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The Beauty of Hollyweird

AP Photo/Jan Bauer

Sequoia Sierra - published on 03/24/14

In her latest report from the trenches of the entertainment industry, Sequoia Sierra identifies a lot of brokenness, but also a noble search…

In Hollywood–or “Hollyweird” as it is often called–there is an insane amount of talent.  Now, this talent may not always be directed in the right way, and the media may often highlight people who don’t have any talent beyond selling themselves, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the real Hollywood talent.

Recently I was listening to a costumer and costume designer speak about what goes into the shows she works on: the incredible detail, the copious research, the insane hours, the specific parts that costumers and costume designers play in creating an amazing production. My friend didn’t even mention the actors who on these shows use every fiber of their beings–their physicality, their emotions, their minds–to convey a character and tell a story. And then there’s the director, who with his or her over-arching vision, leads, guides, and directs the specific talents and efforts of the company into one compelling vision.

I find it mind-blowing that in our little microcosm of the world that we can all work together so well. There are so many different people with so many different backgrounds; so many different stories and so many different beliefs. And the thing that unites us all is art. Hollywood is broken, yes. Many of its members have undergone and suffered so much, whether it’s been abuse, drugs, sexual exploitation, or some other calamity. But there is something in this beautiful brokenness that impels these artists to reach beyond themselves, to triumph over their personal darkness, to do battle with their inner demons in order to achieve beauty in their art.

One doesn’t need to have suffered a major life trauma to encounter one’s own personal darkness. Because the fact is, we’re all broken. We Catholics know that this brokenness is caused by sin, but even those who don’t identify their brokenness with sin often come to realize that there’s something in them that needs healingAnd here’s what I find really interesting: among my Hollywood colleagues,this need for healing expresses itself in a profound commitment to make great works of art.

I take their impressive commitment to their craft as one sign of my colleagues’ longing for something that transcends the ephemeral nature of this business.

Hollywood is weird, but it is that very weirdness–that brokenness and spiritual thirst–that unites those of us that work in the industry. My colleagues in the industry are very attune to their need for the true, the good, and the beautiful–that is, for God–and while they may not always seek these things in ways that are best for them, the fact that they are seeking speaks volumes about their character.

And that’s something I want to respect, befriend, and do everything I can to nurture.

Sequoia Sierra is a Los Angeles-based stylist and designer working in television, film, and editorials in addition to other entrepreneurial endeavors. Sequoia is also a professed Lay Order Norbertine of Premontre under St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. Some of her work can be viewed at

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