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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Junior moment: 64 minutes with Angela Shelton

Thursday, March 25, 2010

She was eating cake-batter ice cream; I was finishing up a taco. Somehow, the conversation kept returning to that ice cream, but she won't know about the taco until she reads this article.

Something tells me she will not be offended to discover I was finishing up my supper while talking to her. It was much more laid back than her interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2003, for instance. I can safely say it was the most laid back interview of my young journalistic career.

After talking to Angela Shelton for precisely 64 minutes Tuesday night, it was evident to me why she was so laid back, though she could have easily let her past dictate otherwise.

Shelton has been through a lot and those circumstances have been well-documented in books, movies, shows, interviews and award-winning articles.

Not only is she utilizing her present and future to respond to her past, but also the past of anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted or abused in any way.

She started delving into other women's past by first searching for others with her name, a process I cannot duplicate. (As far as I know, there is only one other Gabe Licht in the world.) It was shocking that a majority of the 40 Angela Sheltons who talked to her had been victims of child sex abuse, rape, domestic abuse or a combination of the three.

That would inspire anyone to devote his or her life to inspiring others in hopes of breaking the cycle of those vile acts and their consequences.

"Really, the people who I met, the survivors who were inspired by my life, they inspired me; there was a give and take," she said. "Seeing people heal and get better, it's just amazing. It's the best thing I've ever done, beside write 12 rock and roll songs."

A visit to angelashelton.com will yield a view of her most recent "music video" called "Funky Monkey," which is far from rock and roll. But it is fun.

"I lead a joyful life. My goal is to spread that because that's how we can end the cycle," she said, adding later, "Joy and violence cannot co-exist."

In line with that credo, she asked me to write a rap for her to film. I have obliged and the proof will be coming soon to a youtube address near you.

Promoting joy has always been a goal of Shelton's and hosting Saturday Night Live has been her dream since she was a kid. In the meantime, she's shopping three comedy movie scripts -- including an action comedy movie -- and a TV series script to producers in Hollywood.

I'm strongly considering pioneering a Facebook page in support of Shelton's bid to host SNL. After all, a similar page for Betty White has 512,101 fans as of 5:41 Wednesday evening. Coincidentally, Betty White is among the list of people Shelton would like to write movie parts for, right up there with Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.

"Jim Carrey is the only person I've ever been flustered by," she confessed. "He said, 'You can say hi.' I said 'hi' and then I peed on myself a little bit."

That statement shows Shelton is comfortable with full self-disclosure about her past, whether it be humorous or serious.

"I'm very open ... I'm very authentic about my own story. That's helped people come forward with their own stories," she said. "It's been amazing (but) it's hard. It hasn't been a cake walk."

Again with the cake, which ties right in with an anecdote Shelton shared about a twitter party she was having.

"There was a girl ... she's a socialite. She wants to be the girl with the most cake -- that's her profile. I started making her a cake. She couldn't believe it... That's what I'm about. Don't be a hater, make her a cake."

So, there you have it. Not only can Shelton write books, create screenplays and make people laugh and cry at the same time, but she's also more than happy to bake a cake for someone.

If I had to guess, I would say cake is her second favorite thing.

Gabe Licht
Junior Moments