You might know Alexa PenaVega best for her roles in movies like Spy Kids and Twister, but she’s so much more than an actress. As a YouTuber, blogger, author, wife and mom, Alexa is constantly envisioning new ways to tell stories with her life.
Those stories are informed by her faith, which has been an anchor point throughout her adult life. The same has been true for her husband Carlos PenaVega, who she has been married to since 2014. Together, the couple has three lively boys, and the family is consistently exploring what it looks like to embody love. The most recent way they’re doing that is through the book What if Love is the Point?, available on June 28 from Thomas Nelson.
On this episode of Trevor Talks, Alexa talks about the book, growing up as a child star, her journey into faith and recovery from her eating disorder. It’s a down-to-earth conversation sure to leave you encouraged about what can happen when we truly surrender to our purpose.
Get What if Love is the Point? from Thomas Nelson,
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Alexa PenaVega 0:00
But I do believe that there are plenty of people who,
Alexa PenaVega 0:05
who just want to be respected and feel loved. And that's like also why we wrote this. This book is like, what if love is the point like, at the end of the day, it all comes back to when you show love regardless of your differences, that really breaks barriers and boundaries. And like the division that's out there, like love really solves that.
Trevor Tyson 0:25
Thank you for tuning in to Trevor talks podcast where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today's guest is a powerhouse actress, YouTuber, blogger, mother, and now an author, which is a mouthful to say, and she's a lot cooler than I am. So we'll just get that right off the bus there. You probably know her from starring and roles and Spy Kids Twister, and she's now residing as the Queen of the Hallmark Channel. Her and her husband have a brand new book on the way titled What if love is the point living for Jesus and a self consumed world. And
Trevor Tyson 1:04
I don't know if you guys are ready for this. I don't know if I'm ready for this, but we're just gonna go for it. Anyway. Please help me welcome Miss Alexa PenaVega. Alexa, welcome. Can I just tell you, I have never had an intro like that. You just made me sound way cool. I actually am. But I'll take it because I'm a mom of three now. So I need all the cool points that I can. Well, you got cool points with me when I was doing research for this and found a video that you and your husband did where your baby had just literally defecate.
Trevor Tyson 1:39
And you're just like, he's like, don't freak out. And you're like
Trevor Tyson 1:47
yeah, that's a vulnerability. Everybody needs to see this stuff, no matter how you it may seem like it was funny. So thank you for providing great content for me to get kicks and giggles out of
Alexa PenaVega 1:57
parenting is the most humbling thing you will experience in your life. They don't care who you are or what you do. You are their servant.
Trevor Tyson 2:07
That's usually how it goes with kids. And I haven't had that experience yet. But I was just with some friends yesterday. And they have an I guess he's about to be a year old, which is crazy. And I was just hearing all the stories of raising a child and being a first time parent. And I'm like, You know what? That that that'll be the wife for me one day, but you're living at times three. So yeah, into the thick of it. With having three kids and keeping up with a schedule, like I said, you have your first book coming out, and it'll be out by the time this episode airs. You're maintaining an acting career. You have the YouTube channel, you're blogging, you're doing all of these things. Where do you find time and sanity for all this on top of raising three children?
Alexa PenaVega 2:53
You are asking the question we ask ourselves daily. No, you know what we have really, this is gonna sound maybe a little corny, but we really feel like the last five years, God has really helped us with foundation building in our family and in our lives. And it was all leading up for the season that we're entering right now. This is the busiest season we've ever been in. And it was literally like he had been just molding us over these last five years. Like, we know that God molds us all the time. And when like, we surrender to Him, like he will just totally operate fully in your life. But like, with the scenarios that we've recently gone through, or like not recently, but like over the last five years have gone through the circumstances, all sorts of things. It was like small scale compared to what we're about to be catapulted into. And we just had this revelation of like, wow, we have been almost like, not a creepy way, but like in a great way groomed for what we are about to do right now. And we just feel a lot of peace and grace, even though we know it's a crazy season. It's filled with peace.
Trevor Tyson 4:06
Well, it's getting crazier. Your husband is about to hop on a tour bus with all of you for a 40 city tour. Yes. And is co authored by the both of you. So we get one half of the pen of Vegas today, which I'm super excited. Thrilled. Carlos. Well, we get to dive into your story. I love it. I just love it. So I was a little bit about this tour. He's gonna jump on and then I want to dive into the message of the book and what's going on in your life.
Alexa PenaVega 4:33
Great. Okay, so Carlos used to be on a TV show on Nickelodeon called Big Time Rush. And it was also a very successful boy band back in the day, the show ended and they all took a break. And I think enough time has passed where they were like, You know what, let's just let's just go for it again. We love making music. We love performing. It took years to make it all happen just because like the rights were owned by Nickelodeon and all sorts of things but they finally worked out a deal to where they could make new music again and go on tour. So it all happened to be at the same time that like, God brought us this book opportunity. So it's all happening within the same month, let's just kind of wild. They start their tour, June 21. And our book comes out. Oh, wait, no, June 23 is their first show and our book comes out June 28. So it's been a roller coaster of a ride, but it's really exciting, and their new music is pretty awesome.
