Candace Cameron Bure Interview
In an industry where beauty and image are everything, actress Candace Cameron Bure stands out from the crowd thanks to her focus on doing the right thing. She sits down with Chris Neumer to get inside the perils of growing up on TV, putting on weight and why Tiger Woods’ marital strife isn’t all that surprising.
CHRIS NEUMER: We were in his hotel suite in New York. He was just visiting town for a couple days. I was just waiting for him to get back from somewhere in his suite alone, basically sitting where you are, except I had both of my legs forward. He came in, there was another couch over here, there was like a third chair over there, sat down on the top of my leg and then slid off. Now, I had never met the man before. It was like nice to meet you, and then he sits on my leg and just slides off.
CANDACE CAMERON: Wow.
CHRIS NEUMER: I was like, “I’m going to go over here now.” It was—
CANDACE CAMERON: —Uncomfortable?
CHRIS NEUMER: It seems fairly reasonable that that summarized the entire encounter really well. He is a delightful man, who has obviously spent a large portion of his life doing drugs.
CANDACE CAMERON: It’s a shame.
CHRIS NEUMER: Actually, it’s a good thing for my kids. I don’t have kids now, but when I do, I’m just going to play the recording of the Nick Nolte interview, where I’d be like, “How you doing today?” And he’d respond, “Seven.”
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: Kids, if you want to end up like this, you’re more than welcome.
CANDACE CAMERON: Sounds good.
CHRIS NEUMER: So, I don’t know how much anyone told you about what I’m doing.
CANDACE CAMERON: This is beauty.
CHRIS NEUMER: Perception.
CANDACE CAMERON: Yes.
CHRIS NEUMER: My background’s in anthropology, so I’m fascinated with how society looks at Hollywood as almost this evil thing that just only turns out hot women, and then they feel bad about themselves. But by the same token, I know the people who are in the entertainment industry very much feel a certain pressure to be a certain way. So I just started poking around and talking to people from various places within the entertainment industry to find out how image affects them. I’m looking at this as almost a mystery to be unraveled as opposed to a set question list that I hand you. With you seemingly being sane, I relished the thought of talking to you. I’ve talked to models and people who are most assuredly not on the same platform at ‘sane’. If there’s anything you’re not comfortable with or anything you don’t want to get into, feel free to pipe up. I’m not here to burn you. Though, I’m sure if I was, I would say that I’m not here to burn you anyway.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: I’m just letting you know this is more of an investigation into beauty and perception.
CANDACE CAMERON: Maybe I’ll come to some revelation while we’re talking and think things I’ve never thought of before. (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: Good. Because this isn’t going to be something where you’re telling me what it was like living with John Stamos. And if you start telling me, I’m going to start yelling.
CANDACE CAMERON: Great, I love that.
CHRIS NEUMER: Perfect. One of the things, I was looking through some of the interviews you had done, and I know you’re very Christian. That plays a big part of it. I just spoke with an actress friend of mine, we went to high school together, and she’s been doing a lot of auditioning. She’s been in a number of movies, TV series, and she said there is so much rejection. She’s like, “I really wish my parents would have gotten me into Christianity, so I would have faith in something that I’m on the right path.” And she said this utterly seriously.
CANDACE CAMERON: It’s not too late. You could tell her. From my mouth to her ears, it’s not too late.
CHRIS NEUMER: I thought about it, and I’ve never heard about it in that fashion, and I thought to myself, that’s got to be phenomenal. Do you find that that in any way impacts the way you look at projects that you work on?
CANDACE CAMERON: My faith in Christ is who I am, so it impacts every single aspect of my life. Every decision that I make is really based upon biblical principles or what I feel is the direction God is leading me. And every decision I’ve made is made first by petition and prayer.
CHRIS NEUMER: What do you mean by petition?
CANDACE CAMERON: Petition to God, just talking to him through prayer. That’s how all my considerations are made before I actually make a decision in my life. My faith impacts everything that I do, so it’s wonderful that she sees it as a source of faith to have in terms of rejection, but it’s really so much more than that.
