Today my guest is Tina Alexis Allen, author of the new book Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives.
“A writer candidly confronts her personal truth in her quest for transformation, transcendence, and redemption.” –Kirkus Review
Actress and playwright Tina Alexis Allen’s audacious memoir unravels her privileged suburban Catholic upbringing that was shaped by her formidable father—a man whose strict religious devotion and dedication to his large family hid his true nature and a life defined by deep secrets and dangerous lies.
The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.
But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.
The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control. Tina and Sir John spent nights dancing in gay clubs together, experimenting with drugs, and casual sex—all while keeping the rest of their family in the dark.
Outside of their wild clandestine escapades, Sir John made Tina his heir apparent at the travel agency. Drawn deeper into the business, Tina soon became suspicious of her father’s frequent business trips, his multiple passports and cache of documents, and the briefcases full of cash that mysteriously appeared and quickly vanished. Digging deeper, she uncovered a disturbing facet beyond the stunning double-life of the father she thought she knew.
A riveting and cinematic true tale stranger and twistier than fiction, Hiding Out is an astonishing story of self-discovery, family, secrets, and the power of the truth to set us free.
Tina Alexis Allen
As a break-out star on WGN’s hit series “Outsiders,” actress/playwright/author Tina Alexis Allen most recently starred as Shurn, a force to be reckoned with in the clash-of-cultures drama rooted in coal mining Kentucky. With Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti on board as an executive producer, Allen acted alongside David Morse (“Treme,” “Hurt Locker”) and Ryan Hurst (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Bates Motel”).
The youngest of 13 kids in a Catholic family growing up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Tina was a tomboy at heart. After accepting a basketball scholarship to the University of Maryland, she caught the fashion bug, earned an MBA in marketing and moved to NYC. While working as a fashion executive on Seventh Avenue, she spent her weekends seeing Broadway shows and igniting a love of the arts. Some soul searching led to Tina leaving her successful career to pursue acting. She has since been celebrated for her diverse range of roles in theatre, film and television. “Acting coach to the stars,” Susan Batson, (Oprah, Nicole Kidman, Lady Gaga, Chris Rock, Madonna, Juliette Binoche) has described Tina as “a true chameleon—capable of playing anything.”
Allen wrote and performed her critically acclaimed solo show, SECRETS OF A HOLY FATHER, in New York and Los Angeles. Based on her own life, Allen yearned to understand the complicated and highly secretive double life of her father. By transforming herself into him, she took her father’s journey exploring the universal themes of family betrayal, redemption and forgiveness in a tour-de-force performance.
In Los Angeles, she performed a 12-character one-woman show, IRRESISTIBLE, lauded by critics as rivaling the work of Lily Tomlin. For her work in THE BREAK-UP NOTEBOOK, Allen was nominated for a GLAAD award alongside Jane Lynch. In addition, she starred in and produced the Slamdance Jury Prize film PHANTOM PAIN, and played opposite Theresa Russell in the 2014 feature film, MOVING MOUNTAINS.
In addition to acting and writing, Allen is the Co-Founder of Gina Raphaela Jewelry, which merges art, fashion, and social consciousness. The brand uses deconstructed and transformed bullets as a foundation for daring necklaces, rings and bracelets. Their philanthropic mission provides a percentage of all proceeds to be donated directly to non-profit organizations taking a stand for peace.
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