Trevor Tyson 5:29
Well, I'm excited for fans to get to hear it. And as you said, Big Time Rush. I'm like, I think that theme song popped in my head, like gonna make a peak. Yeah. Remember that until now, So praise God. Like, that's gonna be awesome. Like, arena tour. You're gonna have all the kids out with you. Like we were talking about before we started recording. How does it feel like it's gonna be like a big camping trip for them, except there's Reno's dressing rooms catering. No,
Alexa PenaVega 5:57
it's It's glamping it's very much glamping. Well, you saw you saw the video where my child pooped all over the boat. So I don't know if you could tell. But what where she was actually sitting, we were on a boat. So we live on a boat whenever we're not at home, on the island. So for us, we're used to smaller quarters, we're used to that smaller space. The kids are really good about it. So being on a tour bus will kind of be like being on the boat, except the tour bus is definitely bougie. It's like a band bus. So we have nothing to complain about. But what I am most excited for is our kids have only ever known daddy as dad. Like he's the guy who mows the lawn who fixes sprinklers, who helps like who paints the house, like Carlos is such a handyman at home that they don't know this side to daddy. And he was rehearsing with all the boys, the Big Time Rush boys. And I brought the kids into rehearsal. And I watched ocean completely change. He was he walked in and he saw Carlos dancing and singing. And his face just froze. And his jaw just like dropped like his mouth was wide open. And the second Carlos was was done singing, he ran up to him and hugged him and said, I'm so proud of you, daddy. And we were just like, we had no idea that that would be his reaction. But it was as if he discovered a superhero. That happened to be his dad, it was just the coolest thing to see as a mom and just filled my heart. So I can't wait for them to actually see him perform for real, not even a rehearsal, but like a real performance.
Trevor Tyson 7:30
Well, that's a beautiful story to hear. Especially like at the beginning of the book. I was so intrigued with the fact that you open up with Carlos story of getting an acting and Big Time Rush like hearing how he moved to LA, he didn't get the roles that he wanted, he got in trouble for his grades or something and then moved back. And then he figured out he got hired for Big Time Rush like, I had never heard the backstory for Carlos, which was super encouraging. And it's such an awesome way to start the book and really grab someone's attention. So amazing job on that point. But it's funny to me personally how this interview was so full circle, like not only for me, but most likely a lot of our listeners as well, simply because we grew up with you and Carlos like the music video you did for I think it was Spy Kids too. Or no, it was like, the whole I don't know if it'd be Italian vibe or whatever the guitars were like, it was just so Latin. It was so spanic Yeah, and that was stuck in my head for years. Like I loved like she's gonna Carmen is gonna have a song on this one and this and that. And it's so funny to sit down and have a conversation now because my favorite movie of all time is Twister number one, because I'm way tornadoes. Like I want to go to Oklahoma and go storm chasing. So if there are any storm chasers listening, oh, literally hop on a plane tomorrow. I don't care. But I also grew up watching Spy Kids. So this is so interesting. And just full circle. So thank you for taking time to do this. Heck yeah, of course, like we grew up with you. And like even a Machete Kills like we got to see a different side of you. But we've gotten to see you, like go through the motions and experience of life as a whole and entertainment. One thing a lot of people don't realize is even from the podcasting circuit, when you do something you're putting yourself out there for critique. You're putting yourself out there with a lot of vulnerabilities. And sometimes you have to trial and error. So like growing up as a child star no matter how cringy that sounds, because it does get a bad rap about how SARS, ticking a veer left no pun intended. And such like it had to be different for you. But you've been able to maintain yourself in a manner that is not only honoring God, but it's setting a great example for your children and children and young adults all over the world. So what are some of the things that have happened in your life that have led you to the success that you're in today like not only in the public eyes but God's eyes.
Alexa PenaVega 10:01
Oh, wow. Well, that's a that's an awesome question. Um, the number one thing would be grace because I definitely have fallen short. So many times, like, there's, there's just so much that I really did learn along the way and had to learn the hard way. So something I talked about in the book is like I, while I didn't fall into like the drugs and alcohol side of like, what the child starlets or whatever fall into, I did fall into an eating disorder a really, really bad one that I had for years. And it was just this deep, deep, dark secret that I was so ashamed of so afraid of anybody finding out that I lived in this prison of secrecy. And I was just so trapped in that. And then, you know, just also discovering, career wise, like, God, like, I love movies, I love being a part of the entertainment industry. But what does that look like now that I'm diving deeper with you? And now that I really want to represent the kingdom? Like, does that mean, I can't take certain roles does that mean I can only do Christian roles. So like, what I've learned over these years, one was like, God totally restored me and pulled me out of the disordered eating that I went through. And that was a miracle in itself, and a whole story, which I can go into if you want me to. But there was that. And then there was the conviction of like, hey, look, I want you to be a storyteller, like I gave you this gift. But I want you to choose wisely. As to the story you're telling, like, are you? You don't have to say Jesus and every movie you do, but are you honoring people in this role? Like, are you going to either cause, you know, more damage and more harm than good? Or is this gonna actually be good for somebody's heart? So I really had to look at each character because it doesn't mean you can't play like a drug addict, or, you know, an abusive mother or whatever it might be. But what's the redemption is in it? What's the point? Like, how does it end, because a lot of times nowadays, like movies are just going there to go there. They're pushing these boundaries that are so unnecessary. And it really doesn't do anything for the story. It actually takes away from the storytelling I've found. So I've been very fortunate that God has like really just covered us in the season that we're in. But I do feel like we're about to enter a new season, there are a couple of amazing projects that are just on the horizon that I'm excited to share with everybody. But we're not allowed to announce yet. But it definitely portray some of the stuff that I'm talking about. But it's basically making worldly content, but from a Kingdom Hearts, so it's for the world, but it's like covertly Kingdom hearted.