CHRIS NEUMER: I agree. It’s just one of those things that every once in awhile, you hear the same things talked about, and with some people it’s just a slight twist and you go, “I should really reinvestigate that.” Now, Stephen Baldwin, are you friends with him?
CANDACE CAMERON: I’m not personal friends with him, but I’ve met him.
CHRIS NEUMER: I know I’ve heard him say the same type of thing. The part that really angers me is he said that if he could do it all over again, he would not appear in The Usual Suspects, which to me, is one of the best films in years. I was curious to know, do you ever feel that you would be ideal for a role model in a movie like The Usual Suspects where it’s just ripe with action, violence, double crossing.
CANDACE CAMERON: I didn’t see The Usual Suspects, so you’ll have to forgive me for not knowing.
CHRIS NEUMER: Well a movie like Seven, where it’s dark and depressing, where your character alone is like this beacon of light and hope in this otherwise depressing, morbid movie. Is that something that fits in with your own style, or is it the overall tone of the project has to be something?
CANDACE CAMERON: It’s so specific per project, per movie, that I would not immediately cancel out a film that was dark necessarily just because it had dark undertones to it. I do feel that there are plenty of stories that are dark stories but there needs light to be brought to them. Or if there is some sort of redemption within a very dark story, I would definitely consider that.
CHRIS NEUMER: It’s interesting when you think of being a role model. I always remember that Harvey Keitel said he made this movie called Monkey Trouble in like ‘93-‘94, just so his daughter could see. He’s like, “She needs one movie that I’ll allow her to see.” He wanted to be a role model to her, but at the same time, it’s Harvey Keitel. And I just started thinking about your quote, just what it means to be a role model. And could you do it in an otherwise lecherous film filled with violence just providing that you’re the beacon of light?
CANDACE CAMERON: It’s not my natural instinct to even want to pursue that type of film, but when I think of dark stories, something that has redemption or something that’s inspirational learning from it. If we think of the movie Precious—which is horrifying in what happened, and yet, it’s something that can be learned from. It’s something that’s bringing light to a very dark subject. That’s something I would absolutely consider. But just to be in a violent action packed movie for the thrill of it, even though I was a good character, is not as meaningful to me. I do projects I believe in. I want to do things my family can watch and children can watch. It’s very important to me, although I know not every project I can do can include that, because if I do want to tackle some serious topical issues, then my children, my young children might not be able to watch that.
CHRIS NEUMER: Are there specific topical issues that you would like to tackle?
CANDACE CAMERON: Nothing specific right now, but there’s always projects in the works that I’m thinking of. Nothing to share.
CHRIS NEUMER: Does your faith in any way play into the image that you want of yourself that other people see?
CANDACE CAMERON: Again, my faith plays into every aspect of my life. Listen, I want people to see me. I’m not one person when I’m in front of the camera or out on the red carpet or doing interviews and then a separate person with my family and my husband and my children. I’m kind of what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
CHRIS NEUMER: Unfortunately, I believe you. I don’t know why. It’s never true.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) Well, thank you. I’m an honest and open person. I don’t want to have dual personalities. I am who I am. What was the original question? I don’t even remember. (laughs) I just don’t have two different personas. And so everything I do, whether it’s professionally or personally, I want that to represent me to its best and make the decisions that are reflective of me as a person, as a mother, as a wife, as a business woman, as an actress. I did that when I was 18, having two different groups of friends. One friend you do the cool stuff with or the things you don’t want to tell the other group of friends that are on a more righteous path. You don’t want to tell them that you’re hanging out with those—
CHRIS NEUMER: Coke benders?
CANDACE CAMERON: If you’ve read all my stuff, I’m just not the type. The worst thing I did was getting my belly button pierced. I’m just not that type of person.
CHRIS NEUMER: How did you arrive at your conclusion to dual personas? Did you morph the two groups into one? Did you just start to let certain people go? How did you arrive? You said you had two dual groups of friend.
CANDACE CAMERON: It was a very small group of—
CHRIS NEUMER: Belly button piercing friends?
