Q&A: Candace Cameron Bure on biblical modesty, setting boundaries on 'Dancing With The Stars'

by Michael Foust, Guest Reviewer |

HOLLYWOOD (Christian Examiner) -- When Candace Cameron Bure was invited to be on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" in 2014, it didn't take long for her to say "yes."

She was a big fan of the show, enjoys dancing, and had always wondered what it would be like to compete on the popular reality program.

But for Cameron Bure, a Christian, the show – which can at times be risqué -- presented a few challenges.

Broadman and Holman

She writes about her time on the program in a new book from B&H Publishing, "Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction," in which she discusses what she learned about conviction, modesty and life.

"There was one time [dance partner] Mark [Ballas] choreographed a dance and there was one particular move in the dance I was uncomfortable with," she told Christian Examiner. "I showed my husband a videotape of it, and he was uncomfortable with it as well, and that confirmed it wasn't right, and I had to ask Mark to change the move, which Mark so graciously did."

There were, she said, definitely "moments where I said no."

Christian Examiner spoke recently with Cameron Bure about the show and the book. Following is a transcript:

Christian Examiner: There are a lot of reality shows out there. Why did you want to be on this one?

Cameron Bure: This is the one I loved watching as a viewer. I just thought it was a great show. I love dancing, and I love watching people dance. And I like it because it's not salacious -- it's not a bunch of people backstabbing one another and all that kind of stuff. I've been asked to do just about every reality show out there, and I said no because I never wanted to be on those types of shows. But this one, ever since the first time I saw it, I said if they ever ask me to do that show, I'll definitely consider it.

CE: Tell me about the boundaries you set going on the show. It's my understanding that because of your Christian beliefs and convictions that you did set some boundaries on the show.

Cameron Bure: It was more about having those boundaries in place already about who I am -- the choices I have made in my career, whether it's acting or producing or writing books – the types of projects that I do and what I want my name on. Those boundaries were already set in place before I gave an answer. And I knew I could do this show. Of course, it can be a very sexy show. But it's also geared toward families as well, and I knew I could do the show and stay true to who I am and my convictions without doing something that would make me uncomfortable or wearing something that would make me uncomfortable. They were really easy boundaries for me because it's who I am.

CE: Were there any times in which you had to say "no"?

Cameron Bure: There were probably a couple of moments during the show. There was one time (dance partner) Mark (Ballas) choreographed a dance and there was one particular move in the dance I was uncomfortable with. I showed my husband a videotape of it, and he was uncomfortable with it as well, and that confirmed it wasn't right, and I had to ask Mark to change the move, which Mark so graciously did. All of the professional dancers choreograph their own dances. They put a lot of thought and intention in those dances, and so to ask them to change a move and having to re-choreograph is a big thing to ask. Also, I had asked Mark not to go shirtless for a particular dance. There definitely were moments where I said no.

CE: You go in-depth in your new book about the issue of modesty. What are some things you may have learned about biblical modesty during this experience?

Candace Cameron Bure (right) and her family. | Candace Cameron Bure/Facebook

Cameron Bure: I think one of the standout things for me is that modesty, when talked about in the Bible, is not just about hemlines and necklines. And I think so many of us only choose to focus on that. That becomes the focus, yet modesty is so much more about character and it's about the way we handle things. It's about the way we speak to one another, the way we carry ourselves, the way we treat one another. And so it encompasses so much more. And the other part, which wasn't really new to me, is that it becomes difficult when Christians talk about modesty amongst one another, because everyone really has a different standard of what that is for them. Some people are more liberal about things and some people are more conservative. You can't please everyone, because nobody's standard is going to be the same, because it's not totally black and white written in the Word. So then it comes down to conviction and what you're comfortable with. Or if you're married, what your husband is comfortable with -- there are other factors that fit into it. I just have to realize I need to stay true to me and realize that I'm going to stand before God one day. Nobody is going to stand there for me, so I have to do what I believe is right and I'll be held accountable to that. Women need to give each other a break. We call out each other so much, when there are different standards because of different cultures and upbringings and backgrounds. I wish we could all be more supportive of one another instead of calling each other out or shaming one another.

Candace with her husband of 19 years, Val Bure, a Russian former professional ice hockey player. | Candace Cameron Bure/Facebook

CE: There will be some women and girls who read what you said, and they'll interpret that you just said "anything goes." How do you balance what you said with the attitude our culture has of if you got it, flaunt it?

Cameron Bure: I'm a mom. "You got it flaunt it"? – I say flaunt your brains and flaunt your heart and flaunt the love you have for one another. Our self-esteem and our self-respect should never be based on physicality. I'm always teaching that beauty is truly from the heart. But at the same time, I would never want my daughter or me to be ashamed of our bodies. It doesn't mean we need to show it off. Again, that comes down to what you would be comfortable with before God. It is tricky, because I think a lot of Christians, we end up being ashamed of our bodies, because we're told that if anything shows then we are flaunting it. And that could be disrespectful to ourselves. So there is a fine line.

CE: Do you think it's becoming tougher for girls and teens to dress modest? Because there does seem to be a lot of peer pressure from media and society to be "in."

Cameron Bure: There has always been a struggle, and I think there always will be a struggle. Again, it all comes down to parents and what they're teaching their kids. What I teach my daughter is, "Your beauty is before the Lord, and it doesn't come from people and it doesn't come from the way we look. That beauty is inside." But it's difficult because of peer pressure, and when girls look at what girls are wearing on television or in magazines. The culture changes with kids, and as a mom I win some battles and I lose some battles – not necessarily just with clothes. It comes down to teaching self-respect and where we get that from and not trying to find love from others by the way we look.

CE: What do you hope people learn from "Dancing Through Life"?

Cameron Bure: Life is a race, to quote Paul. You're running this race called life. And we can go for the perishable crown – we can go for all the stuff the world has to offer. Or we can run for that imperishable crown of eternal life. It's how well you run the race here on earth, and having the courage to do so -- that's just a huge thing I learned. I found courage and perseverance to do something I never thought I'd do, to step outside my comfort zone and really push through that. It was difficult, and life has difficult circumstances. I want people to be encouraged and inspired, and to really focus on the bigger picture in life's race.

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