Trevor Tyson 12:43
Oh, I love that so much. And keeping your head on as a conservative in Hollywood sounds like in the headache or for the correct gamer. That has to be interesting on its own, especially being outspokenly. Conservative. We've talked to Missy Robertson of Duck Dynasty, and then John Cooper about similar stuff. But this is the first interview we've had with someone being like, not even as politically charged, I wouldn't say politically charged just conservative, having conservative morals and operating in Hollywood. Yeah. So like, having that sustained in your children and having all of these roles happening for you in Hollywood, it has to be unique. And you have to have a lot of unique conversations with people of the different sides of the spectrum. Have you found that to be challenging at all? Or is it something that you just feel as if Hey, this is my moral obligation, I would love to share my beliefs with you. But I'm not going to judge you for years,
Alexa PenaVega 13:38
I think because I don't I don't believe I've ever been disrespectful of other people's beliefs. That doesn't mean that people who don't know me, don't talk trash on social media and say the things that they say, but I've never been anything other than me. And I've always been very honest. Like, the one thing we try to do on social media is just be super vulnerable to show people, the ups and the downs. And they're just raw living for Jesus and what that looks like. So I think, because we've just always been very real and not aggressively attacking anybody, but just talking about what our beliefs are. We've been, for the most part really respected on that. And, and it's funny because, like our teams that we work with on a day to day basis, we have completely opposing views. I mean, you're talking like atheists, who are like pro choice, like everything that we're actually like that we that we don't promote. They are right, but it's funny because we have this beautiful balance that we'd like work in harmony. And the conversations that we have, especially especially when like the world was kind of going really really crazy and there was so much division. I remember, one of our team members called me and she was like I just want to say I love you eyes. And I know we have totally opposing views on so many things. But I just have such a respect for you. And that'll never go away. Because I know your hearts. And I know you really care about people. And it meant so much to me to hear that because also at the time, like we were getting totally thrown under the bus on social media, and we just we didn't do anything like it wasn't like we said anything, we were just continuing to be exactly what we've been all of these years. But suddenly, it was attacked. So her saying that was just kind of nice, because it was such a reminder of, at the end of the day, it comes down to, I think, like the human heart. And for us, like we just want Kingdom Hearts. And however we represent the kingdom like that's what's most important to us, whether it's popular or not. But I do believe that there are plenty of people who, who just want to be respected and feel loved. And that's like, also why we wrote this. This book is like, what if love is the point like at the end of the day, it all comes back to when you show love regardless of your differences, that really breaks barriers and boundaries. And like the division that's out there, like love really solves that.
Trevor Tyson 16:12
Yeah. And when it comes to the creative aspect of what you do with YouTube and acting, blogging, and now writing a book, how are you able to differentiate like, Okay, this needs to be a video, but wait, this needs to be a book, like, what if love is the point,
Alexa PenaVega 16:31
right? Okay. So years ago, right after we first got married, we knew we wanted to write a book God had already done so much in our lives that we were like, We have to talk about this. And also, it was a time. And I think we're still in that time where like, man, people don't get married as often anymore. And that marriage looks like something that this it's like a weight on your life as opposed to this holy place that you get to live in. So we just really wanted to shine a light on marriage. So we came up with this one sheet, and it was called What's the point? And at the time, we were and we talked about in the book, like we experienced living in this house from hell where like, it flooded. One thing after another was happening. And I'm not I don't use that word. That's like a literal, it was like from the devil. We got to pray over that house. It was a mess. So for us, we just learned so much and all of the seasons. And every time we came against something that was difficult. We were like, Okay, God, what's the point? What are you trying to teach us here? Even in like our successes, we were like, Okay, what's the point? You're giving us this? Like abundance right now? What's the point? What are we supposed to do with it? So it was just a question that we kept coming back to on a daily basis. And we were just like, we want to write a book about this. And we didn't want to push it though. We didn't want to force it. We knew it would all come out in God's timing. So our prayer was just God, when you want us to write a book, we're ready. And normally, you have to shop ideas around among like, amongst different editors are different book companies, right? No, like for us. We went the backwards route, a book company approached us Thomas Nelson. And they were like, hey, we want you guys to write a book. And we were like, funny you say that, because we have years of testimonies that we would love to share.
Trevor Tyson 18:18
That is phenomenal. And with that being said, like when it came to actually piecing this together and crafting the story that you share in the book, and all these stories as a collective. Was that hard for you? Because I've sat down and tried to collect thoughts and the like, oh, maybe this is a book or maybe this is a chapter for a book. And I'm like, oh, like, you're gonna need an editor times 10 for.
Alexa PenaVega 18:41
So let me say this. We wrote a book. Okay, great. Thank God for this amazing Angel, Margo Starbuck, who went alongside with us in this journey, because she really, we had so many thoughts, like you said, and like, oh, this story, and then like, trying to remember everything. She was just navigating us and steering us and like, Hey, this is really good. Let's go down this path. And she has an ear for it. She knows what to look for. So we actually would get on the phone with Margo. And it was like these long therapy sessions because if you don't like we don't think about this stuff on a daily, you know, you go about your life, but really having a deep dive into stuff history, like especially personal family history, stuff that we had gone through when we were younger stuff that we just didn't think about for years. It was actually very therapeutic and healing to have to kind of bring all this back up and jump into and very revealing going oh my gosh, God, I know you've always been in my life that you really like right there. Like just what we unveiled throughout this book writing process was really, really wild. But super praising Margo Starbuck because she helped navigate and make this book what it was because in the beginning, it was just about a bunch of thoughts and ideas and she helped us mold it into an actual book.
Trevor Tyson 19:59
How Love that and shout out to Margot Starbuck, I love that name. That's wild, cool name. Like, Yeah, girl. Go ahead with it, you got the name right there, she really does, which is awesome. And when you write a book with somebody like that becomes your lifelong friend at that point, for sure. A lot of friends that have written editors and such, and they like, come over for dinner, all this other stuff. And it's like, you get on that level with somebody and they know everything about you. They know everything
Alexa PenaVega 20:31
about you the stuff that didn't make the book and the stuff that's in the book. There's plenty that did not make the
Trevor Tyson 20:37
good, the bad, and the ugly. So if anybody needs some dirt on nevermind,
Unknown Speaker 20:42
just call Margo, if you need to
Trevor Tyson 20:45
know, but I'm really curious to hear like pre Spy Kids and everything. Like your story as a whole. Like we've talked about Carlos story. We've talked about the book, I really want to hear your deep dive into how you, the woman that you are today. And it's so interesting to think about, like, Twister you were just a little nugget and Spy Kids. Like you had already been in Twister. But that wasn't like the earth shattering career move for you yet. Like it was a huge film. But you you really broke through with Spy Kids. And yeah, fame doesn't happen overnight. Nor do I get the vibe that it's affected you negatively at this point? And if it has you've steered clear from it, and I commend you for that. But what's the story behind Alexa PenaVega?