CANDACE CAMERON: Yeah, it was a very small group. But I did just have that realization at one point in my life talking to a group of friends that I knew were just solid people, truthful people, and realizing when I didn’t want to share stories with them about what I was doing on the weekends with other friends, I just thought there was something wrong about that. It was just my own conclusion. I just kind of stopped doing those things and just let those other friends go or just slowly drifted out because I just didn’t want to do those kinds of things anymore.
CHRIS NEUMER: I aspire to have that happen by like 42. It’s nice to know you were at 18.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) My parents drilled it into me, so kudos to them.
CHRIS NEUMER: So piercing the belly button-
CANDACE CAMERON: Oh, don’t make this about piercing the belly button. (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: I’m just curious. The specifics are always the interesting part. I read some quotes of yours where you’re talking about how low your self-image was back then. I know you talked about an episode of Full House where you guys were shooting in Disneyland and you tried to find the baggiest pair of overalls and hat you could. It seems strange that there are basically two ways you can go about it when you’re that age, which is: I look good in real life, but I think I look terrible. Or I look terrible in real life, but I think I look good. And it seems like the first one is you and the second one is the 700-pound woman who decides she needs to wear the low-rise skinny jeans. It’s so bizarre to me because when everyone else looks and sees you in person, it’s sort of, “Oh God, there’s nothing wrong with you.” You’re very attractive. But that’s not what’s going on in your head.
CANDACE CAMERON: Being in the media definitely skews your view of what you should look like, no matter what. There’s just no arguing it. Even as a teenager, there were times when I felt completely fine and good about myself and then people would say, “You’re the cute chubby one on TV.” And I’d be like, “I’m chubby? Really?”
You don’t think about it. There were definitely times where I was uncomfortable, not because I was on TV, but just because I was a 15, 16-year-old that clearly was a few pounds overweight and couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Or when I went from a size 2 up to a size 4. I remember I was in the Gap trying on jeans—and I was always a size 2 or 4—I tried on a 6 and they weren’t quite fitting, and the saleswoman said, “Well let me go get you a size 8.” I went, “I’m not a size 8. That’s crazy. You guys must have resized your jeans, because I’m not a size 8.” And it was almost shocking! After talking with my mom, she gently told me, “Honey, you put on a few pounds and blah blah blah.” And I think every girl goes through that. And boys. I think many men feel the same way, it’s just not handled or verbalized the same way.
CHRIS NEUMER: The thing with men, as far as I know, they don’t care.
CANDACE CAMERON: I think men care a whole lot more than they say they do.
CHRIS NEUMER: Let me put it this way, the guys I hang out with, unfortunately, really don’t care.
CANDACE CAMERON: I married a professional athlete and a lot of them care, but I know a whole lot of other men who are just wonderfully married, happy men, in all different fields of work, that are just as self conscious of their bodies as women. Take my word for it.
CHRIS NEUMER: I think I need to trade in my group of friends. It seems like growing up in front of the cameras, being on the red carpet, it seems like that would highlight and completely blow out of proportion any and all little perceived imperfections that you might have. I thank God that if I was a kid star, that it’s not happening now, with the abuse cycle on TMZ…
CANDACE CAMERON: That’s the thing. When I was a teenager, and when I was on Full House, there was a certain amount of focus on that: on the beauty and the body. Just body issues or weight, but it’s nothing like it is today. Nothing. So even at its worst, the worst was really the fans for me. The worst were people that would come up to me when I had lost 20 pounds at 17 years old and would come up to me, trying to pay me a compliment but saying, “You look so good now,” or, “You look so much better because you were really fat on that show. You were so chubby on that show.” And it’s like, “Really? Would you even say that to your best friend? You were so fat and you look good now?”
CHRIS NEUMER: Whenever we do a photo shoot for people, there are always a few little retouches here or there. And I have no problem with that. But somebody happened to take a photo, I was shooting with a model, she’s like “I always take pictures with the photographer.” So I just sat there. She sent me a copy of the photo she had, I don’t know where her Photoshop skills come from, but she had just smoothed out—at the time I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days—so she smoothed out my face. She airbrushed it a little bit, you know, she just touched-up a few things. Now, I know what you’re thinking: How could you improve on this?
