From Victoria's Secret Model to Role Model Part I - Kylie Bisutti

At 8-years-old, Kylie Bisutti never dreamed she’d one day walk the runway as the winner of the most coveted competition in modeling—the Victoria’s Secret Angel contest. And she certainly never dreamed, less than a year later, that she’d walk away from it all to pursue an even greater prize.

A tomboy who preferred denim to designer, Kylie was never a “girly girl.” Although she wasn’t particularly tall, Kylie had, in her words, “freakishly long legs” compared to the rest of her body. And she was rail thin. By eighth grade, she towered over most of her classmates who made fun of her size and called her giraffe

But adults saw her potential: “Look at those long legs of yours. You could be a supermodel someday!”

In her book, I’m No Angel, Kylie reflects on the power of words: “Adults don’t always realize the profound effect their words can have on young kids—girls in particular. These people mean well, of course. What harm could possibly come from telling a little girl she’s pretty? Technically, none—unless that’s the only affirmation she ever hears . . . the only reason she gets attention.”

Although her family knew nothing about modeling, they were supportive of Kylie's interest. When they moved to Las Vegas, Kylie got her first break—a contract with the Envy Agency, one of the biggest in the city. 

“I thought if I could make it big as a model,” Kylie says, “I could prove something to all those people who had teased me at school.”

Kylie at 13-years-old
Although Kylie worked primarily as a runway model, she also did photo shoots to expand and enhance her portfolio, making her more hireable. But during her first photo shoot, the photographer pushed her for more and more provocative poses. “I didn’t understand it at the time,” Kylie says, “but ultimately the modeling industry’s job is to sell sex. Even ads aimed at women featuring women tend to have a sexy edge to them, especially when it comes to fashion.”

Kylie didn’t feel guilty about striking those provocative poses; she just saw it as part of the job. “After all the teasing I’d endured at school, it felt good to have someone complimenting me on my looks,” she says. “The more positive feedback I got, the more willing I was to push the envelope.”

When she became a freshman, and her 5’9” body began developing hips and a bust line, the boys no longer called her giraffe. The modeling agencies also began viewing her differently. In the modeling world, Kylie explains, “anything over 30 inches (hip size) is considered curvy, and curvy doesn’t play well on the runway—especially in high fashion, where being rail thin is considered the ideal.”

She heard horror stories of models having their hipbones shaved or lower ribs removed, and most of the models crash dieted, did cleansing programs, and purged. Kylie began to feel the pressure. . . 
(To read Part II of Kylie's story, CLICK HERE)

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Thanks to Janine at True Aim Education and Amy at Raising Arrows for featuring this post on their weekly link ups.

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  1. Dear Lori
    I am looking forward to read the rest of Kylie's story. It is unfortunately such a glamorous, yet competitive and terribly sad and lonely career. I agree that the messages we repeatedly hear as children, plays a major role in how we see ourselves as adults.
    Much love XX

    1. It really is a wake up call, Mia, to be so careful with our words to our children. We can speak words of blessing and vision, or words that can send them down a completely dangerous path. Thanks for stopping by today :)

  2. Like Mia, I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of this story. The pressure is high to look and act and dress a certain way - and we see the results in the news when we don't feel like we measure up. I love the song "More Beautiful You" by Johnny Diaz.. It gives me hope. Blessings. Janet

    1. Janet,

      I love that song, too, and appreciate its very biblical message. I love the reminder that God fashioned us exactly the way we are for his good purposes and to glorify himself. Thanks for stopping by today :)

  3. This is a great story, and I'm also looking forward to hearing the rest of it! Thank you for sharing this! It's so important to remind girls and women that we are beautiful because we are children of God made in his image! I'm writing a series on modesty right now and that's a big part of it.


  4. Thank you so much for this post! Such an inspiring story, and I look forward to reading the rest. I am so thankful to have found your blog today. It has been a real blessing and encouragement to me. God bless you!

  5. Two things, I'm so glad I have this book on my Kindle to read. Secondly, you were less than an hour from me, and I could have met you. If my email hadn't gotten overflowed, I would have read this the day it was posted. :( I hate that I missed your Everyone Has a Story event because I'm a huge fan of that idea!
    I'm so glad that you're sharing Kylie's story.


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