Model Kylie Bisutti had the dream job, yet last month she surprised the fashion world by leaving her position as the top model for Victoria’s Secret. She said her faith was key in this dramatic decision. Let’s take a brief look at Kylie’s life and the reasons for her decision.
Kylie Bisutti had always wanted to be a model. She was born in a small town in Idaho, but when she was still young her family moved to Las Vegas because of her dad’s work. Even though Kylie was quite of tomboy because of her country roots, she also was fascinated with beauty. While riding ATVs, playing basketball and fishing she also dreamed of becoming a famous model. And certainly in Las Vegas, beauty and fashion are as natural as the air you breathe. She began modeling when she was 14 and quickly started to get noticed.
Yet there was something else going on in her life during this same time.
Kylie’s parents were not very religious, although they are very good people who worked hard to instill good values in Kylie. When she was about 15 a school friend invited Kylie to a youth group at a Christian church. There she found good friends, but she also found a part of her life that was missing: she found friendship with God. She began to fall more deeply in love with Jesus Christ and develop a personal prayer life. Eventually Kylie’s parent also became practicing Christian’s as well and shared Kylie’s love for Christ.
Meanwhile her career was taking off, and she loved it. She worked hard to be in the best shape possible and to carry herself with poise and grace. She had been blessed with great looks and a kind personality. She made an effort to constantly develop these talents, and it started to pay off.
Soon Kylie’s career was reaching new heights. As a young teen she modeled in high-class fashion shows in Las Vegas and even took part in runway shows in some other countries. At 16 she decided to homeschool in order to concentrate more on her career.
Very shortly after that she decided to make a big jump. She moved to New York City where the fashion world has its headquarters. She lived in a small apartment with 4 other models. It was a difficult lifestyle, but soon she was making enough money to get her own apartment. She moved out and lived with a roommate.
She missed her family terribly, but the excitement of her career kept her energized and focused. She worked for brands such as Seventeen magazine, Lucky magazine, Custo Barcelona, and many more. She walked in multiple multiple seasons in New York Fashion Week and traveled to Japan for two months to model as well.
“The goal I was working towards was to become a Victoria’s Secret model, the top of the top when it comes to a model’s career. That was all I dreamed about and pursued, but I always felt like a part of me was missing. There was always a constant struggle to be myself in the industry because it was always so superficial and demanding. I was constantly being pressured to lose weight, no matter how thin I got, they always wanted me to be thinner and I wasn’t willing to become unhealthy to get that thin. I didn’t feel as though I was being true to myself, but I kept on pursuing it.”
As her modeling career began to reach new heights another prayer of Kylie was being answered. She found true love.
“At the age of 18 I took a trip to Mexico with my parents and it was there that the next chapter in my life turned it’s page. At dinner one night I locked eyes with a handsome man and something bigger than myself was drawing me to him. The next day I went snorkeling and to my surprise, he was there. He said, “follow me” so I did and we snorkeled together and from then on it was better than any fairy tale I had ever seen in a movie or could have imagined. We fell in love and he soon proposed and we got married! I ended up moving to California with him as well as Montana. I took some time away from modeling and spent it with him instead.”
Yet the modeling world did not forget about Kylie, and soon her other dream was given a big chance.
“Soon after we married my mother in law told me about a casting for Victoria’s Secret being held in LA. I decided to give it a shot and before I knew it I was being flown to NYC to live in a house with 9 other girls to compete to be the next Victoria’s Secret angel. After different competitions and photo shoots I ended up winning the prize and walked in my first ever VS Runway show! My dreams had finally come true- I thought!
Mike loved Kylie and only wanted to support her in whatever career decisions she made.
Kylie became instantly famous, and many more modeling offers poured in. Most of it involved modeling in lingerie and bikinis for men’s magazines and fashion lines.
But Kylie began to ask herself some tough questions. Was this really all it was stacked up to be? How did modeling in such provocative poses and clothing (or lack of clothing, as Kylie put it) fit with her love for her husband and for her desire to bring good to the world? Was she sending the wrong message?