CANDACE CAMERON: Exactly! (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: But she changed it a little bit. I looked at it, and I was like, this is just weird because I know that’s not me.
CANDACE CAMERON: Yeah.
CHRIS NEUMER: It wasn’t even sort of like we applied some weird light filter to it, I was just looking at it and I was like, “That’s not me.” It was, even as someone who takes photos, a bizarre concept that there’s sort of the me that exists in pixel or in film but not real life. I mean it’s a pretty good facsimile of me in real life, but, like with you, it’s sort of like, you know you’re teeny tiny, you’re thin but at the same time it’s sort of like you’ve got to make sure you’re putting your chin down, keep your chest back, that sort of thing.
CANDACE CAMERON: Exactly.
CHRIS NEUMER: Does it take a while to get used to that? The idea that, in real life, you are a very thin, very attractive woman, but you still have to take steps that when you’re filming you make sure that certain things don’t come out… physically?
CANDACE CAMERON: Do I ask myself that?
CHRIS NEUMER: Sure, but I was asking: is there a mindset like that?
CANDACE CAMERON: Oh, absolutely. You have to think about it. I mean, within the industry, if you’re talking about the body of work—I would think as an actress, I mean—I want to do good work. That’s my main focus. But, within that, the industry itself is based upon image or beauty or whatever you’re portraying at the time.
CHRIS NEUMER: Have you done ugly? Like, have you gone all Charlize Theron in Monster yet?
CANDACE CAMERON: No.
CHRIS NEUMER: That’s one of the things that no matter how often I talk to people, mostly behind the scenes, like agents, managers, that it seems as though, on a spectrum of talent, beauty is on one end and talent is on the other. There’s certainly a cross in the middle. When you take a look at the women who win Oscars, the majority, it’s like they have to put on weight or get super ugly like Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball.
CANDACE CAMERON: Right.
CHRIS NEUMER: I have no idea why that is and nobody seems to really have a good idea.
CANDACE CAMERON: I don’t think vanity comes into play when you have this incredible, meaty part that you can play and really extend yourself and your talent, so I don’t think getting ugly is even a consideration of, “I don’t want to look my best in front of anyone for a while.” But when you’re just doing interviews and taking pictures and you’re representing yourself, you always want to look your best. I think that’s natural for anyone, so I’m always aware of it and conscience of it. I mean everything we do, I’m specific, but along with the people that work with me are very specific and clothes and make-up and hairstyles and how it all fits and works because what I can wear in person and in my everyday life might not photograph well. Or what I can wear in everyday life hanging out might not look as good on camera, depending on what I’m doing and those things are always changing and constantly being taken into consideration.
CHRIS NEUMER: Oh, well I’m sure Terry’s [Cameron’s makeup artist] going to give me all kinds of dirt on you later.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) You will see this dramatic difference when she does my make-up. I’m like not even the same person.
CHRIS NEUMER: You’re going to walk out, and I’m going to be like “Where’s Candace? Where is she at? Who are you?”
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: This line of thinking was spurred by the whole Tiger Woods situation. I remember saying that this is really going to screw over the good people. All they really have is being good, being positive, seeming like a good couple and then now you have the public that is going to start investigating or looking a little bit and going, “Oh sure, I wonder if there’s something there.” “I wonder if there’s an underlying something.” “There’s probably something underneath that we just don’t know about.”
CANDACE CAMERON: Breaks my heart.
CHRIS NEUMER: I’m sure there are a lot of guys out there who are rich and famous who have many women on the side, but there are significantly, significantly more who don’t. And so you could kind of associate yourselves over here; I looked at a photo of your family, one of the press photos that you guys have, and I was looking at it and I was like, man, it came out perfectly.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: This is the way I think every person in America wants their family to look, and I was just wondering is there actually something about—and I’m sure you’re going to say “Oh, we’re not perfect.”
CANDACE CAMERON: No, we are.