Alexa PenaVega 21:32
Okay, the story, um, you know, I ever since I was little, I loved entertaining people, I love being able to make people laugh and smile. And that was so exciting when somebody would laugh at something that I did or smile after, like a performance. So you could tell I was I don't know, I might have been really annoying, or a ham. But still, it was within me early, early on. So when my mom allowed me to pursue that, it was a dream come true, because I really knew what I wanted to do from a very, very young age. And then God really had his hand and everything. I was so blessed with the career that I had before Spy Kids, I really was able to do a whole whole bunch. And then when Spy Kids came along, we didn't have social media back then we didn't have this form of communication that we do right now. And that was the biggest blessing ever. Because when we made Spy Kids, we didn't know like, we just thought, Okay, it's just another movie. And I know that might sound like weird saying just another movie. But for me, it was worth like, I show up to work, I do my job on set, and then I get to go back and either go to school or go back home and play with my sisters. There wasn't this like, idea or thought that like I'm an actress. It was just like, Yeah, I just do this. It was like playing dress up. Literally, that is the best way I can explain it. So then when spike hits had the success that it did, we were still so protected because we didn't have this social media aspect of like, followers or likes or people commenting like it was just articles that were written. And I remember Spy Kids, too, had come out and we were doing the press junket. And right next door of the press junket, they had the triple X press junket, with Vin Diesel, and then diesel walks out. And you know, we love Fast and Furious. This is the new Vin Diesel movie. And we're just like, that's been diesel. And he came over and he was the nicest guy. And just like so loved on us told us we were the coolest kids ever. And I remember just being like, in awe of like, just shocked that Vin Diesel was telling us that we're cool. And then the next morning, a New York Times article came out about Spy Kids saying, well, it literally said, Forget Vin Diesel for my money. I want to go see Alexa Vega and Spy Kids. And I remember being so conflicted because it was the coolest article. We're all like, he said that about me, but also like, but he's the nicest guy. I hope his feelings are like, you know, just being so conflicted with the article. But like, that was the extent of stardom for us. I knew there were red carpets and whatnot, but like we just had such like tight knit families that and I just saw Darrell yesterday, I haven't seen him in six years. And he played my little brother journey. And, and I saw him yesterday, he turned 30 yesterday, and we were just both like, what a wild ride. And thank God we didn't have social media because we were just kids on set. And whenever we weren't filming we were playing or breakdancing, or beating each other up like we just had the best time on the sets. And it just makes me sad because I don't see a world where we get to go back to that wholesome time. I'm especially for kids. I'm just like all kid actors already have it rough. I mean, we did it, but I know a lot of other ones did. And I'm just like, I wish you had that kind of safe space.
Trevor Tyson 25:11
Yeah. Well, you guys had a great brother sister dynamic on camera. So I was very real
Alexa PenaVega 25:17
mother and wanted to kill each other on a daily basis.
Trevor Tyson 25:22
Well, it's funny because I just saw him I guess like a month or two ago, him and his wife and Meghan were on Tiger belly and Whitney Cummings podcast, and I was like, Dude married a pop star.
Unknown Speaker 25:36
We both married popstars.
Trevor Tyson 25:39
No are so much alike. Well, awesome to watch. So like another like full circle thing is like when I got the request for like this interview, I was like, how I'm getting this email, like, Y'all, let's think you're talking to somebody else. Like, it's so like, I see so much amazing fruit coming out of what you are doing. Like not only was gross, but just in general with providing people with encouragement with love. And just being a light in this dark world. Like, thank you so much for doing what you do.
Alexa PenaVega 26:14
Provide encouraging, thank you so much, like providing
Trevor Tyson 26:17
this book that just not only map out your stories, and what God's done in your life, but share your faith. So I'm curious to know, how old were you when faith came into the equation.
Alexa PenaVega 26:27
So it was really cool. When I was young, my mom was like, really diving in, I guess, and going to Bible studies and just different things. So she really instilled that love for Jesus early on. Unfortunately, as we got older, she kind of like faded away from that, and not that she doesn't like, believe in Jesus or God, like she still has a heart for God. But she doesn't. We just stopped going to church or to any sort of Bible study or anything. So when I was 13, we really just completely stopped. And I don't think it was on purpose. It just became, you know, there, there were so many kids, it just happen, like it was a very overwhelming thing. But God kept calling my heart like I just knew he was my safe place. I knew that he was like this constant peace in my life. So I just kept pursuing him, I would journal to him, I would try to read the Bible, the version of the Bible I had was only King James. And I did not understand one bit of it, but I did my best, but I would read it and just be like this. I don't get it. But I would just pray like that I understood it. And it's interesting now to like, go back and look at some of these journal entries because I forgot how deeply I really did love him when I was a child without understanding why even loved him, right. And then I got older, I got married, and I married somebody who didn't know God. And not that I stopped pursuing God, but it just didn't become the number one thing in my life. So when we did get a divorce, I realized I was like, I need your piece. And I don't want to keep living for myself or filling myself up with all these different, like things that I think will fill the void. I just want to go right to the source. So that's when I had been I had kept being bugged by my friend Andrew over and over and over again. Please come Bible study. I have a Bible study every Thursday like he had been doing this for years, okay, is the Bible study out of this house? And finally, I happened to be in town one of these Thursdays and I was like, Yes, I will go to your Bible study. I'm ready to dive in. And I showed up. And of course the first person I meet there's my now husband, Carlos.
