenya, Charles Mully, who finds orphans and brings them in off the street. He has a foundation where he gives them an education, besides offering the basics like food and clothing. He adopts them as his own children. He’s an incredible man. He was an orphan himself when he was young, proving that when you go through something, no matter how difficult, you can use it for good. What we’re doing now is expanding this campaign to be here nationally. We’re still working out the details, but we’re creating this ripple effect called the Mully Effect, which supports ending poverty for children here in the United States, and globally as well. It’s about giving all children an opportunity for education and empowerment. We’re trying to get big celebrities in the music and opera fields (Leona Lewis, Alicia Keys) to come on board. We did recently appear on CNN, where we shared a little about Mully and the programs he’s put together. It was amazing we were given that opportunity. CNN has this on-going segment, CNN Heroes, and we’re pushing for Charles Mully to be featured. I’ve also been working on Harry and Snowman, which is what the animal rescue campaign was built around; it’s a documentary about a horse that was at an auction being sent to a slaughter house until a man named Harry buys him for eight dollars.
You interned as a VJ on JUCE TV Network for TBN, and currently anchor for University of Southern California’s See It Live. How does hosting compare with acting and modeling? Is it more challenging?
Hosting on-camera uses the combined skills of being able to ad-lib and interview others. There is a great deal of freedom in that. However, when certain jobs require the use of a teleprompter, which is fast-paced, there’s not as much of that freedom. It’s fun though! With hosting, you’re actually talking to someone about a real issue or topic, but with acting, you’re playing a character. The preparation is just a little different. You have to get into the moment. You have to know exactly what you’re saying and understand what all the words mean. In preparation, I go over my lines over and over as a monologue to myself, not even putting all the emotion into it. But then once I’m performing the scene in front of the camera, I believe what I say, and there’s a beautiful power when people believe in what they’re saying, too.
You’ve modeled frequently for Abercrombie & Fitch as well as multiple designers in LA. Is this a dream come true?
Oh yeah! For Abercrombie, I have worked as a promotional model. If they have store openings or big promotions going on, for instance, myself and another model greet the customers. I’ve also done fit modeling and hope to do more print modeling. What’s so crazy is I’m not 5’9”, I’m 5’7”. As you know, that’s not the norm for fashion, but still that door has opened! I’ve walked for LA Fashion Week and was asked to walk for Metropolitan Fashion Week!
It’s a miracle that someone who is 5’7” would get these opportunities, so I always encourage people to go for things that you really want to do even though there might be obstacles in your way. Don’t limit yourself because you’re thinking, Oh well, I’m too short, they’re going to say no. I always go for it, because you never know. Take the leap of faith.
Is following Jesus hard in this industry?
No. You know why? I’m in a lot of secular environments when I’m working in The Industry. I’m around people swearing and doing all sorts of worldly things. That’s pretty common. But because of my mission, what I know I’m called to do, I continue to be myself, fulfill my purpose, and stay grounded. I want to be a role model. I want to exude the light of Christ always. Thankfully, I have a strong support team. I take my mom pretty much everywhere. Sometimes people say to me, “Why do you bring your mom with you to your auditions?” I bring her with me because she’s got lots of wisdom. Even my manager says, “It’s good that you have a support team.”
You have to to stay grounded. I can’t stress that enough. You need to remember Who you’re serving. It can be easy to say, “Oh, well if I do this, my career will be launched faster.” Especially in modeling. You wear what the designer tells you to wear. You don’t usually go in there and tell them, “I don’t like this. I’m uncomfortable with wearing this.” There was a situation I faced recently, where the designer’s line was very revealing. I pulled them aside and respectfully explained, “I love your line, I think it’s beautiful and you’re so talented, but because I have a certain image that I want to keep, would it be possible to put me in something that covers a little more?” They listened. It’s all about being respectful. People will understand. Those moments and tough decisions when you stay your ground are perfect ways of showing who Christ is. As weird as it may sound, those moments may be more of a blessing, as they provide other people to witness the love of Christ and what Christianity is. I think a lot of people, all they see on the media is, Christians hate everybody, God hates everyone, you know? It’s not that way at all. Sometimes just your presence - being nice, respectful, loving and welcoming to all people - shows that there are Christians out there who are living how God has called us to be.
How did SHINE prepare you to be a part of this industry?
SHINE has been amazing. I graduated Summer of 2014 and I remember preparing for SHINE and working with John Montes, Ben Davies, and all of the other coaches. It was an incredible experience. I felt so prepared and loved while I was doing the program. I met so many wonderful people that I am still in contact with; it’s definitely a family. You are there with other people who have the same mission as you, and you get to share that with them.