Chéri Ballinger: Lighting the Way to Christ

We recently had the honor to meet Chéri Ballinger, an accomplished Hollywood actress, model and movie producer. As you will find below, Chéri’s fire for Jesus and positive outlook on life is simply undeniable and contagious. Her Catholic roots took hold during a personal tragedy, allowing her to persevere and overcome during an unexpected storm. She has not only overcome but has taken her faith to new heights as she encourages many around the globe to BE THE LIGHT of Christ! She is indeed a bright light in this world, leading the way to Jesus. Off we go…

Bros:  Chéri, we are blessed to have this opportunity to interview you and hear about your story.  Thank you so much for spending time with us. 

Chéri: Thank you so much guys! Truly, the blessing and pleasure is all mine!

Bros:  To kick us off – tell us about your family upbringing, how and when did your Catholic roots take hold?    

Chéri:  Well I’m blessed to say that I was raised Roman Catholic and grew up with a very traditional French Catholic background. My mom is from a large Catholic family with many priests, nuns, and religious in our lineage. It was very normal for me to be surrounded by tons of uncles, aunts and cousins and a priest cousin who married and baptized everyone! Regular Sunday gatherings were like a party and it was just my family! My French lineage is extremely devout and the more I learn, the more I’m really humbled and in awe of God’s plan. I have very fond memories of praying the rosary as a family, my mom praying with us on our way to school and other Catholic devotions that for me was just completely normal every day life. My dad was raised non practicing Protestant and is a very honorable man. He later converted to Catholicism but before that officially happened, he was always with us in Mass every Sunday and always completely supportive of us all going to Catholic school and being raised in the Faith. It was like he was always Catholic haha. My parents have six children—five boys and one girl. I’m the lucky girl haha!

Bros:  In 2014, you experienced a traumatic brain injury, spiraling your life into 4 years of recovery.  As you think about your life before and after your TBI, how did this life altering accident impact your spiritual journey and faith in God? 

Chéri: It was definitely life altering. When I reflect on my life before my TBI, I cannot help but praise God for the foundation He gave me with the tools to deal with the hardships that go hand in hand with life. My Catholic Faith has always been my rock. When I was recovering from my TBI, I went through the natural stages of grief and loss while having to learn how to walk and talk again amongst everything else—wondering what I had done to deserve this and why did this happen to me and why did I lose everything?? I completely lost everything. My entire life just stopped. It was so beyond awful. I’d be lying if I said I was always my super positive self but despite my anger, frustration, and sadness, I always had the reminder in my mind of what I knew our Blessed Mother did for me—she spared my life. I fell on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th of 2014. I prayed several rosaries that day in honor of her feast which I had a great devotion to, given my French roots. I didn’t know why she spared my life but I knew she did. My Faith sustained me through all those horrific years and now I know why I had to endure it all. Without my Catholic Faith, there is absolutely no way I would be here. I have so much compassion for people who go through what I did and don’t have the Faith. It’s so essential to be able to get through the inevitable tough times.

Bros: In your role as executive producer of the 2019 movie Roe vs. Wade, what was your inspiration to get involved in this project and, what important lessons did you learn from the movie?    

Chéri: When you’ve been given a second chance at life, the last thing you want to do is go back into Hollywood haha! Having been a professional model and actress for many years, I did not have it on my radar at all. But, God had other plans and when the opportunity was presented to me, I felt like God wanted me to. He gave me a second chance at life and I knew that I wanted to do as much good as possible! I was just restarting my life at that time and I figured it would just be a one time producer experience given the topic. It was a scary, uncertain time for me. However, the opposite happened! I quickly learned that when you go all-in for doing great things that embody the true, the good, and the beautiful, God will make the way and take care of you! Fast forward to now, I honestly cannot believe that I am a major movie producer and I know without a doubt that it’s my destiny. This all came from the pure intentions I had with coming on board as one of the executive producers of “Roe v Wade”.

“My Faith sustained me through all those horrific years and now I know why I had to endure it all. Without my Catholic Faith, there is absolutely no way I would be here.”

Bros:  From a project perspective, what are you currently working on and what is next on the horizon for Chéri Ballinger?  Will you continue to produce faith-based Catholic Christian content?  

