"When I get an idea that I believe could help even one person, I chase it until it is completed. Being your #1 advocate is always important. You are your own CEO.”
Grace Wethor’s story is certainly a unique one. Along with being a skilled actress and model, Grace has also become a health activist, after being diagnosed with brain cancer when she was thirteen. Her experiences as an actress, model and activist show her ambitious and optimistic perception of the world, and she paves the way as an inspiration to many.
Grace was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she first began acting and modeling. "I grew up doing theater and always loved performing,” she says. “I got my first agency in my hometown when I was twelve years old and started working in commercial/print. Eventually, we decided it was time to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue acting and modeling full force!"
She currently lives in Beverly Hills, balancing her career along with online school. Managing both “definitely gets hard at times,” she says “but mapping out what I have to do always helps me grasp the workload. I also believe having downtime is very important and makes you more productive when those crazy busy days come."
When Grace was thirteen, she was confronted with a unique struggle, being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Since her diagnosis, she has turned her situation into an opportunity to try to help others, working as a brain cancer and health activist. “I believe everyone should pursue their dreams no matter their situation,” she says. “I work every day to reach young people dealing with medical hardships in any way I can."
Finding acceptance and optimism in a situation like hers wasn’t easy. “When I was diagnosed there was no medical treatment available for me,” she says. “I was sent home and told to come back every month to monitor it.” She saw taking a role in activism as a way to help others in her situation. “I didn't want to sit back and watch others go through the illness because I had become aware of all of the hardships it brings. Becoming active in the community was my way of doing something physical and helping in any way I could.”
Since Grace began her work as an activist, she’s had several impressive accomplishments. She gave a TED Talk at age 15, released her first book “You’re So Lucky'' at 16, started a non-profit that provides musical therapy to cancer survivors, last year was featured in both Vogue and Forbes Magazine, spoke at the United Nations, and is currently in the process of co-directing her debut film, “Mad World”--just to name a few. With this extensive list of accomplishments, she reflects on her motivation behind her work. “The reason I do what I do is to reach young people and show you can pursue your passions no matter your situation or illness,” she says. “To receive messages from cancer survivors saying they read my book or my TED Talk inspired them is extremely rewarding. Anything I work on that affects the people around me is a proud moment.”
With this, she argues that anyone can pursue their passions. “Most of my opportunities come from myself and my crazy ideas,” she says. When I get an idea that I believe could help even one person, I chase it until it is completed. Being your #1 advocate is always important. You are your own CEO.”
She also argues for the importance of perseverance, whether through activism, modeling, or acting. “Perseverance is the most important thing when pursuing anything unconventional,” she says. “When you want to achieve something that is “different”, people won’t always be receptive right away. Sticking to your morals and continuing to pursue your passions will ultimately lead to success. Entertainment is a hard industry to be a part of because rejection is a HUGE part of the job. However, If you know it is what you are meant to do, eventually something will come your way. With activism, it is the same thing. People won’t always believe in your vision but if you are consistent, you will find supporters and people who believe in you 100%.”
Grace’s optimism has played an important role in her life, both through her diagnosis and working in a creative industry. “I believe perspective is everything,” she says. “If you have positive energy you attract positive things. It isn't always easy to keep this point of view, especially with an illness, but training your brain to think positively will ultimately make it become a habit and be your default! Brain cancer has made me realize that we don't have control over the events that happen to us. 'Bad' things may occur in our life but the choice to be positive, change your perspective, and go for your goals… well, that’s all up to us.”
You can check out more of Grace's work here: https://www.instagram.com/gracewethor/
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.