A story worth living
Catholic actress Karyme Lozano shares the gifts and challenges of living as a woman of faith in the entertainment industry
At an early age, Mexican actress, writer, producer, and director Karyme Lozano discovered the gifts that would propel her vocation. With only a nominally Catholic upbringing, it was perhaps not surprising that when fame and fortune came knocking, Lozano enthusiastically walked through the open door to what she imagined would be a dream life. That choice did offer fame and fortune, but also years of seeking the truth. It wasn’t until a pivotal moment involving a family health crisis that Lozano rediscovered and embraced the Church and experienced a profound reversion. Dedicated pro-life advocates and parents of a teenage daughter, Karyme and her husband Michael opened their hearts and home to begin serving as foster parents and recently celebrated the adoption of their first son, Mateo.
Now, as a noted industry professional who has rediscovered the gift of her faith and passed it along to her family, Lozano daily walks the challenging balance between her profession and her life as a committed Catholic.
Q: What drew you to the field of acting, and how did you get your first big break?
A: Since I was little, I loved the arts. When I graduated from high school, I planned to study psychology, but a friend suggested auditioning for Televisa, one of the most important acting schools in Mexico. So, I did, and I nailed it! And oh, I fell in love with the career! I started little by little auditioning, doing small roles. My first big break came when I auditioned for and earned my first lead role on the telenovela Tres Mujeres (Three Women), which featured three women of different generations. The show was a huge success and opened doors for so many other projects.
Q: Let’s talk about faith for a minute. Did you grow up in a home with a strong faith upbringing?
A: No. My parents were Catholic. I was baptized Catholic, but we didn’t go to Mass. We weren’t practicing Catholics at all.
Q: You’ve mentioned that you dabbled in the practice of other spiritualities in the past. Why do you think this happens so frequently with folks in the entertainment industry?
A: Sadly, I see that sometimes with people in the business, we are too into ourselves. It’s a hard business. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think a lot of us come from broken homes or we fall into addictions or other troubles. We’re often seeking something to heal the brokenness in our lives.
I always wanted to grow, and I was seeking God — sometimes in the wrong places, but I was seeking. I think God allowed me to be everywhere so that now I can value from my core my true faith, how beautiful it is. So now, regardless of scandals or problems in the Church, I am strong in my faith, through the grace of God obviously, because he allowed me to see that, wow, my faith is beautiful. It’s complete. It’s whole. Maybe that’s why God allowed me to experience other religions.
Q: Would you share a bit about how your father’s death led you back into the true practice of your Catholic faith?
A: From tragedy, God always brings grace, amazing gifts even from the depths of such sadness. My relationship with my father wasn’t very strong. When he got sick with cancer, his illness somehow brought us together. God gave me those last two weeks of his life to be with him, to make up for all of the moments we had missed. Those last two weeks were a gift from God, a time to forgive and to love.
When my father passed away, I came back to the faith. Things that I hadn’t understood before or that I had ridiculed — abstinence, for example — became clear to me. I think God opened my ears and my eyes and my heart. Through my father’s illness, there was some purification that occurred. I believe that, in those final weeks, my father encountered Jesus. I believe that my father interceded somehow on my behalf, asking God to care for me. Somehow, I do think he asked Jesus, “Please take care of my daughter.”
Q: How did this reversion cause you to become so committed to the pro-life cause, both as a sidewalk counselor and as a speaker?
A: I was already pro-life before by instinct, but I never saw life with the same conviction that I saw it in those moments. I had a firmer stand. I realized that God’s timing is perfect, even though we don’t see it as human beings, because our minds are so limited.
I’m just an instrument of God’s love. When I came back to the faith, I became involved in the sidewalk counseling movement. I was able to help some women who recognized me through my acting roles and who made decisions to choose life for their babies. We have some power as artists. Some women recognized me, and because of that they listened. This is a gift. Now, often my role is as a spokeswoman, speaking or giving secular interviews from a pro-life perspective about the beauty and dignity of every life.
