It seems more than fitting that an image Hope resident Melissa Coles recently posted on her Facebook page was a helicopter.
It was a shot from the forthcoming independent action film “Race Against Time” in which she will appear. The whirlwind of chopper blades is as good a symbol as anything of the crazy swirl of her life since a year ago and the release of the nationally distributed, faith-based film “Lifemark.”
That movie starring Kirk Cameron (known to most audiences for his role in TV’s “Growing Pains” and to Christian audiences for movies such as “Fireproof”) told the story of Coles reaching out to find and meet the son she nearly aborted but eventually gave up for adoption years ago.
Coles had a small part in one scene of that movie.
“And that reignited my desire to be in films,” Coles said.
Did it ever. All told, she is now linked in some way, shape or form with nine forthcominmg independent films in stages from early planning to post production. She has an autobiography, titled “Lifeprint: The Power of One Yes,” releasing by the end of the month, as many as three movies with her in them releasing by year’s end, a children’s activity book coming out this year and a nonprofit, Life Stories Matter, now forming to help troubled moms-to-be.
So she is lightheartedly asked if she will eventually go all Hollywood soon and forget her rural Bartholomew County ways.
“I’m not Hollywood at all,” she said with a laugh. “This is simply about being able to tell stories. … And at the end of the day, I just want to be able to go home to my husband (Shawn) and my fur babies.”
That’s three dogs, two indoor cats, eight outdoor felines, 13 chickens, and well, we could be here all day.
As busy as she is, it is hardly surprising that she conducted an interview with Bluetooth while driving. She said upfront that, at age 49, decades after she initially dreamed of acting, she has no need for the limelight without a faith-filled purpose.
“I want people to feel encouraged by what I do,” she said. “I want to be known as an encourager.”
Her own personal encouragement beyond her spiritual nourishment is her spouse, who overflows with superlatives about her determination, her focus and more.
“She’s just amazing,” her husband said. “And she’s become a force to be reckoned with.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody with such an energy for getting so many things done.”
Coles remains a global speaker, telling her story captured in “Lifemark,” and promoting adoption instead of abortion. One speech in Montana was livestreamed to audiences in 13 countries. And she’s a special orator at that. On Sept. 20, Indianapolis Right to Life will honor her with its Respect For Life Award.
She hardly seems impressed with herself, with her husband sharing more of her activities than she publicizes. But evaluating what God is doing through her — that’s another matter entirely.
“I’m growing,” she said. “And I’m finding my voice. Part of this is because I was silent for so long (about abuse from past relationships).”
She emphasized that none of this has been simple or easy. In fact, her auditions for films still result in more rejections than actual roles.
“But I don’t accept the word no,” she said. “A single no just makes me that much more determined for the next role.”