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War Room Actress Leans on Faith to Pursue Dreams

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Model and actress

Played Danielle Jordan in blockbuster hit movie, “War Room”

Frequent contributor to For Girls Like You magazine

Oldest of four girls

Co-author with her mom, Wynter Pitts, Hello Stars, Zonderkids, 2017

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Alena grew up in a Christian home.  She began walking in her own relationship with the Lord and was baptized at the age of 8.  As the oldest of 4 girls, Alena began making home videos and creating dramas with her sisters using their entire home as a recording studio.  She had her life planned out and wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up.  Alena, then 10 years old, had no school theater experience when her aunt, Priscilla Shirer, was selected to play a main role in the Kendrick brothers’ movie, War Room.  “She asked me if I wanted to audition because they were looking for a little girl to play the part of Danielle,” says Alena. She thought, “Wow, this could actually be real.  This could actually be what I do in the future.”  Alena had to audition several times before the decision came down to her and one other girl.  “I just kept praying about it,” she says.  When she got the call to be in the movie, Alena was thrilled to accept the role.  “It was a lot of fun,” she says.  “It had it’s challenges but I had to figure out how to balance my life.”

On the set, Alena says they prayed every morning.  “It was different than a normal movie set,” she says.  “And it was a lot better than a normal movie set.”  Throughout the day, if something went wrong, everyone would stop and pray.  Today, despite her success, Alena says while she would take another acting role if the opportunity came up, she wouldn’t say she wanted to be an actress for the rest of her life.  

Before the movie, Alena, now 13, didn’t think prayer was for her. “I thought it was for older people because they always had testimonies about everything that happened,” she says.  “But I never heard a little kid talk about the power of prayer.” During the movie, Alena began to pray and she realized praying is something everyone can do.

Wynter, Alena’s mom, founded the magazine, For Girls Like You.  She is also the author of a devotional of the same name.  Wynter’s mission is to empower and equip girls to boldly become who god has created them to be and to provide parents of tweens with resources and support.  One day, Wynter asked her daughter, Hey Alena, do you want to write a book together?”  “That would be so fun!” Wynter said.  But that was it.  “I really didn’t think it was going to happen,” says Alena. “But she was like, just pray about it.”  So two weeks later they got an email from Zondervan asking if they wanted to write a book for them.  Alena thought, “Wow, this must be God’s plan!”

Alena’s original plan was to go to law school and become a lawyer.  “I love to debate, but then I figured out how long law school was,” she says.  So then she decided to be a singer and play instruments.  Another part of her wanted to be a professional volleyball player, which she still does.  “Based on my life, anything is possible, and you don’t have to stick with one thing your entire life! That’s really boring.”

Hellos Stars is the first book in her 3-book series.  The story is based on the experiences Alena learned making “War Room,” and introduces her main character of the book series, Lena Daniels.  Lena gets a part in a movie and finds the spotlight is more difficult than she expected.  Lena wonders if her acting career is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare.  She tackles tough choices, learns the value of perseverance and keeps her hopes high knowing that family and faith will keep her grounded.

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