Barbara Niven is definitely living her dreams! She’s one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses, shooting sixteen films and several guest star roles in the past two years alone. She’s also on the National Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild.
Barbara says she is living proof that anyone can make his or her dreams come true, at any age. She loves to inspire others, and has even started a Dreamers Network on her website to help other people get the courage to make their dreams come true as well. Her motto is: "Don’t settle for less than wonderful in your life! And don’t give up five minutes before the miracle." And because she’s been there, done that, there’s also an Eating Disorders/Cutters message board where people can go to, to start getting help. She also speaks at ED Seminars to get the message out. "Every day I hear from someone who says something on my website has inspired them or made a difference. It doesn’t get much better than that."
A native of Portland, Oregon, Niven’s upbringing hardly suggested the career she chose to pursue. She dreamed of being an actress and writer – and loved being the center of attention as a child – but Niven was also decidedly a tomboy. She grew up with a horse in her backyard, and went hunting and fishing with the guys. She even taught duck calling! She married at a young age and had a daughter. She’s proud her daughter is going after her own dreams now, in Environmental Education. “That is the best gift I could have given her, watching me fight for my dreams, so that she now has the courage to make her own dreams and destiny come true.”
Niven had put her own dreams on hold while she became a wife and mother. Finally, one day she received something in the mail from her upcoming ten year high school reunion, asking, “Are you where you thought you’d be ten years ago?” She says it hit her like a ton of bricks that she was only living everybody else’s idea of who she should be. She decided she didn’t want to wind up wondering what if at the end of her life. So despite being a single mother, and hearing that it was impossible without a degree, she talked her way into a news internship at Portland‘s NBC affiliate, KGW, and sold her first story to network. But she realized she wasn’t suited for news and discovered acting. "Other than being a mother, acting has been the best thing in my life, the two things I am really good at."
When she is not in front of the camera, Barbara takes time to pursue other aspects that enrich her life. She still loves horses, and just got back from a weeklong stay at a cattle ranch in Montana, learning to herd and cut cattle. She considers herself a computer geek, and has recently taken up golf (she says she has a “magic putter”). She’s also a motivational speaker and lends her support to numerous charitable organizations and speaks at Eating Disorder seminars.
Reprinted and submitted by Barbara Niven/Shadoeworks® March 2006