Why I ‘Cherish’ Debbie Sherman’s Work in South Africa On and Off the Screen

Debbie Sherman teaches me what to truly ‘Cherish’ in life!

Before beginning her career in entertainment Debbie Sherman was as a volunteer in orphanages providing love, gifts, and food for orphaned children, many of whom were infected with AIDS. One of the many organizations she volunteers at is called Cherish, which supports and educates young mothers and pregnant teens.

Now married with two young daughters, and the owner of CrossFit Firestone gym in Brea, CA, Debbie Sherman tells me what it means to ‘Cherish’ all the blessings of hers which include starring in three high-profile films set for release in 2017.

What made you decide to pursue being an actress?

I have pretty much been performing since I was a little girl. I used to make my family sit around and watch me sing and dance or act out my favorite movie at the time. The Wizard of Oz was my go to film to perform. I always played Dorothy and made my sister and cousins be the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow.

Bless my sweet family for always humoring me and watching every performance I dared to put on! I used to have a mini speaker and microphone and stand at the top of the stairs in my childhood home singing songs that I made up. I had the best audience of two: my mom and dad, of course. They sure knew how to make the applause of two sound like that of 50.

I guess that positive reinforcement really allowed me to fearlessly fling myself into this business, which at times can be very scary. I took drama in high school and loved taking on multi-faceted characters, as I enjoyed the depth and strengths of many of the women I got to portray. After high school, I spent a few years in a girl duo group as a singer and had the best time. Last year, when the opportunity to play Lauren in The Vault came, I jumped at it.

Then two more roles in two separate films came, making 2016 such an awesome year for me. I can only hope that 2017 has even more in store. I am so looking forward to the debut of the films I shot last year and for the films, I am slated to shoot this year.

You are starring in three upcoming films all debuting in 2017. What does that feel like?

It feels like and is such a blessing! I thank God every day for the opportunity to have been in each film. I am beyond excited for all of them to debut! I guess everyone has a dream when they are a child; mine was to be an actress. To have had the opportunity to get my foot in the door in the world of Hollywood this year is a dream come true.

In the film The Vault you play Lauren. Can you tell me more about your role in the movie and what the film is about?

The Vault was my first role, and I play the character ‘Lauren’ in the film. I was beyond excited to land this job! The Vault stars James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood, Scott Haze and Jeff Gum. It’s about two estranged sisters are forced to rob a bank in order to save their brother, but it’s no ordinary bank. Dan Bush and Conal Byrne wrote the film and Dan Bush directed.

The Forgiven is set in post-Apartheid South Africa. Did you really get to shoot in Africa? If so, do you have any good stories you can share from your time there?

The Forgiven was shot in Cape Town, South Africa. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit this remarkable country. The beaches are picturesque, as are the views from the top of Cable Mountain. You can see the entire city of Cape Town from the top of this mountain and it is a sight that cannot be missed. And let’s not forget about the truly hospitable and welcoming people in this fine city. The locals could not have been nicer!

While in South Africa I visited Boulder Beach located in Simon Town, just an hour or so outside of Cape Town. This is no ordinary beach; this beach has penguins that inhabit it. Penguins! I never knew that there were penguins that lived in warm weather. It was quite a sight to see hundreds of penguins frolicking in the sand and diving in the warm South African ocean water. But, the real highlight of my trip to Cape Town was visiting the most beautiful children at the Siyaphambili Orphanage.

This orphanage is located in Skomline Kwa Langa, just a little outside the city of Cape Town. We were able to bring the children lunch on two separate occasions and give each child a Christmas gift (as we were in Cape Town during the month of December). Their favorite part of our visit was learning how to play duck, duck, goose. They could have played it all day. It warms my heart just thinking about it. These children may not have moms or dads, but they have my heart forever.
You can learn more or donate by going here.

As a mother of two young girls, how do you inspire them and what inspires you to be the best you can be for them?

I love being a mom! It is the most rewarding, at times challenging, beautiful, most joyous job in the world. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My goal as a mom is to teach my daughters that they are worthy. That they are worthy of love, respect, and happiness. My husband and I strive to teach our girls that kindness and compassion for others are qualities that we all must strive to possess.

Ask either of my girls what our number one rule is and they will respond with, “be kind.” So, to answer your question, how do I inspire my girls? Well, I strive to inspire them to be kind in all that they do. At their young ages, they watch and imitate everything that I do. So I am inspired every day to be a better person because I know they are watching.

I know that every move I make will have a direct impact on how they act and behave. Their trust in me and imitation of all that I do challenges me to be the best me I can be.

You’re the owner of CrossFit Firestone gym. What made you want to own your own business? What’s the best thing about owning a gym?

My husband and I love our gym, CrossFit Firestone! We have such an amazing group of members who couldn’t be more supportive of each other and the gym. The members are by far the best and most rewarding part of owning a gym, along with our fantastic and truly talented staff. John (my awesome husband) and I, along with our partner, BJ Seeley, decided to open CrossFit Firestone because we weren’t satisfied with the gyms in our area.

John and I often wanted to work out together, but we had different exercise interests so we would have to go to different gyms. John loved Crossfit and I was more of a spin, yoga, pilates type girl. So, we decided to blend everything into one gym. Voila, CrossFit Firestone was born. Our gym is comprised of 6 different areas of fitness: CrossFit, bootcamp, yoga, pilates, cycle and barre.

I personally like to switch up my workouts like I switch up my outfits, so the gym we created really works perfectly for me. One day I might be doing pilates, while the next day I am getting my sweat on in a CrossFit workout. That’s really the beauty of the gym: it’s your choice. You can choose to do the same type of work out every day or you can switch it up. Our facility is brand new and includes a kids club, athletic store, and juice bar… it’s a one-stop shop.

If you want to check it out, you can visit us here: www.crossfitfirestone.com.

You mentioned earlier that you started in the entertainment business as a singer. What kind of singing were you doing and why did you move away from singing and into acting?

Life is all about timing. I have always had an interest in singing, dancing, and acting. An opportunity in singing just happened to present itself first. I was in a girl duo and we sang a mix of pop type music and lyrical ballads. It was such a fun time in my life and I enjoyed every moment of it!

I took a break to have my two girls and when my youngest turned two last year I had the opportunity to get back into acting, this time in a film. I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back. I have my sights set on acting and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me and my career.

You spent years volunteering with an organization called Cherish, which supports and educates young mothers and pregnant teens. Why are you so passionate about this charity and cause?

I believe education is the key to change. Cherish provides education on parenting, life skills, self-worth, God’s love for each of us, budgeting and healthy relationships. Many of these young women are alone, have no parental or spousal support, have dropped out of college and have no jobs. Cherish provides them with items for their children, education in specific areas and most importantly, hope. I loved being involved in this organization and seeing the change in the girls from their first meeting to their sixth.

Rachel Tucker is the founder and director and man, does she have such a gift for this ministry. She loves and respects each of these girls and they hold her in such high regard. Through Rachel’s leadership, over 600 young moms and children have received love and care since the founding of this organization in 2011. I was blessed to be able to share my talents and gifts at Cherish. These children and teen moms have been given self-worth and hope through this organization’s unconditional love and support of its members. You can learn more here.

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