Eugene Cho

model leaves victoria’s secret to honor God, her husband…and be a better role model

Have you heard this story? Yes, its’ true: I’m talking about Victoria’s Secret models on my blog. [gulp]

In light of some recent posts I’ve written, “Media and Commercials: Women are Objects to be Objectified and Exploited for Consumption” and “The Dangers of Being a Woman”, this is a relevant and compelling read and discussion.

Truth be told, I don’t quite know what to make of modeling to begin with which is why I personally left modeling years ago.😉

For one Victoria Secret’s model, Kylie Bisutti, she’s decided – in response to her convictions as a follower of Christ – to no longer model lingerie and leave Victoria’s Secret altogether:

“For all of you that were looking for me in the Victorias Secret runway show this year, I wasn’t in it. I have decided not to model lingerie because I personally feel that I am not honoring God or my husband by doing it. My marriage is very important & with divorce rates rising I want to do everything I can to protect my marriage and be respectful to my husband. God graciously gave me this marriage and this life and my desire is to live a Godly faithful life, I don’t however judge others for what they do. Everyone is convicted on different levels.”

Compelling stuff but the part of the story that got me was about her 8-year-old cousin:

“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” Bisutti said.  “She looked at me and was like, ‘You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.’”

Hits very close to home. Couple years ago, one of my daughters was celebrating her 8-year-old birthday and had about 9 of her friends from school at a sleepover party. While they watched movies, talked, laughed, and played games, I tried my best not to interfere but on one occasion, I slowly walked down the stairs to the basement where they were playing and was absolutely heartbroken over their conversation.

These 8 and 9-year-old girls were going around and sharing with each other…how much weight they wanted to lose.

Let’s be honest:

  • Most Christians will praise  this model and wholesome Christian woman.
  • Some Christians will cringe that this elevates the wholesome Christian woman.
  • Haters will hate this righteous and judgmental Christian woman.
  • Cynics will point  out that she hasn’t left modeling altogether and call out the hypocrisy of this still-model woman.
  • And lastly, some of us will google her name to umm…read other stories (and find some images). Research.

We can all be critics and cynics. Marriage is hard enough and I applaud Kylie for her mutual commitment to her husband, marriage, and covenant.

Convictions & Courage

And I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit still speaks through convictions and I applaud Kylie for the courage to honor these convictions. Courage is what we need to live out our faith.

Look inside:

While we ponder and express our opinions and views, it would be stupid for us not to look inside and consider the convictions the Holy Spirit has and is placing upon our hearts. I completely agree with Kylie on this: “It’s a heart issue.”

Here’s the article from ABC News:

Model Kylie Bisutti, 21, has decided to leave Victoria’s Secret because it clashes with her Christian beliefs.

“I just became so convicted of honoring the Lord and my body and wanting to be a role model for other women out there who look up to me,” Bisutti said today on “Good Morning America.”

The California native beat out 10,000 hopefuls in 2009 to win the Victoria’s Secret Model Search. She was 19 and recently married at the time.

But wearing the coveted angel wings and walking the runway with Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr wasn’t quite what Bisutti had hoped for.

“I was growing in my relationship with the Lord and my faith.  I’m a strong believing Christian,” Bisutti told “GMA” of how her thoughts on the job she has described as her “absolutely biggest goal in life” began to change.

“It was more of just a heart issue for me,” she said.

Though Bisutti has cited her husband and her desire to keep their marriage special as factors in her decision to leave her lingerie modeling days behind, she said the decision was hers alone.

“He was so, so supportive of me and I’m so thankful that he let me grow and let me come to this decision on my own,” she said of her husband.

Bisutti’s decision to leave the lingerie company was also spurred on by an encounter with her 8-year-old cousin.

“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” Bisutti said.  “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 said.  “Thousands of girls that think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.”