Trevor Tyson 28:41
God thing. Wild you walk in and you meet your now husband. Yeah. There's so many of these stories that we could go on for hours. But do
Alexa PenaVega 28:54
you have a little bit longer FYI. Also given an extra little bit so
Trevor Tyson 28:59
well, that is amazing. I love it. But mapping in to like you what? How ironic that you meet your husband first. When you go to a Bible study. Like you finally go, you're like, Fine, I'll go and then boy band.
Alexa PenaVega 29:15
Oh, hold on. It was not even like that, that this is what's great. Okay, so, um, I was on my way. So Carlos had also just discovered Jesus like the week before, and he wanted to dive in. I know the timing. So he wanted to dive in. So literally, he encounters Jesus at church on Sunday, like the first time he's been a church since he was a kid. And, and Andrew and he went with our friend Andrew mutual friend, but we'd never met each other. And Andrew was like, why don't you come with me to Bible study on Thursday? I teach a Bible study and you should come So Carlos is like, alright, yeah, man. I just want more Jesus. I love Jesus. Also, his ex girlfriend was going to be there. So he was like, I'm going to try to win her back. because I'm now on a path that is worthy of like this. So I'm on my way to Bible study. And as I turn it in, he's in a gated community, as they turn into the gated community, I realize I'm in the wrong place. And I go to back up, and I pop my tires. And I now am like, stuck. I have these flat tires, and I can't get into the community. So I'm texting Andrew. He's like, I'm going to call it like, I'll call triple A hour, we still have Bible study right now. So I'll help you at like, as soon as it's over. So I'm just sitting there with my sister, and and we're waiting. Oh, wait, no. Was she there? No, it's just me. Sorry, this is overtime. But so I'm just sitting there and triple A comes and they're helping me out. And Andrew comes and he picks me up while they like take my car. And he brings me back. Now the whole time and Bible study, Carlos is giving his testimony. So I missed this whole testimony, which included how he would love to get back with his ex girlfriend, who's right there, and how he's living a better life now. So like they're talking, they're like having conversations in this Bible study that I missed. I don't know why my time like the I've never experienced that before. But that happened. So I arrived for fellowship after Bible study. And right when I walk in, I see this guy sitting on a counter, which is Carlos. And I just like wave just because everybody's saying hi, but he jumps down from the counter and just being lines right towards me. He's like, Hey, my name is Carlos. And I was like, Hi, I'm Alexa. But like, just totally like, okay, cool. Bye. Because I was not interested in meeting anybody. I had just gone through a divorce. I was here to just like, learn about Christianity, about what it means to fellowship, have a community, I wanted to find people who loved Jesus, I did not want a relationship. So Carlos, from his point of view was he just knew from the moment he saw me, like, that was his wife, even after the experience that he had telling, like, his old testimony and everything. So we have very different experiences, because then for the next, I don't know, like, month or two, I just friendzone him hard. We would hang out all the time, but we were just friends, and nothing more.
Trevor Tyson 32:20
Dude, I'm the king of the friendzone. So I feel for him. Sorry, I
Alexa PenaVega 32:23
know. It was gnarly. I was totally fun zoning and but you know what? We hung out by going to Bible study together to church together, really growing in our faith and building that foundation. Like our whole relationship is really rooted in in the word and God.
Trevor Tyson 32:40
Wow. And isn't it quite hilarious that you went from Vegas to PenaVega?
Alexa PenaVega 32:45
Yeah, well, okay, so he's Pena. He's, yeah, so we we both come from kooky families. And we knew that we had like, wild upbringings that were like, Why don't we start fresh, but we don't want to like get rid of our names. We both have this career going for us where people know that like, you're Carlos Pena. I'm Alexa Vega. And we're like, How good does PenaVega sound like that? Sounds pretty cool. It
Trevor Tyson 33:09
Alexa PenaVega 33:11
So we're like, like, instead of hyphenating it, let's just make it one word, and see if that works. And once you have your marriage cert, you can really change everything. So once we got that stamp of approval, we changed everything else, all the other documents.
Trevor Tyson 33:25
Now your kids have the dopest last name on the page. Do they really do? I got lucky with that. But I want to circle back to what you were talking about with your eating disorder and trying to like segue and to close out. I always like to provide a call to action, like a question for our guests to hopefully bring some encouragement and light to someone else might be struggling. So with mental health and even eating disorders, as a whole, being so widely spread, and not only the US but all over the world. If there's someone out there that's feeling stuck in their symptoms, whether it's an eating disorder, toxic relationship, anxiety, depression, or even just feeling stuck in a rut, what would the message be from Alexa PenaVega
Alexa PenaVega 34:09
my message would be two things. One, tell somebody because the more and more I talk about it and talked about it, the more free from it. I became, even though I God like fully gave me the miracle like healing me from my eating disorder. years after it I was still so afraid to talk about it because I didn't want anybody to know me as that. But then I started talking about it and realized that I had all this freedom coming out in this piece that was just being released into my life by just the enemy not having that stronghold over me of like don't tell anybody they're only going to see you as a girl who had bulimia. So talk about it. Tell people allow your family members to be aware of what's going on in your life because the more you you talk about it, it's you're freeing yourself from it. Okay, so talk about it. And then the second thing would be the thing that really changed me. And that was the armor of God. I had this awesome shield of faith throughout my whole life, but I never understood the Word of God until I got older. And the word is your sword. That is how you defeat your enemy. And it literally says, like helmet of salvation, your shield of faith, your sword, which is your Word of God. So if you want to defeat the enemies in your life, the things that have stronghold over you, whether it's your depression, whether it's your eating disorder, whatever it may be, get into the Word and speak the word over your life, because that's how you defeat the enemy.