CHRIS NEUMER: I can appreciate that!
CANDACE CAMERON: No, I’m kidding! (laughs) I always get scared of what they don’t use because I’m like you could put that in print and stop after I said that.
CHRIS NEUMER: Well, I’m glad that you finally understand how I work. That’s right, I’m making notes right here.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) Yes, yes I know.
CHRIS NEUMER: I’ll put that quote in later, this and that. But is it something that you want to be seen as, sort of, perfect woman, perfect family, because it seems like perfect is the opposite of human.
CANDACE CAMERON: Totally. And I don’t want to be perceived as perfect, but I want to be perceived as trying hard and trying my best. So I actually I speak all over the country at churches, and I share my testimony. I’m speaking Friday to about 10,000 women.
CHRIS NEUMER: Where?
CANDACE CAMERON: In Branson, MO. At I think their convention center. But anyway, I speak to a lot of women and get a chance to talk to a lot of them personally, and so many of them, even in emails within my website, within these conversations they will have such high regard thinking, “Gosh, you got it together. You have a beautiful family, and you’re even working. And you’re on television show, and you just seem to be such an involved mom. And—
CHRIS NEUMER: And your family owns a winery, right?
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) All of this stuff, and the first thing I want to say is, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Pull me off of the pedestal, because I’m just as human as you are, and I have my bad days too.” Really we do show everyone the best of ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have those tough days. I’m certainly not perfect, but I do try hard and strive to be the best I can for my family and for myself.
CHRIS NEUMER: You make a very good point: beautiful people are better than the rest of—
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) Stop!
CHRIS NEUMER: But it seems like people want celebrities to be perfect. They want them to be larger than life. They want them to be held to a different set of standards, and they really want them to be good. Take a look at like Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, even David Letterman. They really want them to be perfect, and when things come out and we find out they most certainly are not perfect, then the public just wants to tear them down as fast as possible.
CANDACE CAMERON: Yeah.
CHRIS NEUMER: And I have no idea what this means—and it’s probably not a positive sign for humanity—but it seems like there’s that divergence. Are you worried about people trying to tear you down?
CANDACE CAMERON: I’m not worried about it, because it would just be a waste of time to worry about it, but I’ve certainly had some experiences with it.
CHRIS NEUMER: That you’re probably not going to tell me about?
CANDACE CAMERON: Even as a Christian, I certainly have standards that I am held to that are different than other standards or whatever other standards you want to compare it to. Christian values and Christian standards, I try to uphold them, and within my peer group of other Christians, they want to see me uphold them. And as hard as I try, the fact is I’m always going to disappoint someone, somewhere. So I certainly have handfuls of those types of letters and emails come in saying-
CHRIS NEUMER: You continue to read all the fan mail that comes in?
CANDACE CAMERON: I don’t anymore. I don’t read all of it. I read quite a bit of it, and most of it is really positive. It’s really encouraging so I like to read it.
CHRIS NEUMER: The ones with large expletives in the subject line, those get deleted fairly quickly?
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) The thing about most Christian people that write to me that don’t necessarily agree with some of my choices, they usually don’t use four letter words, so even the worst of the letters aren’t written in a horribly mean fashion, but they can still be hurtful. Even the very few instances where I experienced people’s disappointment in me or in the choices that I made, we’re not going to be able to please everyone. I know that, so I don’t worry about people trying to tear me down with nitpicking over decisions that I make that they don’t feel are the best. I can only do what I can do, and ultimately they aren’t the people that I’m going to face at the end of the day.
CHRIS NEUMER: I tell people all of the time that they changed John Stamos’ character’s last name between season 1 and season 2.
CANDACE CAMERON: You’re bringing up the Full House thing now!?
CHRIS NEUMER: We all have problems.
CANDACE CAMERON: I should go la la la la la la…
CHRIS NEUMER: I’m just saying we all have problems in life, but it seems to me- and feel free to say ‘no comment’ to this because I could imagine how this could potentially get you in trouble if you even acknowledge that I’m saying this aloud. It seems like if somebody came to me and was like, “Chris, you disappointed me. I thought you should have done things differently,” my response would be, “Get a life. Just look over there. Start focusing on you. You’re driving around with a few space saver spare tires on your car.” Is there a sort of polite version of that that goes through your head when people contact you about you disappointing them?
