Interview by Ria Pavia
Karen Pamintuan is a rare gem. Aside from being an equestrienne, she’s an animal rights activist, model, host, and even used to be a radio DJ! This lady does it all. Despite her busy schedule, though, she always makes time for her faith. A devout Christian, she gamely talks about her faith in the interview she so graciously granted me for Salt & Light.
RP: Were you raised in a born-again Christian household? What was your relationship with Christ like coming up?
Karen: Growing up, my dad was Catholic and my mom then became a born-again Christian, all the while I attended an Episcopalian school. However, a lot of my teachers seemed to have been born-again, and from what I could remember, what stuck to me most was going to a born-again Church. I must say, it was all a bit confusing, but at the end of the day, one thing stuck to me among it all - and that was Jesus. It took me a long time to get to know him, and to build my relationship, but the fact I knew he was there helped me growing up.
RP: When did you come to accept Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior? Could you share your salvation testimony with us?
Karen: I’ve been going for the past two years to VCF - I was first invited by my two friends, and then I started to go on my own eventually. It was during New Years service in 2010 - when I decided to surrender, a concept I had always heard about but never came to understand until then. I decided to give my life to the Lord then, to really stop taking control and knowing that He was in control. We each filled in a card that showed what our “resolutions” were, and every year I had always written a list, burned it and although it always started with a prayer, I always asked for so many things, specific things… It was the first New Year that I let those things go, and I wrote one thing: “Lord, I pray for your will. Whatever your plan is for me, I accept it.” My life changed then, and God healed my heart and continues to do so.
My journey is never ending, every single day I learn more and more from him. I even learned that when tough stuff comes my way, it is a blessing too. My relationship with the Lord went from seeing him as a higher unapproachable entity to seeing him as my father, my friend and my comfort. I lay my entire life at his feet, and I know that he knows what is best for me.
RP: How do you stay so humble despite being absolutely beautiful—do you have a set definition of beauty? How do you feel about being in magazines and even hosting a show?
Karen: I’ve always been baffled about the idea of changing just because we’re in this industry - to me God gave each of us gifts, and I am very blessed and thankful for them. I love the show I’m in, and also because not only is it such a blessing, but the team that I work with are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Having been in this industry for about 11 years now, I have met many wonderful people and have learned many things being here. I view it as a platform for positivity, another way to spread God’s word.
As for a definition of beauty? I believe everyone is beautiful, we are all made in His image. Sure, we don’t all look alike, but isn’t our relationship with God unique? That uniqueness is what makes someone beautiful… even more? Someone who loves God above all else, and continues to strengthen their faith with positivity and love.
RP: You’ve done a lot of things in the entertainment scene and the sports world; are the two similar at all? Different? Do you have a preference?
Karen: Yes, a lot of it is similar. Taking for example being an equestrian, having ridden since I was the age of three, everyday provides me new insights and lessons. Training humbles me - I am working with another athlete and partner. They feel what we feel and they wait for our signals - they trust us, this 1200lbs animal waits on us? I learned what true love was through my animals and see that they are also a messenger of God’s. They have taught me love and patience, and trust. I take what I learn there and apply it to my life, and in the entertainment field. You cannot go into the entertainment field without being aware that people do look at you, people do listen to you - so, take it as a lesson too, as a place to find humility, and responsibility - whatever you do or say may be scrutinized, so be aware of that and be a positive example.Its not about what other people think, it just feels better when you do things right, you don’t step on toes.. sure, the path might be the road less travelled, but at the end - its all worth it. :)
RP: Out of every job you’ve ever had, what’s your favorite?
Karen: I think my job right now, as the host of Listed on the Lifestyle Network is my favorite job so far. I have hosted other shows, but what makes this unique is the company I keep. Culture Shock Productions and the Lifestyle Network are like family to me - amazing people who make me believe in the goodness and creativity of our industry. <3 I am so blessed to be working with this wonderful team!
RP: Fashion-wise, do you follow certain “bible dress codes”? In terms of modesty, that is. (Bonus question: Is there such a thing as ‘too much’?)
Karen: This is an interesting question, as I dress mostly based on comfort (I’m a t-t-shirt, jeans, shorts kind of girl). I think throughout my life, I think you just know when certain outfits are indecent, or just not right for the occasion. Take for example a bikini, I wear one when I am in the beach or in a swimming pool - but I don’t think you’ll catch me in a shoot with that just to be sexy or to wear it for no apparent reason. I think it’s just about being tasteful, and knowing where your boundaries and limits are.
RP: Did your support for animal rights stem from your horseback riding, or did something else set that off?
Karen: I spent my childhood around animals, and I took that and taught my nephew to love animals - it makes such a difference, not only in the lives of the animals, but also for our youth and our future. My relationship with my pets is very personal to me, and as I said earlier, I learned what love and compassion was through my relationship with my pets. I’ve had horses and dogs, even a goat, that have touched my life - taught me things… I want to be that voice for them, and the best way to do that is to start at home. You can get a peek at one particular pet of mine, Zoey, who made such an impact on me and actually helped me on my spiritual journey: lessonsfromzoey.tumblr.com
RP: How do you think you become ‘salt and light’ in the entertainment industry, especially within the temptations of craving for fame and fortune?
Karen: I honestly don’t know if I am really “salt and light” in the industry, all I know is I want to live my life according to God’s will. His plan for me above it all - and I think that’s all that keeps me grounded. I’m not in this for fame and fortune, I am happy to be able to do what I love which is host, and as I said earlier, if it so happens that people are looking at me or listening - I’d like to be a positive influence, if any. I tweet a lot of verses and thoughts I have to remind myself mostly, and to put it out there. Social networking is a way that we can connect - and a year ago I decided to only tweet positivity and my love for Christ. It makes me happy, and keeps me afloat even with whatever storms come my way. I love God so much, above all things - and sometimes we get cold, but I always pray he will continue to strengthen my faith and love for him, that it will grow each and everyday. He is so amazing that he always opens his arms for us, forgiving us even when we don’t deserve it.
RP: Right now, as you mentioned earlier, you host Listed; could you tell us a little more about that?
Karen: Listed airs on the Lifestyle Network (ch 52 on sky cable) every Tuesday at 9pm with replays. Listed is a lifestyle show that takes us around the country and the metro, finding all the latest things to do and great places to go. Up to date and basically a lighthearted and fun show - I get to eat, work out, travel, and meet new people. We raise the bar, live the high life and get all these hot spots Listed. ;)
RP: What words of wisdom do you think you could share to other girls who aspire to be like you in the entertainment scene and/or the horse circuit?
Karen: Learn from the ups and downs, we may have many of them - but its all about how you get up and face the day. I always say, there is no such thing as a bad day - I have put my life in God’s hands, from anything and everything I do - even my career, and if it’s meant for you, God will put all these successes in front of you. Be humbled by what you learn and by what you achieve - they are all blessings. Chin up - how can we fall when we always have God’s hand on us to lift us up?
Each and every time. :)
It was a pleasure to be able to interview one of my personal role models. Thank you, Karen, for being so open with us! I certainly learned a lot. Here’s hoping more young women out there, whether or not they plan to enter the entertainment scene or pursue something else entirely, have the same passion you do - for Jesus and everything else.