Trevor Tyson 35:39
Man, Alexa PenaVega. Everybody, her and her husband, Carlos have their new book. What if love is the point living for Jesus in a self consumed world is available everywhere. And you know what else is available everywhere? The After Show with Trevor and Brian, Brian, welcome back.
Brian Layne 35:57
What's going on, man? It's good to see.
Trevor Tyson 35:59
It's good to see your face. It's almost like I saw it in person. Yesterday, when I recorded this interview, I was sitting where you're sitting. And so now we're just here again.
Brian Layne 36:11
It's like a it's like a some kind of multigo hints. Yeah, something like
Trevor Tyson 36:17
well, it's a it's been quite the week. Most nobody knows, really. Except for like, our core circle. We're all getting over the Rona. So praise God for the hat in the whole family. It was it was definitely quite the cycle there. And I'm just glad that I don't have it anymore. It feels good to be back in Georgia to like Chattanooga is dope, but there's nothing like home. And
Brian Layne 36:43
that's that's period. That's period. That's a period full stop. Full stop.
Trevor Tyson 36:48
Period. Period, Brian just period. But, dude, this interview was just full circle. Alexa PenaVega I grew up loving the movie Twister. And then Spy Kids was like a family favorite for my whole family. And basically my whole generation that was like Alexis catapult the success you could say. Have you ever seen Spy Kids?
Brian Layne 37:12
Seeing that a long time ago but my you know the the most memorable one would be Twister because that's like an iconic movie. I don't know anybody who doesn't like Twister. And there was a lot of great acting in that plus a lot of great actors some that are no longer with us. But it was an epic, epic movie.
Trevor Tyson 37:29
It was an epic movie and to this day because of twister. I want to go tornado chasing and it hasn't happened yet. Except for last year on the way to Nashville to be with you guys. Yeah, we did encounter that tornado which was sick. But like, I don't know, man. I just want to see a gnarly up close tornado,
Brian Layne 37:49
like, out in the country away from neighborhoods, you know? Yeah. Like
Trevor Tyson 37:52
I just want to see it. And that reminds me of a line and twist or I want to say like going nuts. And Alexis pardon. That was pretty short at the beginning where her dog got left in the house or something after the dad and the mom got her in there. She's like jelly, jelly jelly. And then like her dad just like flies away and often. Yeah, bro.
Brian Layne 38:17
We both grew up for both weather nerds. I wanted to be a meteorologist when I got older. At one point. Most kids are like, we're gonna be a firefighter. I want to be a police officer play an NBA play football now. Meteorologist right here and right there. So
Trevor Tyson 38:33
I wanted to be a meteorologist tornado chaser a news anchor at one point. Elvis at one point. Yeah, like I just had all these aspirations to do things on camera. And here we are. Well, for people that are listening,
Brian Layne 38:51
though we're well we are listening but we are on camera. You can check it out on Spotify isn't on Spotify on the camera. Now we're
Trevor Tyson 38:57
only doing the YouTube thing for this right? Sorry. There's no no shade on anchor or anything. The hosts that we're using for the pod right now is pristine for everything we need it to do for finding new listeners and connecting with our audience so we're gonna stick with them. But yeah, Twister is phenomenal. Spy Kids is phenomenal. My favorite line that I remember from Spy Kids is when Alexa goes to her parents who are spies at the time before they became Spy Kids. It's like you guys can't be spies. You're not cool enough and I'm like, Dude, that's
Brian Layne 39:32
when Antonio Banderas and yeah,
Trevor Tyson 39:35
that was the dad I think Antonio Banderas is the clean cut guy right yeah yeah
Brian Layne 39:39
he's the he's the dad Yeah,
Trevor Tyson 39:41
yeah and then machete Machete is the uncle like he's yeah and then Machete Kills Alexa was into and yeah, but it's just sick due to like, having this interview was so full circle especially get to talk about this book. What if love is the point living for Jesus and a self consumed rode? What?
Brian Layne 40:03
Trevor Tyson 40:04
love? Yes, I just tell us why I mean, what if it is what if it is worth?