CANDACE CAMERON: Oh, I’ve written back. Absolutely. I don’t shy away from conversations or emails that I’ve gotten that have opposing views or opinions than I do. I happily write them back and always speak from my heart and just give them my point of view. I won’t continue beyond that. I’m not going to turn it into this back and forth type of thing. I’ve certainly written emails back to those types of letters.
CHRIS NEUMER: Are people surprised that you bother to say thanks for writing in, even if you don’t agree with them?
CANDACE CAMERON: People have been very appreciative. They have written back and have been surprised and said, “Well, thanks.” And sometimes they’ll thank you for clarifying your point of view or write “I didn’t quite understand from your perception or from your perspective, sorry.” Or “I didn’t know that’s how it works in the industry.” Or I’ve had some that said thank you for writing back and we appreciate it, but I still disagree with your choices. But then I leave it at that.
CHRIS NEUMER: There might be a market for an iPhone app for you.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: I know this is about myself- I’m in this weird grey area where I would love to get somebody who reads an interview I’ve done and just swears up and down that about something I’ve said in it. Or “How could you not ask this?” I would love to write something back like, “Thank you for your reading. I appreciate your sentiment, and even though we don’t agree, we can agree to disagree,” as opposed to just basically sending offensive things. I’d love that. I’d love to just, what’s the word…what would Candace say?
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) That’s the name of the app. “What Would Candace Say?”
CHRIS NEUMER: Yeah…WWCD.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: If only you could make bracelets without seeming too materialistic.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) Yeah, I don’t think that would go over well. (laughs) What Would Candace Say? It’s funny.
CHRIS NEUMER: The last thing that I have for you is, I had mentioned the image that Tiger Woods had sort of marketed himself out to the world. The more I started thinking about this, in relation to you, I realized that you’ve got this well-liked professional athlete who’s married to an attractive blonde with whom he has children, and I thought to myself, you, of all people, must have some very interesting takes on this. Just because it seems like you would be a little closer to it than Merle and Debbie in Iowa. When the story broke, did you have any interesting thoughts on this or reactions to it?
CANDACE CAMERON: As a woman and wife, it was sad to hear. It was, just disappointing to hear. As an athlete’s wife, I was not surprised whatsoever.
CHIRS NEUMER: Good Lord, I’m shocked.
CANDACE CAMERON: (laughs) It just reaffirms the fact that I truly believe that everyone, whether you’re in the public eye or not, should live their life with honesty and integrity and be who you are. Be the same person that you are at work and at home because if you want, that’s what happens. If you want to live a lie, someone is bound to find out about it. And if you’re in the public eye, it’s going to be everywhere and you have to know that. So if you are willing to live a double life, then you need to be ready for the outcome when everyone finds out.
CHRIS NEUMER: You mean the repercussions?
CANDACE CAMERON: Yeah.
CHRIS NEUMER: That was harsh.
CANDACE CAMERON: Yeah, that’s me being harsh. (laughs)
CHRIS NEUMER: Wow.
CANDACE CAMERON: But it really makes me sad. I really think, why? I don’t know what goes through people’s minds when you’re willing to live a lie of a life, then you get disappointed when people find out, that shocking thing.
CHRIS NEUMER: Just that you even open yourself up to it? I mean in his case, I guess if you have billions of dollars, you can afford to be one of those without the public knowing.
CANDACE CAMERON: To me, it’s much more about your character and your integrity than about money. And that’s the part that’s just sad. Honesty is the best policy.
CHRIS NEUMER: That is correct. I will accept that. Is there anything else? We’ve touched on a few things going around.
CANDACE CAMERON: I know, did we even talk about beauty at all?
CHRIS NEUMER: We did! I talked to you, yes. It went fantastically well.
CANDACE CAMERON: Okay. (laughs)
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