Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TYNDALE BLOG NETWORK REVIEW: I'M NO ANGEL ~ KYLIE BISUTTI


I quit being a VS model to become a Proverbs 31 wife – Kylie Bisutti



LEAVING FAME FOR FAITH

I knew I couldn’t continue to pursue a career as a supermodel – let alone a Victoria’s Secret model – and still live a life that was honouring to God.  The desire for personal fame and glory would always stand in direct opposition to the kind of humility and modesty God desired.  And they would forever stand in the way of my becoming the kind of God-honoring wife Mike deserved – the kind of woman I read about in Proverbs 31 - Kylie Bisutti

In December 2011, 21-year-old Victoria’s Secret model Kylie Bisutti stunned the fashion industry when she chose faith over fame and fortune and made the switch from supermodel to role model.

In I’m No Angel, Kylie shares her story - from her early years struggling to make it big in the cut-throat world of modeling, her “big break” winning the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition, and the disillusionment and spiritual warfare that followed, to the moment she realized that she could no longer reconcile her career with her Christian beliefs, surrendered her life to God, turned in her Angel wings, and dedicated her life to preaching a message of modesty and inner beauty.

Along the way, Kylie talks about her personal struggles with inadequacy, low self-esteem, and her near-constant quest for approval in a world where you can never be thin enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough. She helps readers understand that true beauty lies within and that real fulfillment comes from knowing, loving, and serving Christ.


I’m no Angel by Kylie Bisutti  is the story of a Victoria’s Secret Angel, the most glamorous of models, leaving the fashion industry and modeling world behind to honour her husband, and God, with her body.  Becoming a VS Angel shortly after marrying the man of her dreams, Kylie and Mike were catapulted into a world neither of them expected.  Kylie adequately phrases it as “By taking on the persona of an Angel, I had unwittingly signed a deal with the devil”.

Kylie treats the reader to a front row seat of her entire modeling career with all its ups and downs; starting out modeling at the local mall, following opportunities that took her abroad, signing with agencies in New York, and finally hitting the big time by becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel.  As to why she wrote this book, Kylie explains:

I believe God allowed me to walk through the fire and see the best and the worst the industry had to offer so I could come out on the other side stronger and wiser, with my eyes fully opened to the truth.  And now I believe He is calling me to share what I’ve learned, with the hope that other people won’t have to learn the hard way, as I did. - Kylie Bisutti
Kylie (second row, third from right) with some of the other VS Angels


In many ways, the entire [Victoria's Secret] brand exists to create an illusion of the perfect woman - one engineered to drive men toward lust and, at the same time, drive thousands of impressionable young women toward frustration, self-hatred and despair as they try in vain to achieve an impossible ideal - Kylie Bisutti 

We follow Kylie’s harrowing experiences, including being exposed to the dangers of sex-trafficking and prostitution, the drug abuse, eating disorders and extreme surgeries some models subject themselves to in order to be skinny, and the disturbing reality that a model wanting to be a part of the fashion industry needed at least one topless photo in her portfolio: "What does posing nude have to do with fashion? I wondered.  And yet the models with the R-rated comp cards seemed to be the ones getting the jobs."
 
Then there are the horrific elements that came too close to home in Kylie’s case; verbal abuse - being called a fat pig and a cow by her agent (for the "crime" of being a size 2!), physical abuse - what is to my mind assault and a near-rape by a seedy photographer exploiting a young girl new to the business, and the infidelity, the lies, the deception, the betrayal, and the pornography that seems to be par for the course in the industry.  Kylie elaborates on the excessive and often painful beauty treatments used to get models runway-ready, and even her own surreal experience of being Photoshopped to have a  significantly smaller waist, and a bust size three times her normal one!  The reader also gets a glimpse of what the lifestyle meant for her marriage and how it affected her husband.  We don't always think how hard it must be for a man to watch his wife strut her stuff in underwear, millions of other men getting to see her that way; not to mention the comments from his friends!

Kylie and her husband, Mike

Despite being happily married and very much in love with her husband, Kylie was encouraged to refrain from wearing her wedding ring in order to keep the fantasy of the VS brand alive.  She was also approached by at least one celebrity through VS, who thought Kylie was his type and he wanted to “get together” – even though the fact that Kylie is married was no secret.  By all accounts neither the celebrity nor the VS exec had a problem with propositioning a married woman.  Shocking! Kylie was expected to play down her marriage, and to be a flirty, seemingly available VS model.


Angels are put on the runway with one intention: to seduce every man in eyeshot.  It would be years before the Lord would awaken me to the twisted irony in that: Angels, depicted in the Bible to be God’s messengers, being portrayed as sex symbols. - Kylie Bisutti

I wouldn't say that I'm No Angel is an exposé on the dark side of the industry; for me it's more of a testimony - in writing this book Kylie doesn’t badmouth anyone or anything, she simply tells her story.  This book is an excellent read for all women in general, and I would especially recommend it to girls considering entering the world of modeling, as well as their parents. 

More than focusing on the industry as such, Kylie is focusing on being a woman of worth – the importance of being a Proverbs 31 woman strongly comes across, and the message of inner beauty far outshines the focus on the glamorous outer beauty.  It was a pleasure following Kylie’s journey, and her spiritual growth is a joy to experience. 

I'm No Angel contains the most accurate depiction of the modeling industry nowadays, that I've ever come across.  Kylie concurs, at some point  modeling "is not about modeling clothes anymore".

I’d known for years that a big part of the industry was selling sex – especially when it came to lingerie.  But until I heard him say the words, “That’s what we’re paying you for,” it had never really hit home before.  That’s when it finally hit me.  I was being paid to tease, tempt and tantalize men.  And it wasn’t just my job.  As a Victoria’s Secret Angel I was expected to make this my whole identity.  

I simply couldn’t live the lifestyle the brand demanded and be a strong, faithful Christian wife.

Kylie doesn't hold back any of her mistakes in writing this book.  It must have been really hard for her to relay some of the things she went through, but the lessons she learned are valuable and can save many young girls from similar hurts.  More importantly, Kylie has let go of her past thanks to Christ's forgiveness.  Kylie now lives a quiet life with Mike in Montana where she volunteers at her local church, and is working on a Christian fashion line that she describes as modest clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. 



...thanks to the Internet, there would always be dozens of images of me out there I wished didn’t exist.  While those images may never go away, I can assure you that the girl in them no longer exists.  As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5: 17, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun! - Kylie Bisutti



Product Information:
Title: I’m No Angel
Author: Kylie Bisutti
Number of pages: 304
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Year: 2013
ISBN-10: 1414383096
ISBN-13: 978-1414383095


Tyndale House Publishers has kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review, nor did this review lead to any personal gain other than the joy of being part of the Tyndale Blog Network.




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