A former contestant on American Idol who was mocked for her religious faith is starring in a movie that will hit theaters later in 2017.
Moriah Peters, now 24 years old, appeared for an American Idol audition at the age of 16 and faced derision from the judges when she told them that she was waiting to kiss someone until marriage as part of her Christian faith. Peters told The Hollywood Reporter that the judges made comments like "You're trying to be too perfect" and "Go out, kiss a guy, come back."
Naturally, Peters was disappointed at the time, but she now looks back on the audition as a necessary part of her personal and professional journey.
"I have come to look back on that time with such gratitude, because had that opportunity not closed I wouldn't have found all the incredible experiences I have been able to have years later," Peters told Fox News. "I think national recording records and touring, meeting my husband eventually and making this movie … all of that stemmed from that, what was once rejection, and now I can now see a redirection."
The movie that she's starring in, Because of Grácia, features Peters playing the role of a high school girl named Grácia who is mocked by some of her fellow classmates because she chooses to adhere to a Christian lifestyle that involves abstinence until marriage.
Peters was struck by the similarities between the character she plays in the movie and her past life experiences.
"At one point I thought the director created [the] story based on my experiences that he had seen in interviews online because they are so similar, but I think that people will really find a connection to characters," Peters told Fox News.
Here are two clips from the movie, one featuring Grácia arguing against Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the other featuring Grácia arguing against marijuana:
Because of Grácia will be released on September 15 in 20 markets with the hope that the film will eventually be shown in additional markets.
ArtAffects Entertainment is the company that is distributing the film; the couple who runs the company, Daniel and Margo Lange, were responsible for booking "The Passion of the Christ in about half the nation," per The Hollywood Reporter.