Q: You had already been quite active and successful in your career before your father’s death. When you had this spiritual awakening, how did it impact your work, both on the type of roles you pursued and on your work as an artist?
A: I’m not going to lie. At times, it has been really hard. It’s been beautiful, but hard. I love my career. It’s my passion, the talent that God gave me. But I don’t work as much now, because I’m more selective about my roles, which sometimes limits my opportunities.
I miss working as much as I used to work, but now I am creating my own projects. I wrote and produced a short film, The True Meaning of Love, which went to four film festivals. It’s a pro-life project from a secular perspective that I was inspired to create while praying in front of the tabernacle. Now I’m writing and trying to create and secure investors for new projects. I’m praying, “God, I’m trying everything. I’m not giving up! I’m writing and knocking on doors, but you need to open those doors.” God is my everything: my manager, my best friend, my producer, my everything. I always have God’s support.
I’m pushed at this point in my career to create my own projects both because of the types of roles I choose to accept and also because God is pushing me to grow as an artist.
Q: You have been named one of People magazine’s “50 Mas Bellas” (50 Most Beautiful) three times. How does being a woman of faith make you more beautiful?
A: Thanks to my faith, I’m more beautiful on the inside. That reflects outside, because it’s the love of God. It’s not me — it’s his faith, his love. If you see good in me, it’s God! We become instruments of the love of God, and that reflects. Even though we aren’t perfect, and we may become angry or sad at times, the light of Jesus Christ in our hearts will be reflected in our external beauty. Others see a glow in me, but what they really see is Jesus Christ reflected in me.
Q: You and your husband have recently begun foster parenting and recently foster-adopted your first son, Mateo. How is Mateo’s adoption and your relationship with your daughter an answer to prayer?
A: It’s a huge blessing. Angela graduated from high school and is now in college. She is a great child, a good girl. We had tried for many years to have more children and weren’t able to. We were seeking a way to adopt but it wasn’t happening, and then God put it into our hearts to become foster parents. Suddenly, we had the opportunity to bring baby Mateo into our home. He is a precious child with a beautiful personality. He is always smiling. … He’s pure love!
Q: As you move forward in your career and in your family life, what do you hope for, and how do you want to encourage others?
A: I think big! My dream-come-true would be to be cast regularly in popular family movies with great messages. I’ve always wanted to keep growing spiritually, as a wife and mother and in my career. I would love to be able to be on the big screen, but that desire is not in an egocentric way now. It’s because I know that I have a beautiful message to share with people. The more people know me, the more they will listen. I’m not the perfect example, but with God by my side I could be a good example for more young people. I see my daughter, a beautiful girl with a strong, faithful heart, and I know that it’s the presence of God in our lives that makes her that way. I’d love to share that with other young men and women.
I used to care about winning an Oscar. Now, I care about winning the hearts of people through God’s love. That’s my Oscar! If I can touch people’s hearts through my art, I think that’s the best way to serve God and others. The power of film, the power of the pen, can be used for bad or for good. We have to stay in the battle and trust that God will open the doors he wants us to walk through.
When we close ourselves off because of fears or because of what others think, we stop growing. That’s the enemy! When we put all those fears aside and allow God’s blessings to pour through our lives in our careers, as parents, as whatever we are in life, we keep growing. God wants us to grow. His love is abundance and light. We must let that light and love permeate us and fill the world around us. Nobody is perfect, and being a person of faith is not easy. We are not expected to be perfect! I’ve realized, in my brokenness, that where Jesus loves us the most is in our brokenness because that’s when we need him the most. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, keep trying every day, and know that God is with you always.
The ‘beauty’ that saves
My hope for all of you who are artists is that you will have an especially intense experience of creative inspiration. May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude. …
Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like St. Augustine could express in incomparable terms: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!”
Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.
May you be guided and inspired by the mystery of the Risen Christ, whom the Church in these days contemplates with joy. (Excerpt from Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, 16)