Brian Layne 40:10
I mean, at the end of the day, all Jesus talks about is loving your neighbor, and loving. It's, that's the full. That's that's the full circle right there. I mean, that's the yin and the yang. But it really is,
Trevor Tyson 40:27
Trevor Tyson 40:31
Sorry. It's hilarious, just getting to have these full circle interviews with people that we grew up listening to, and watching on TV, and now getting to do something impactful and getting to share their stories like they've been able to portray other people in film and TV shows, and etc. And now we get to hear about their real life stories, her husband Carlos to live in Hawaii, with their three kids. And Carlos is currently out on tour with his boy band that started on Nickelodeon called Big Time Rush. So the whole family's out on a pre vo live in a rock star life right now. And they've got a very successful YouTube channel. And they're doing it as adults, as Christian adults, Christian conservative adults living in Hollywood, and it's super encouraging to see like, no matter what side of the political spectrum that you sit on, they're putting out content for everybody. It's not just like, hey, we're gonna make conservative movies, we're gonna make Christian movies like no, like, they're actively making great content for people of all walks of life to
Brian Layne 41:35
enjoy, it's got a good message behind it. So
Trevor Tyson 41:37
it does have a good message behind it. And they're working on stuff right now that has like, a biblical message to it, but it's not pushing it down people's throat, it's content for the world, but with a wholesome moral message to it, which I think
Brian Layne 41:50
that's really good stuff. And I really liked the look at the book and give that a read, I think that's gonna be a good one. Because it's so funny, because for a long time, you know, I came up, you know, I have my past and all of that, but even after I got, you know, post drug addiction, and into recovery, you know, I got lost in some movements and things like that, and it's easy to get hype and angry and polarizing and, or to get bitter about something in case something happens to you along the way, which does, it's called life. But, you know, when I, when I was trying to process and just, you know, really find something that was going to give my life meaning and purpose. What I found is I was lacking love, and compassion, not only for myself, or for others, I mean, but also for myself. And, and even for the people. You know, I remember one time I was a specific group of people I was pretty bitter about. And, you know, I just kept talking to the Lord and, and the Lord's just like, What did I say in the Bible? The Love your enemies. And that's the way you're gonna get through this because I kept saying, Lord, how am I gonna get past this and he was like, compassion. And it was a beautiful thing. So anything that has to do with that man is going to be good, and it's going to be food for the soul. It is
Trevor Tyson 43:09
food for the soul. And that and so much more. I'm excited that we get to continue putting out this content that honestly was influenced by when I was a kid, I used to watch interviews with my favorite artists and my favorite entertainers and find I found a good bit of peace in that, especially in my elementary, middle and high school years, just having those voices of people that I look up to be able to share their thoughts and their stories and the things that help them keep going. And now on the flip side, here's an adult, we're able to provide that for so many more people. And that's literally all there is to it. It's not like a cash grab or anything like that, as you know more than anybody else like
Trevor Tyson 43:53
takes a village to put this on. So like now that we're even talking about that, like myself, you Bernard Woods, who has been my producer for over two years now Mary Nikkel, who handles all the press and descriptions and anything written on the public side. Colby Crosby, Tyler Byars, Jarob & Josh Bramlett. It takes a team to put this on. And it's phenomenal to just be able to sit here and create something for people to just the only purpose behind it is to just try to encourage somebody so thank you for being a part of it. And everybody that we just listed are a class people that their their freakin their I don't know how to explain. They're like, matriarch and patriarchs of their of their, whatever it is that they're doing their field, the craft. I mean, there's more. There's more
Brian Layne 44:49
going on, but I'll tell you this. You know, I think one of the most fascinating things about you, in my view, oh, you Your ability to, to network with these individuals and to casually get them to do things and knock out these epic, big projects and things like that, with what seems like ease. And so a lot of people, they had to struggle for that. And you're able to pull in these incredibly talented people. And, and, and they all work together. And so I just, I, that's one of my favorite things about you. I like to sit back sometimes and just watch you work or listen to you, when you think I'm not listening to you. Just watch you just kind of talk with people and easy go back and forth and, and just flow into things. And that's remarkable man.
Trevor Tyson 45:46
Well, it, it all comes with your support system, like you and I are in business together. Mary's in business with us, like all of these people are doing such phenomenal things. And they're using their crafts, to piece all this stuff together. So it's not something that I'm doing. Literally. It comes from the support system, no, like, Oh, it's just forgive, forgive him more, forgive them. But
Trevor Tyson 46:21
I literally do, but praise God that I'm not feeling it. But there's so much amazing content coming on the way and the next two weeks, we've got some crazy interviews happening. But we're also starting to piece together that little event that is on that tour poster beside you. Last year was called choose life. We don't know what it's gonna be called this year. And there's going to be some really remarkable individuals that have already committed to being a part of it. So be sure to let your friends know about Trevor talk. So let them know that what we're doing here is for them, like we're not making it for one side of the political aisle. A lot has been going on politically, religiously, etc. We're not here to shove anything down anybody's throat, we just want you to know that we love Do you have purpose? as to what's the last thing? Yeah.
Brian Layne 47:10
Nothing. I just keep talking over. You're talking and it makes me think of stuff. And so I'm just like weighing in as you're talking kind of like Cliff Notes. Like it's tough week away. It's also a good week to you know, depending on what side of the spectrum you will be king. But
Trevor Tyson 47:23
speaking of Cliff Notes, Cliff Jefferson, bro.
Brian Layne 47:26
Ah, yeah. Oh, cliffy, Cliff. Cliff man, my favorite people in the world. I want to check out that book though. So Alexa, if you're watching this, you know, go ahead and sign up. John or Jane guess why? send it my way.
Trevor Tyson 47:43
Well, guess what? I've already pre ordered it on Audible. And I'm pretty sure that we have a few copies coming in the mail. So everybody that's listening. Yeah, yeah, her and Carlos because they co authored it together. Oh, that's gonna be one of us has read some of it.
Brian Layne 48:00
I haven't. You know, I'm just at some time.
Trevor Tyson 48:06
That's why it's called Brian talks. Now, but this is sick, dude, thank you for being a part of this after show with me. And for everybody listening again. Remember that there are so many resources out there available to you if you're struggling with your mental health or maybe even an eating disorder like Alexa open up about? Remember that there are so many resources readily available at this current moment as you're listening to this over with our friends at death the life which is death, the number two life.com Hart support.com Yeah, like there's so many amazing resources beneath the skin. We're gonna put all the links in the description below as well as for Alexa and Carlos YouTube channel, the book, and all of the things related to them. But Brian, what are your closing thoughts?
Brian Layne 48:53
My closing thoughts are, how was your week? It's really it's not really a closing. I kept going. I was like, oh, like, wonder how this week was and and of course, you could say, well, we were here but they don't know. So how was How was your week aside from COVID? And what's tell me something cool that's happening in trapeze world that we may not know
Trevor Tyson 49:13
since we're gonna keep this conversation going on a real note. This past week, you saw firsthand, I did not handle this bout with COVID very well with my immune system. And I'm not a baby. It was something like that.
Brian Layne 49:30
Bottle warm at like 838 15 at night, every every night. Just kidding. You
Trevor Tyson 49:39
know, worst things like how many times have I had COVID at this point is up in the air? I
Brian Layne 49:47
know, I figure it's like, it's like Pokeyman you got to collect all the different various ones. And that's not to be like, insensitive, but like, it seems like in the line of work that Trevor Trevor got About Trevor and in Iran, we're constantly dealing with people on a public level. And it seems like every other week, we're coming home with a different variant.
