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‘The Chosen’ Star Elizabeth Tabish Talks Uplifting Women and Fighting Depression: “It Can Be Eased By Love” (EXCLUSIVE)

Learn how her role helped renew her faith!

Elizabeth Tabish is currently enjoying a thriving career and international acclaim for her portrayal of Mary Magdalene on the hit TV series The Chosen, but not too long ago, before she landed the role, she was a struggling actress living with her mom because she couldn’t make rent.

“It’s very easy to just shift into that place of despair and that’s where I was when I booked this role,” Elizabeth tells FIRST for Women of her life before The Chosen in a candid and inspiring sit-down for our cover feature on sale now at your local grocery stores, Walmart and online.

Elizabeth Tabish FIRST cover

I was actually trying to quit acting because I was so tired of the types of roles that were available for women,” Elizabeth Tabish reveals. “I decided that it was time to grow up and do something practical. So I told my agent to stop submitting me and he submitted me for this role anyway. I read the script and was completely blown away by how beautifully Mary’s character was written, by how realistic she was, by how relatable she was and how very oddly similar I was to her.”

Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene in Season 4 of The Chosen
Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene in Season 4 of The ChosenThe Chosen Press Center

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The tough times helped Elizabeth appreciate the good

Despite her early struggles in her career, Tabish says, “I wouldn’t change anything because it was those experiences that helped me understand Mary. Because of that, I was able to book the role of a lifetime.”

Tabish continues, “I don’t think I would have been able to understand her experience or what she was going through, her emotional state, had I not gone through some of those things.” R

Reflecting on the perspective she has now, Elizabeth says, “It’s such a hard thing to give advice to someone who might be going through it because you want to say this thing which sounds so redundant, but just don’t give up. Don’t give in to any of those despairing thoughts and just take it a day at a time.”

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Elizabeth Tabish reflects on her faith

Though she grew up in a Christian home, Elizabeth Tabish confesses there was a time when she had become disillusioned with organized religion.

“I grew up in the Bible Belt and I loved stories of Jesus growing up,” Tabis says. “When I was really young, I was wanting more of that whenever I would go to church, but when I did go to church, it felt like it was a social club.”

The Chosen cast, George H. Xanthis, Elizabeth Tabish, Alaa Safi, Jonathan Roumie, Paras Patel, Shahar Isaac and Noah James, 2024
Left to right: The Chosen stars George H. Xanthis, Elizabeth Tabish, Alaa Safi, Jonathan Roumie, Paras Patel, Shahar Isaac and Noah James in 2024Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty

She elaborates, “As I was getting older, into my teens and even twenties, it felt like it was an exclusive club where if you don’t go to this church then you’re not accepted by this group of people and if you go to that church, unless you look or act a certain way, you’re not accepted by them.”

“It ended up feeling like a social dynamic more than a spiritual dynamic and I got very cynical about it all,” she admits. “It hurt my feelings and I wanted to avoid that pain, so I just stopped going to church.”

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Elizabeth Tabish, 2023
Elizabeth Tabish in 2023Michael Tullberg/Getty

Tabish says that in her 20s and 30s, she started “trying to look for the peace that comes with Christ,” though she did experience her share of ups and downs along the way.

“I was exploring the world and going down paths that were not for me and numbing a lot of that pain,” she says. “There were plenty of wonderful moments during those years and plenty of wonderful people, but if you have enough negative experiences, it’s very difficult to focus on those positive experiences.”

Portraying Mary Magdalene on The Chosen has played a large part in renewing her faith. “Playing out these scenes, being reminded of what Jesus was teaching and who he was has slowly renewed the sense of faith, joy, peace and enthusiasm for life,” she says with a smile. “It has really cracked open my heart in so many ways and reminded me of what life could be.”

Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene—along with the Disciples and a crowd—listening and learning from Jesus in Season 3 of The Chosen
Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene—along with a few of the Disciples and a crowd—listening and learning from Jesus in Season 3 of The ChosenThe Chosen Press Center

Turning weaknesses into strengths

Playing Mary Magdalene has also taught Tabish that what she thought were weaknesses were really her strengths. “I’m a hypersensitive person. I’m very emotional. I used to think there was something wrong with me,” she confesses.

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The actress in 2024
Elizabeth Tabish, 2024Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty

“That sensitivity is the thing that’s ended up allowing me to do this job, which requires a sensitivity and emotion,” she says. “The things that we might not always like in ourselves can sometimes be where the gold is. It’s where our growth starts and what the world needs from us.”

Like many women, Tabish battles stress and anxiety, but has found tools that help. “Not allowing stress to take over your life requires a lot of self-awareness and self-analysis,” she says.