On Dec. 1, one day after the nationally televised Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, in which Bisutti didn’t appear, aired, the model posted to her Twitter page, “For all of you that were looking for me in the Victorias Secret runway show this year, I wasn’t in it. I have decided not to model lingerie Because I personally feel that I am not honoring God or my husband by doing it. My marriage is very important & with divorce rates rising I want to do everything I can to protect my marriage and be respectful to my husband. God graciously gave me this marriage and this life and my desire is to live a Godly faithful life, I don’t however judge others for what they do. Everyone is convicted on different levels.”

Bisutti says her headline-making decision does not mean she is giving up her modeling career altogether.

“I’m definitely going to pursue modeling,” she said on “GMA.”  “I just want to be more wholesome about it and the jobs that I am going to choose are always going to be honoring the Lord.” (original link)

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14 Responses

  1. Ken Wagner says:

    I heard about this earlier, and I think it’s great to see someone growing in their faith. As followers of Jesus, we are all in process–“human becomings” if you will. I hope that I can be as consistent and congruent in my own faith journey. It’s nice to hear about someone who wants to “walk the talk.”

  2. RC says:

    I commend her. May the Lord give her humble courage as she’ll be mocked for it. And that she’ll take advantage of every opportunity when asked about it (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet.3:15).

  3. tabatha says:

    i find her husband pretty amazing, too. a man that is secure enough in himself and his own relationship with God to allow his “Victoria’s Secret model” wife come to this decision on her own is an incredible gift to her.

  4. Jeanne Sales says:

    God leaves no fingerprints!

  5. sonia says:

    I saw this on yahoo and was surprised. Its a hard thing to do now a days especially if your in the spot light. Its pretty Cool.

  6. Joanna says:

    I love this!!!!!

    When I heard about this story I was so touched & inspired ♥ Living in a world where one of the mottos is “If you got it, flaunt it”, it’s nice to know that there are people to remind us that beauty isn’t something that was made to be sold, and make us ask ourselves the question, “Who are we honoring with our lives?” I’m so excited & happy that more people are standing up for God and choosing to be better role models!

  7. James says:

    Great post Eugene. Thank you for sharing. Keep doing your great work. It is inspiring.

  8. sejin says:

    Hey Pastor Eugene,

    If Kylie’s conviction came before her success with Victoria Secret then she might not able to have reached the mass about her love for Christ. So in a sense is it a compromise to play the cards as she did or should she have not entered Victoria Secret to begin with?

    • Eugene Cho says:

      tough to say…or to judge.

      i think more often than not, we don’t quite understand a situation until we get into that situation.

      supposedly, she was giving up 7 digits in compensation for relinquishing this job.

  9. I read about this a few days ago, and was incredibly proud of her decision (if it’s not condescending to be proud of a person you’ve never met–I’m just sure that decision was hard-won!). However, the comments beneath the article made me wince, and many of the secular commenters seemed outraged at her for making a moral decision. My personal favorite? “Stay cute and shut up.” Yeah, that pretty much sums up one of the predominant views of women.😦

  10. maggie says:

    Kylie did what in her heart she needed to do to fulfill her convictions and her role model, wife, woman and as a christian. She, like any other human being deserves the God giving right to make her own choices about her life. Regradless of when or why? It doesn’t matter, God has great plans for her and her whole life. Go Kylie!! May God keep blessing you in your life journey’s and keep you close to his loving and merciful love!

  11. Wes Gardner says:

    Reblogged this on Clavin's lore and commented:
    There was a lot of hype given to the SI Swimsuit Issue last week. Somehow this went under the radar.

  12. Tim Fong says:

    Hey Eugene,

    I think this must not have been an “easy” decision to make in the sense that there were plenty of competing desires — acceptance, money, attention.

    She could have just as easily justified it — it’s not much more different than the way non-models justify long-hours away from the family working in the business.

    What’s exceptional about this is that it attracted mainstream attention, and surely someone was intrigued to ask, “Why is she doing this, and is there something to it that I want for my own?”

    She should be on “I am second”

  13. Good on her for following her convictions. It is hard enough to without having a spotlight on you because you are a public figure.

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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