Alumni

TV, Movies, & College: Actress says her faith was important factor in choosing online program

March 25, 2021

At the age of 10, actress Tiffany Espensen (’19) signed her first autograph, a mark she penned to perfection several years prior just in case a fan ever asked.

Espensen, now 22, earned a bachelor’s in political science through Liberty University’s online program while building an impressive acting résumé in Hollywood that includes roles in major motion pictures like Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Spiderman: Homecoming” and on the Disney XD television show “Kirby Buckets.”

But before all that, she was a normal 7-year-old in Los Angeles trying to decide how to spend her summer break. Her mom offered her several options, including soccer camp and science camp, but one stood out:  acting camp.

The camp equipped her with the skills and discipline to pursue acting full time. As an avid television and movie enthusiast, the experience also grew her love for storytelling.

“Movies have such a big impact on people,” Espensen said. “I enjoy looking at a movie and a script and thinking, ‘Wow, I would really love to bring this to life.’”

During her young acting career, Espensen was most known for her roles in children’s TV and movies. She landed minor roles in the Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana” and “Phineas and Ferb” and appeared on “NCIS” on CBS. Her more steady roles included Piper in Nickelodeon’s “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures” and Belinda in Disney XD’s “Kirby Buckets,” which stretched three seasons.

Fast-forward just over a decade, and Espensen now holds an impressive portfolio, landing more parts in films like “R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls,” and the role of Cindy in “Spiderman: Homecoming,” a character she would later revisit in “Avengers: Infinity War” for a brief appearance. Both superhero blockbuster hits collectively brought in nearly $3 billion at the box office.

Espensen’s most recent roles include Jessica in season three of Netflix’s “Alexa & Katie” and the voices of Heng Heng the panda and Rama the goat on the third season of Disney Junior’s “Lion Guard.”

Tiffany Espensen (second from left) poses with cast members from ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ at the Red Carpet premiere in 2017. While filming for the movie in Georgia, she took a road trip to Lynchburg to check out Liberty’s campus.

Along with acting, Espensen is also a Global Ambassador for Wildlife Warriors and sponsors two children through Compassion International. She holds a black belt in Wushu, a Chinese martial art.

Her acting journey was never easy. Each chapter provided challenges but also fulfilling rewards.

“As an actor or actress, you’re never guaranteed a job,” Espensen said. “You’re constantly having to prove your talent over and over again.”

Some actors work other part-time jobs while auditioning for films.

“You could go on 100 auditions and not get one job,” she added. “It’s just a lot of hard work. You get rejected a lot. I think that’s something a lot of people don’t see. It’s a lot of sacrifice, and it’s a lot of hard work. You have to be focused and want to do this.”

The young actress has portrayed multiple characters, but she is careful to remain in tune with her Christian principles and values.

“I know that I represent God first and foremost,” she said. “… At the end of the day, I’m still Tiffany. With my principles, I try adamantly to stay away from obvious subjects that blatantly go against my values.”

Espensen’s faith was also an important factor in her education. She graduated high school at age 15, and in 2016, she discovered Liberty University and was attracted to the school because of its commitment to incorporating a biblical worldview in the classroom. Liberty is a pioneer in distance education, and she knew that its leading online program could provide an avenue to continue her education without forfeiting her
acting career.

“Education is really important for me,” she said. “Liberty was super flexible, which is something I really appreciated.”

She chose to study political science because of her interest in learning more about affecting society.

“Policies affect everyday life, from driving, where you send your child to school, and where you buy a house,” she said. “It’s more about understanding social issues and figuring out a way to make your community better.”

While filming for “Spiderman: Homecoming” in Georgia in 2017, Espensen and her mother drove to Lynchburg to visit campus.

“I’m very proud that I got an education from Liberty, because I don’t know of any other Christian university right now that’s standing for biblical truth on all aspects of family and government,” she said. “I will always be an advocate for Liberty University.”

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