Kylie appeared in many men’s magazines. Her beauty and the provocative poses really caught the eye of many men, but what was she saying to these men through these pictures? That she was “available” for them? She certainly was not. She loved her husband deeply, and wanted to be faithful to him through thick and thin. She found great joy in the fact that her body was only for him and that he loved her so much. Her Christian faith confirmed to her that her body should be a visible sign to her husband of her love for him, that only he could see her in all her beauty.
But what message was she sending other men by her modelling?
And what message was she sending to girls and women about the sacredness of their bodies?
Things really hit home for Kylie when her 8-year-old cousin made a comment one day.
“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” Bisutti says. “She looked at me and was like, ‘You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.'”
“It just broke my heart because she looks up to me and I didn’t want to be that type of person that she thought she had to do that to be beautiful,” she says. “Thousands of girls think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.”
This stopped Kylie in her tracks. Did Kylie want girls to think they had to starve themselves to death in order to receive love and attention?
Shortly after that Kylie made the decision to leave Victoria’s Secret. Here’s how she explained it in some interviews:
“Victoria’s Secret was my absolutely biggest goal in life, and it was all I ever wanted career-wise.”
“But the more I was modeling lingerie, and lingerie isn’t clothing, I just started becoming more uncomfortable with it because of my faith.
“I didn’t really want to be that kind of role model for younger girls because I had a lot of younger Christian girls that were looking up to me and then thinking that it was okay for them to walk around and show their bodies in lingerie to guys,”
“I’m Christian, and reading the Bible more, I was becoming more convicted about it. It was pretty crazy because I finally achieved my biggest dream, the dream that I always wanted, but when I finally got it, it wasn’t all that I thought it would be. Especially being married I just wanted to keep my marriage sacred because divorce rates now in America are pretty high, and I just want to do everything I can to keep my marriage special”
(From interview with Fox411)
Kylie’s husband, Mike, is also a believing a Christian. Even though he always let Kylie decide what was best for her career, he was quietly praying for light as well. But he let Kylie make the decision. And he supports her fully in her new outlook on modeling.
Kylie thought that this decision would be the end or her career, and certainly she did lose some very big jobs. She also faced criticism from some powerful people.
But her decision has been an encouragement for many young women and girls, and that is what is more important to her.
“If I can help even one girl with my decision, then it is all worth it.” Kylie says. In fact, she has helped many, and wants to continue to do so.
Besides modeling, Kylie wants to develop a career as a speaker about inner beauty and about the sacredness of a girl’s body. The offers are pouring in, and Kylie will greatly sought after for many youth organizations and churches. Kylie will be a tremendous role model for many young women.
And Kylie hasn’t giving up modeling. She is just being more careful about what kinds of jobs she takes. She is featured along with Jennifer Lopez in a Kohl’s commercial, and is working on a new show for the CW that will air in September.
Let’s pray for Kylie and for all young women. We thank God for the gift of their beauty and hope that like Kylie they will continue to discover the inner beauty that God has put in their hearts.
Feel free to write your comments about this story. Fashion and beauty are a very important issue in the world today, and navigating these issues as Christians is not always easy.
(Info and quotes for this article were taken from several sources, including Kylie’s website http://www.kyliebisutti.com and Fox411)
“Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent, and thus she became his wife. In his love for her Isaac found solace after the death of his mother Sarah” (Genesis 24, 67)
“The man said, “This one , at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” (Genesis 2:23)
“When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.” (Proverbs 31: 10-11)
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12: 2)
“For you have been purchased at a great price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:20)
“Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature, to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature…” (Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth)
“Christ, who is ‘the beauty of every beauty’ … is made present in the hearts of men and women and attracts them to their vocation which is love.” (Pope Benedict XVI, May 22, 2006)
“Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God… It lets us perceive the human body – our own and our neighbor’s – as a manifestation of divine beauty.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2519)
“Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should be hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2521)
“Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence and reserve where there is eveident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2522)
“Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2531)