Chéri: It’s such an exciting time to be alive! I’m working on several major projects right now (please pray for me!) and I feel so blessed to be working alongside incredible people who also want to bring beautiful content to the world. It’s so needed! In addition to “faith based” content, I am also more focused on bringing back mainstream films that normalize faith and values and that portray compelling storytelling. Beautiful stories that will inspire and enlighten everyone, everywhere…I cannot make any announcements right now but definitely watch this space…

Bros:  We will indeed pray for your upcoming projects! It takes a level of courage to be an outspoken Catholic in your industry.  You certainly have a unique perspective being a faithful Catholic in Hollywood.  What is one thing that Hollywood may not know and appreciate about the Catholic faith, and conversely, what is one thing that Catholic’s may not know about Hollywood? 

Chéri: Thank you…I don’t necessarily think of myself as courageous but I am indeed very passionate about life and I feel such a fire within me. I really think there are sooooo many misconceptions about Catholicism in our society today. What people think is Catholic isn’t actually Catholic and vice versa. I grew up watching classic films and I’m well versed with “Old Hollywood”. Many young people don’t realize that the very best films, the very best stories, have strong Catholic roots! So I’d say that people in Hollywood nowadays have forgotten that or just never knew this truth and then Catholics outside Hollywood are in the same boat! Catholicism embodies true art and true beauty. We need to remind and teach people this! I can give you guys a list of some great films…maybe that’s another interview? Haha

Bros:  In closing, we love your motto “Be The Light”.  The world is certainly full of faithful people who “are the light” and have attained peace through Jesus Christ.  But sadly, the light is growing dim for many.  What is your advice to those who are experiencing despair and have no sense of hope?

Chéri: It is my great desire to bring people hope because I’m seeing so much despair and it genuinely affects me. My heart goes out to all who are suffering. I’ve been there. I know how it feels. I remember feeling absolutely hopeless and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But I want to remind people that even if you don’t see or feel it, the Light is ALWAYS there! We all have a purpose and beautiful mission from God—He has a special plan for each one of us. Plans that are far better than what we even want for ourselves! I’m living proof! I’m blessed to speak around the world now and share my story because I want you all to hang in there like I did. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. I’m SO happy that I didn’t give up and give in to my despair no matter how badly I wanted to. Every day of life is a beautiful gift! Never ever give up! Be the Light for others…you never know how you affect people around you so never stop sharing His Light.

Chéri Ballinger got her start in film while being discovered as a young girl and placed in the iconic 1998 remake of the Walt Disney classic “The Parent Trap”. She has worked in film steadily ever since.  With her passion for her second chance at life after suffering from a severe TBI that stopped everything and resulted in 4+ years of recovery, she is now back to work in the industry as a film producer. Chéri is also heavily focused on her international philanthropy efforts as well as being on the forefront of revolutionary medical technology. Not one to stifle her entrepreneurial spirit, she is at the helm of several conscious business startups to keep an eye out for (stay tuned!)…A coveted international speaker, she is the official US Ambassador for the Women’s Brain Project based in Switzerland and the US Ambassador for the Same You Foundation established by actress Emilia Clarke in the UK. She enjoys speaking everywhere around the world- from Harvard University, to business, charity, youth, and women’s groups around the globe , to the podium where Winston Churchill gave his 1946 speech in Zurich, Switzerland- so that all people can be reminded that every day of life is a beautiful gift and we have the ability to overcome all the odds against us–Her story is proof of just this! She reminds people that miracles happen every day!  Chéri has vowed to use her background, Faith, and personal comeback story to bring people hope and to inspire positive change through business and the beautiful medium of film. She is one of the executive producers of the recently released feature film “Roe v Wade” starring Jon Voight which has enjoyed tremendous press and critical acclaim, after which she quickly became known for her unique and fresh approach to bringing projects to life.  Chéri is currently working on several upcoming high profile productions with the desire to have her name and talent associated with films that reflect her passion for life and storytelling. A highly sought after motivational speaker, she continues to delight and inspire audiences, giving her so much joy and fulfillment. Her motto: “Be the Light”.


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