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The actress has found effective ways to keep stress at bay and organize messy emotions. “Anytime I feel stress creeping in, I do a lot of journaling and really trying to process and make sense of where all these anxious thoughts are coming from,” she says. “If it’s just a really busy time, I’m organizing my thoughts, organizing my to-do list and my calendar to make sure I’m aware of what’s going on in the upcoming days and weeks and being prepared for it. A little foresight helps rid ourselves of stress.”

Elizabeth Tabish, 2024
Elizabeth Tabish in 2024Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty

Tabish is particularly compassionate toward fellow women who are suffering from depression and anxiety. “Depression may never ever go away, but it can be eased by love,” she says. “Now, being on the other side of all of that and being in a really wonderful state in my life where I am surrounded by loving and wonderful people who care about me, it gives me this perspective that I think Mary has in this show.”

“I had to go through some of those things in order to understand or at least recognize when other people are going through them and learn how to connect and care for others and be compassionate,” she adds, “It’s such a strange gift to go through dark and difficult chapters in our lives and to know that God can use those things that you are going through for not only your benefit, but for the benefit of others.”

Elizabeth Tabish talks love and relationships

Tabish eases much of her tension by spending time with her husband. “We love taking walks in our neighborhood,” she says. “We love listening to music in the morning and sitting on our front porch swing.”

Tabish and her husband also maintain open communication. “We talk about our dreams and our memories,” she says. “Having a partner who cares so much about my interior life and where my heart is at is something that I’m deeply grateful for. That brings me a lot of joy.”

The actress in 2023
Elizabeth Tabish in 2023Jon Kopaloff/Getty for “The Shift”

She admits she endured a lot of fractured relationships before finding her soulmate: “I would drink a lot to avoid my emotions and was involved with boyfriends that didn’t really care about my heart or soul. If you do enough of that over the years, you can get really lost.” Today, she’s is a much healthier and more supportive place.

The importance of lifting up other women

Supporting her fellow women is particularly important to Tabish. “Since the beginning of time, I think being a woman has been difficult,” she says. “There’s a lot of pain and sacrifice involved, and a sort of powerlessness we can feel from society, so I think having compassion for each other and taking care of each other is important.”

Tabish makes an effort to avoid comparing herself with other women. “When other women succeed, it doesn’t take away from our own success,” she says. “The more women succeed, the more it gives us the permission to do so as well. There’s a lot of healing that could be done from recognizing we really need each other.”

The role of women in The Chosen

One of the things Tabish most appreciates about The Chosen is the way the show depicts the importance of women in Jesus’ ministry. “It’s embedded in his stories. It’s in the gospels. In some of the most pivotal moments of his ministry, women are there,” she says.

The Chosen depicts the importance of the roles women played in Jesus' ministry (L-R: Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Tamar, Mother Mary and Jesus in Season 2)
The Chosen depicts the importance of the roles women played in Jesus’ ministry (L-R: Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Tamar, Mother Mary and Jesus in Season 2)The Chosen Press Center

“Women are witnessing. They are supporting him. The whole ministry is financed by women. The first person that he reveals himself to is the woman at the well. The first people to witness his resurrection are the women and at the crucifixion,” she says. “Only one of his male disciples stays with him, and the rest are the women, so at every pivotal moment of his ministry, women are there.”

Elizabeth Tabish, 2024
Elizabeth Tabish in 2024Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty

The star admits that some people might find that surprising. “That isn’t always included in the way Jesus’ story is told in modern media, but The Chosen does a beautiful job in showcasing that and making it a very realistic experience,” she says.

“These female characters are written as fully fleshed-out people,” she adds. “They are real people with real backgrounds, and we get to meet them at all these different stages. We see who they were before they meet Jesus and who they are afterwards, and they’re not all one-dimensional characters. They are also not all wives and mothers. They are entrepreneurs and businesswomen and they’re smart and sensitive and very complex individuals.”

In telling Mary Magdalene’s powerful story, Tabish has brought a sensitive and complex figure to life with vibrancy and grace.

Mary Magdalene and the Disciples at the wedding in Cana in Season 1—the location of Jesus' first miracle
Mary Magdalene and the Disciples at the wedding in Cana in Season 1—the location of Jesus’ first miracle The Chosen Press Center

Don’t miss the rest of Elizabeth’s full interview in the newest issue of FIRST for Women!

3 ways to watch The Chosen

First: Watch all episodes of the first three seasons for free in The Chosen app — available for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android. Just search “The Chosen” wherever you download apps or channels for your streaming player or device.

Second: Check your favorite streaming service. Most seasons are currently available on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, and more.

Third: Watch for free at

Season 4 will hit streaming services soon. Keep up with Dallas Jenkins on Instagram or follow The Chosen on Instagram and Facebook for updates!

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