SALT LAKE CITY — Actress Jen Lilley's approach to the entertainment world is somewhat atypical in the industry. Where some may need the next role or the next job to feel important, this practicing Christian has found that her self-esteem comes from a different place.
“I see my faith as an advantage because I don’t need to book a certain role to feel approved or validated,” Lilley said in an email interview with the blog, From the Desk of Kurt Manwaring. “My personal belief is there is nothing we can do to make God love us more or less. My worth is not wrapped up in accomplishments.”
The actress, who is starring in the new Hallmark Channel film "Winter Love Story" premiering on Saturday, Jan. 19, has long been a woman of faith, and one who easily gives her heart to worthy causes. As a foster mom involved with fundraising for orphans and foster children as well as advocating for children's rights, Lilley has been able to put her big heart to use.
“I care about most causes surrounding people in need who cannot get out of whatever circumstance they’re in without help,” she said.
Given her love for helping people and the fact that she relishes in her sensitive side, it makes sense that Lilley is a regular on the Hallmark Channel. While she worked for years on daytime soap operas and prime time TV shows, she's found a natural home with Hallmark.
“I’m not entirely sure which job in particular caught (Hallmark's) eye, but I was told they followed my career for some time before making an offer,” Lilley said. “I think fans, as well as the way I live my personal life off the screen, has contributed to my ongoing roles with my favorite network.”
In addition to acting and working with charity organizations and as an advocate, Lilley is also a professional singer who released her first album, "Tinsel Time," in 2015. Her second album, simply titled "Lilley," comes out next month. All of this keeps her busy, but Lilley said her most important role is something she can do all of the time.
“My job is to be kind to everyone, do my very best in every situation and then have faith that whatever path I’m meant to take will happen,” she said.
Lilley most recently appeared in Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas movie "Mingle All the Way," where she played Molly Hoffman, a busy professional matched on a dating app with Brant Daugherty's character. In “Winter Love Story," she plays Cassie Winsley, whom she calls a "refreshingly relatable young writer" with a famous author mother named Jeanine Jordan, played by actress Mary Margaret Humes.Comment on this story
“Cassie doesn’t want to ride Jeanine’s coattails, so her publisher tells her she has to do a book tour to bolster her sales and audience,” Lilley said. “She’s paired with New York Times bestselling author Elliot Somersby (played by Kevin McGarry), a man who Cassie finds incredibly pretentious.”
While Lilley’s character may struggle with judging a book — or an author — by its cover, Lilley said that viewers can expect "Winter Love Story" to live up to its name.
“It’s the perfect winter movie to warm up your Saturday night. There’s charm and witty banter, hot chocolate and snow, cabins and fireside chats and books and dogs," she said. “What more can you ask for in a winter romance?”