Singer Jennifer McGill found herself alone, scared and desperately chasing broken dreams — then, God changed everything.
McGill, who starred alongside Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and other well-known names in Disney’s “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club,” felt she was destined for stardom, but after her more than 300-episode run on the show ended back in 1995, life took some unexpected turns.
After her days as a child star, the more mature entertainment career that McGill — who is releasing a Christian album this month titled, “Unbreakable” — had so fervently sought didn’t quite come to fruition. And that was a tough reality for her to accept.
“I could not have been convinced back then that I wasn’t meant for stardom,” McGill told Faithwire. “I used to feel cheated and wasted because the gatekeepers of fame and fortune locked me out.”
Years later, though, the singer believes God had a very different plan for her life. McGill now believes she would have missed some valuable lessons had she simply continued her path into the entertainment world after the “Mickey Mouse Club” ended.
“I believe stardom would have cheated me out of all the wisdom and wholeness I have gained through the life I’ve lived on the fringes of the world’s spotlight,” she said. “I would not be the strong woman I am today if I had continued to let the world mold me into who it thought I should be.”
McGill continued, “I wouldn’t be the unique spirit, artist, and messenger that I am today by any hand other than God’s.”
But the journey getting to where she is now wasn’t exactly an easy one. Despite McGill’s entertainment aspirations, she decided after “Mickey Mouse Club” ended not to head to New York and Los Angeles like her co-stars and to, instead, attend college.
“In my mind, there was no question that college was the next step after I graduated high school and finished ‘The New Mickey Mouse Club,’” she said. “In retrospect, I had developed backwards, maturing professionally sooner than personally.”
This is so cute!!! ❤️🎶🎬 #Repost @jcchasezdaily ・・・ watch the MMC performance with Jennifer McGill, JC Chasez, Terra NcNair, Keri Russell, Mylin Brooks, Dale Godboldo, and Jason Minor singing the cover Giggles' "What Goes Around Comes Around" #JCChasez #JenniferMcGill #TerraMcNair #MylinBrooksStoddard #KeriRussell #DaleGodboldo #JasonMinor #MMC #MickeyMouseClub #Disney #performance #sing #singing #dance #dancing #WhatGoesAroundComesAround #Giggles #cover #90s #1990s #jcedit #myedit #edit #PLEASEDONOTREPOST sources: https://www.youtube.com/bYany5t9y6s http://jcchasezdaily.tumblr.com/post/162267397823/mmc-what-goes-around-comes-around-giggles
After all, McGill had been employed since age 11 and recalls that she simply wanted some time to be a normal kid. College offered an opportunity for her to explore herself in a way she hadn’t yet been afforded.
Despite going right into her academic career, McGill never gave up her dream of reigniting her entertainment career, though she found herself plagued by disappointment, learning many difficult lessons along the way.
In the 1990s, she watched Spears, Aguilera and other former cast members begin to make it big in music and entertainment, leading her to cope with some personal insecurities as she struggled to understand why she wasn’t finding the same level of mainstream success.
“I have wrestled with accepting the blessings and flaws of my body since I was 11 years old, and during the Bubble Gum Pop movement of the 90s, I began blaming my appearance on why I wasn’t ‘allowed’ the fame that some of my former cast members achieved,” McGill explained. “The one thing I was always confident about was my talent, yet experiencing the music industry judge me on pretty much everything except my talent left me feeling helpless and worthless.”
This all led to a situation in which she “self-medicated with unhealthy relationships” and by mistreated herself, as she sought to create the image of a rock-star life, despite not reaching the celebrity status that typically accompanies such a lifestyle.
By the time McGill was 28, she said she described herself as “dead inside,” as her quest for fame and even love proved fruitless. Then, at age 30, she got married — another decision that left her in a difficult spot.
“I married a man I knew I wasn’t in love with, but who I didn’t know was still married to someone else,” she said. “Had I been in my right mind and listening to God at all, I don’t think I would have ever walked down that aisle in the first place.”
It was at that point that McGill’s pain and desperation hit a fever pitch.
“I hit rock bottom when I was sleeping 12 hours a day to avoid my life and wishing I was dead,” she said.
And to add insult to a series of already tough-to-contend with injuries, the singer discovered something absolutely unimaginable: her new husband was apparently still legally married to someone else, meaning that she had entered a faux matrimony.
It was a realization that changed everything for McGill, as it led her to rediscover her Christian faith, embracing it more fervently than ever.
“I felt lost, alone, and out of options, so I turned to God, tearfully on my knees, and confessed that I had made a mess of my life and that I didn’t want to decide anything without Jesus in the center again,” she said. “I rededicated my life to Jesus, I got an annulment, I never called myself ‘dead inside’ again, and I have been on an amazing path of restoration and joy in the Lord ever since.”
As for McGill’s quest for fame, she eventually came to realize that God’s plan for her life is what really mattered, abandoning her past infatuation with mainstream success.
“God broke the ‘curse of fame’ that was over my life for more than a decade, then spent the next decade repairing my heart and strengthening me against the rejections associated with the entertainment industry,” she said. “I have learned that whether or not you’re famous, trying to live up to a rock star standard can break your spirit like it broke mine, if your identity is at the mercy of the world.”
The singer said she eventually came to a point where she decided to “hear God’s opinion” of her rather than the world’s, elevating the Lord’s standards above all else.
And with the release of McGill’s new Christian album, “Unbreakable,” it’s clear that she’s embraced that reality. In fact, she said she had no plans to embark on the project.
“Last year, I was finishing a script for a live show, ‘Freedom Fighters: Living Fearless,’ which needed some original songs for the cast to perform throughout the show,” she said. “Writing songs for Freedom Fighters ended up providing more than enough songs for a solo LP, and with the completion of each song, the team fell in love more and more with the idea of me releasing a project as an artist.”
You can hear the fruits of that labor here.