Candace Cameron Bure: Redefining Work/Life Balance
These days television viewers are often finding a familiar face from the past, that of “D.J. Tanner.” Candace Cameron Bure is best-known for playing beloved oldest sister on the iconic family sitcom “Full House,” from the time she was 10 years old up until she was 18. Although Bure is no stranger to acting or made-for-TV movies, her starring role in Finding Normal presented a new and welcome challenge for the veteran actress.
Bure portrays big-city surgeon Dr. Lisa Leland, whose personality is in direct conflict with the sunny, carefree characters to which she normally gravitates. “I haven’t really played that dismissive kind of woman before… I definitely put in my prep work before this movie… because I really wanted everyone to be able to see the difference and the transformation she’s going through,” Bure shares of her role as the driven, self-focused character. “I created a backstory for her and why she is the way she is and what drives her and why certain things are important to her.”
Up to the Challenge
Bure says she had to intentionally change her demeanor on camera in order to bring Lisa to life. “I’m a very fun-loving, happy person by nature… That’s me as Candace… So, to not have some of those things come out – to not be able to use my smile, not be able to be as caring and kind – those are things I had to be very aware of and really had to mark out in the script as to when I could reveal some of those things,” she says. “That was a different process for me. It was really fun.”
Long Days Filming in a Small Town. Go Behind the Scenes
Finding Normal was also physically demanding as the entire film was shot in just 12 days, over two intense six-day weeks. The movie was filmed on location in Columbia, La., a town whose population barely exceeds 300 people. Ironically, when Bure was first driven into the small town by a local working with the movie’s production team, she was surprised by the tiny downtown that appeared out of a movie set itself. “I was a little bit like my character in that way where I was like, ‘Wow, I’m a city girl, and I’m definitely in the country right now,’” she laughs.
The self-described “city girl” lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 17 years, NHL star Valeri Bure, whom she met through her “Full House” co-star Dave Coulier (“Joey Gladstone”). Together, Candace and Val have three children – Natasha, Lev and Maksim. She considers being a wife and mother her most important roles to date and took a 10-year hiatus from acting when her children were born.
Today, although busy with a variety of projects, she prefers shooting on location when she’s working on a film. “It’s actually very difficult to work a full 14-hour day, and then you come home, and I still have another hour of memorization to do for the following day’s work,” she explains. “But you come home, and the kids are like, ‘Can you help me with homework? What’s for dinner?’ When I go on location, it’s a little bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for the kids.” The distance creates a clear boundary line between the personal and the professional, allowing Bure to focus on her work when she’s away and focus on her kids when she’s home. However, she’s quick to admit the lines naturally blur and, like any mother, her mind is never far from her family, even when she’s on set. “I’m a mom; I can never turn it off. I’m still juggling things. I’m still sending emails to my husband: Remember he’s got this half-day; he’s got sports practice after [school],” she offers. “It doesn’t stop. It never stops.”
Candace’s Home, Sweet Home
When she is at home, although she can’t entirely cease working, her attention shifts to her children. While every day is different for the working mother of three – who not only is an acclaimed actress, but is also a motivational speaker and a New York Times best-selling author – Bure says a typical day at home includes hitting the gym or going for a run; spending time studying her Bible; doing phone interviews; attending meetings and auditions; catching up on email and working on her website, where she blogs frequently with advice, encouragement, family photos and fashion tips. But after 3 p.m. she goes into full mom-mode. “I really become a taxi driver in the afternoon, running the kids to hockey or tennis or tutoring,” she admits.
The day of the interview, in fact, Bure had been to her kids’ school twice that morning – once to drop them off, and once to drop off her daughter’s forgotten lunch. In contrast, that evening, she and her husband were attending a high-profile charity event. Bure claims it’s a balancing act she’s still trying to perfect. “I’m not superwoman – I stopped trying to be a long time ago,” she confesses. “You have to break it down, and depending on what your life is like, everyone’s breakdown will be different. It’s planning within a year’s timeframe, and then [down] to that month, and then that week, and then that day… just about constantly re-prioritizing and shifting what needs to be done.”
The wife and mother admits it isn’t easy and she doesn’t always get it right. “You do the best you can do, and I think it’s just important that at the end of the day you know that your priorities are in order,” she continues. “For me, I will always put God at the head of that, and then it’s my family, and then it’s my work and my social life and all those fun things. They need to be attended to, but not necessarily everything is attended to on a daily basis, except maybe those top three things, like God and my family and my marriage.”
Bure contends her women’s Bible study and prayer group keep her priorities in check. She and Val also provide accountability for one another. Moreover, she has a specific prayer partner she exchanges prayers with each week over email. “It’s been an amazing tool to see God work in both of our lives,” Bure shares.
The actress relays the lessons she’s learned about balance and prioritizing family, faith and career in her new book, Balancing It All (B&H), releasing January 2014.
In the meantime, she’s looking forward to the premiere of Finding Normal and hopes the message resonates with viewers, as she, personally, is a big proponent of inspirational, faith-based entertainment, as an actress, a Christian and a mom. “What I love about gmc TV is it’s all family-friendly and uplifting, and that’s really why I choose to do these movies, because that’s important to me as a mom and a woman whose family and faith are important,” she says. “I make these movies for the people to watch as much as I make them for myself because it’s what I believe in.”
To keep up with Candace, visit www.candacecameronbure.net.
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About the Writer
Lindsay Williams is a freelance writer from Nashville, Tenn. She is a former editor of CCM Magazine and most recently worked as a marketing manager at Thomas Nelson. Her work has been published in Nashville Lifestyles, HomeLife, ParentLife, Parenting Teens and Collegiate, as well as on websites such as Crosswalk.com, WatchGMCTV.com, RelevantMagazine.com and more. She blogs at TheSoundOpinion.com and frequently writes album bios for some of her favorite artists.