Trevor Tyson 50:09
Select positive tests, I've had four. I have been way more than that. But you know what, Fauci if you're listening to this, let's have a conversation because I don't. Yeah, like, Oh, no. Praise God. But we love you all so much. Thank you so much for tuning in, and so much more fun content coming soon. And we'll talk to you guys next week. Bye now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Not long after their wedding, Carlos Pena and Alexa Vega, who uniquely took the liberty of legally
combining their last names as PenaVega on their marriage certificate, wondered how cool it would be to
write a book about their individual and collective life experiences as a young married couple in
Hollywood who found each other through Christ.
A veteran actor and voice actor, Carlos was a member of the hugely successful recording and touring
group, Big Time Rush, formed for the hit Nickelodeon series of the same name and largely credited for
bringing the boy band concept back. A working actress since age five, Alexa became famous as Carmen
Cortez in the mega-popular Spy Kids film series. She performed on Broadway in “Hairspray,” and played
Ruby Gallagher on ABC Family’s “Ruby & The Rockits.”
The couple’s incredible, divinely orchestrated life over the past decade makes “now” the perfect time to
share their deeply personal story and testimony about God’s love and grace in their lives. Their new book,
What If Love Is The Point? from HarperCollins, is artfully structured with alternating chapters, building
the story via first person narratives by Carlos and Alexa, co-written with Margot Starbuck, a New York
Times bestselling writer and an award winning author of more than 20 books, who specializes in Christian
Now married for more than eight years, the PenaVegas have two sons, Ocean and Kingston, and a
daughter, Rio, all under five years old, splitting their time at home between Maui and a 60’x30’
catamaran in Florida.
While facing and overcoming many financial, emotional, spiritual and marital challenges, the two have
countless TV and film appearances under their belt - including an influential season on “Dancing with the
Stars,” where they made history as the only married couple ever to compete against each other. Those
appearances in Season 21, which are powerfully chronicled by Alexa, brought the two to a whole new
national audience, and gave them weekly opportunities to witness about their faith and to speak positively
about their Christ-centered relationship. Their segments talking about marriage as a sacred commitment
people should still believe in (even while negotiating the ups and downs of show business), led thousands
of people of all ages to write in, thanking them for taking a bold stance and even, in some cases, helping
reignite the marriages of some viewers. With all that buzz around them, Alexa and Carlos had some offers
to do a reality show, but they wanted to steer clear of that world because they felt a heartfelt inspirational
book would be the ideal way to chronicle their amazing lives.
A few years later, after moving to Maui, the two were contacted by their friends - bestselling Christian
authors Jeff and Alyssa Bethke - whose publisher, Jenny Baumgartner, editorial director and acquisitions
editor for Nelson Books / HarperCollins Christian publishing knew the two couples were friends. Jenny’s
interest was piqued after seeing an Instagram post by Alexa detailing her years battling a debilitating
eating disorder and how faith brought her through, and the pieces that led to the publication of What If
Love Is The Point? quickly fell into place.
“Carlos and I felt eager years ago to write about our lives and how God has worked with and helped us to
grow through many difficult circumstances,” says Alexa. “But rather than force the issue when people
weren’t showing interest, we just let it go and believed that it would happen when the time was right. As
with everything we do, our thought was, if God’s not in it, we don’t want it. And now, in His perfect
timing, we have so many new stories to tell and testimonies to offer. Honestly, what could we have shared
in a single year of marriage versus nine? We’re still growing and learning every day. God wanted to
season us more before we shared our stories. He brought us through a lot, and we have come out stronger
and better for it – all the more equipped to bring Him more glory.”
Allowing themselves to be open, honest, and vulnerable, so that others who face similar challenges in
their lives can feel less alone and like someone has their back, What If Love Is the Point? is the couple’s
plain spoken shared testimony about the true joy they’ve come to experience in Christ, and the insights
that have changed their lives. They freely admit that as 30-something human beings, working performers,
husband and wife, and now parents of young children, life is not easy – and committing to their Christian
walk is often difficult and stressful despite the love and beauty of God at the center. Often, they don’t see
God at work in the moment, but in retrospect can see how He was working with them in their struggles.
At its core, the book is about performers who seem to have it all – fame, fortune, opportunities, love and
admiration – but feel empty, discouraged, fearful and out of control until they encounter and embrace the
true Source of it all. Along the way, Alexa and Carlos discuss the charming, offbeat details of their
unexpected courtship after meeting through their mutual friend Andrew, whose sense of inner peace and
example ultimately led Carlos to a relationship with Christ. Yet the narrative also includes difficult
passages about Alexa’s years-long battle with bulimia; and Carlos’ journey (with her help) from an
immature, self-centered understanding of God and an attachment to materialism to a true, meaningful
relationship based on humbling himself and asking Jesus for help, trusting God in all things he cannot
personally control. They also talk frankly about the challenges in keeping their family together in an
industry where work often demands that one spouse or the other is gone on set or on tour for months at a
time. They have “two weeks max” apart from each other rule and while some think it’s crazy, they travel
everywhere together with their kids.
Drawing on one of the chapter subheads, Carlos says, “The only way to be impactful in this world for
Christ is to be consistent. We’re not always going to be perfect, but we will always strive to live in a
manner worthy of His love.”
Alexa adds, “Choosing to be consistent is what takes the fear out of our life. We no longer worry about
what people think about us on social media. If we mess up, we own up to it and apologize for it. We don’t
just show perfect moments. We talk about messing up and how we can be better people and parents.
Writing this book was a wonderful and cathartic way to reflect on how God has always worked in every
situation in our lives. It was a cool, awesome and healing way to talk about the many things that have
gone on in our lives up till now.”