The Assignment: Kylie Bisutti, a model who shed her wings to soar for Christ

Mike and Kylie (courtesy photo)

Kylie Bisutti is a 21-year-old beauty who has been modeling since she was a young teen.

At just 19 she was named the winner of the first ever Victoria’s Secret Model Search and, donning a pair of wings– the brand’s trademark– she walked the runway in the 2009 Victoria’s Secret annual televised fashion show.

After that, her career took off.

She modeled for magazines like Maxim and FHM, usually scantily clad.

Famous photographers snapped pictures of her frolicking in waves in tiny bathing suits.

She had everything she could possibly want right at her fingertips, but by 2010, she’d had enough.

She decided to walk away from the type of modeling that brought her fame and recognition.

Kylie’s relationship with Christ and her relationship with her husband, Mike, were far more important; her body was for Mike’s eyes and no one else’s, she said. 

She shared her decision with her family and closest friends and quietly moved on to modeling more modestly.

Then about a month ago, Kylie came across Live31, a movement that aims to spread the message of Proverbs 31 to men and women. Live31 began with a Facebook status by Alex Eklund, one of the movement’s founders– “I’d rather have a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model.”

Kylie sent Live31 a tweet saying, essentially, “I was a Victoria’s Secret model who quit to be a Proverbs 31 wife.”

She said she felt compelled to share her decision because it fit in so well with the Live31 message.  

Fox News got wind of it and just like that, Kylie was everywhere.

Once again she was making the news. Her face has been splashed across computer and television screens around the world. Recently she’s appeared on Good Morning America, Glenn Beck, CBS This Morning and many others.

This time, she’s using the massive platform to share her faith in Christ.

On a recent afternoon, as Kylie drove through the mountains of Colorado, she and I spoke about her decision to quit modeling lingerie and the positive impact it’s making on her marriage.

She was sincere and humble;  the following are the questions I asked and her candid answers.

Can you give a timeline of your career with VS?

I won the Victoria’s Secret model competition in 2009 and my career catapulted after that. I actually stopped modeling for the company in 2010. That’s when I decided to stop modeling lingerie all together.

When was the exact moment you decided you didn’t want to model lingerie anymore?

There were a lot of things that ended up leading me to the decision, more than one specific moment. I started going to church more and reading the Bible more. Basically it was Christ working in my life and I know everything is in His timing. He has a plan for everything. He used my modeling to bring me to where I’m at now. He showed me I wasn’t honoring my husband or my marriage. My marriage is my most important earthly relationship. When I modeled lingerie, I felt I wasn’t being a Christ-like example.

What is the message behind your decision?

Basically, I think that giving God the glory in everything is the biggest thing for me. He’s really the reason why I’m able to change. I’m just praying that He uses this to help young girls and just show them that they don’t have to dress the way I used to. They don’t have to be half-naked to be beautiful. I’m so much happier finding my worth in Him instead of the attention I was getting before. That’s what true happiness is, salvation through Christ.

How did Victoria’s Secret respond? Have you gotten feedback from the other models?

I got zero negativity from Victoria’s Secret. They’re a really professional brand. I had fulfilled all my contractual commitments with them. I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback from other models. I’ve also received some negative feedback from models, mostly models who think I look down on them for modeling lingerie. I’m not judging them. This is a personal decision for me.

Were you prepared for the media interest in your decision to cease lingerie modeling? What about the images of you modeling lingerie that flooded the Internet and television?

I was not prepared, but I did know it would probably happen. The photos are all out there and online for everyone to see. I can’t control what the media is going to use. It’s a part of my past. It’s a positive thing because people can see where I came from and see where Christ has made changes in my life.

How did your parents feel about your modeling career, particularly with Victoria’s Secret?

They were really supportive. They knew my biggest childhood dream was modeling. My mom is a believer, my dad isn’t. She’s really, really thankful that I’m not modeling lingerie anymore. My dad is happy too.

What was your church-life like growing up?

I wasn’t brought up in any religion and I never went to church. The first time I went to church was with a friend from school when I was 15. I went because the church parties and trips were a lot of fun. When I was 16, Christ truly opened my eyes. I was really depressed when I was younger and after I accepted Christ, I was totally changed. My mom could see it. My brother could see it.

What are your career plans now? Where will you draw the line in terms of what you model?

I’m definitely going to continue modeling, I’m just going to be more discerning with the modeling I do. I would love to speak at conferences for teen girls and at different churches. I’m working on a book about my modeling experiences and finding fulfillment in Christ. My main thing is that I don’t want to be modeling sex. I’ll check to see what message the client wants to get across and if it’s about selling sex, I won’t be taking the job.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I definitely plan on starting my own modest clothing line. A Christian clothing line that’s fashionable at the same time. We’ll maybe have a child by then. I’d like to expand my website and do more speaking engagements at churches. Maybe a second book will be out by then.

You are extremely mature for your age, you also married relatively young. Where does that maturity and confidence come from?

It comes 100 percent from Christ. He’s definitely the reason for all the good things in my life. He’s always molding me and shaping me. I moved to New York when I was 16. I homeschooled online, I was out in the world, going on castings, paying my own bills. I had to grow up faster than most kids my age.

Tell me about your husband.

My husband’s name is Mike. My No. 1 role model in life is Christ, but after Him is my husband. He is the absolute biggest reason I’ve grown in my relationship with God. Mike really does love me like Christ loves the church. He’s in sales, he also does motivational speaking. He’s helped me and shown me so much grace throughout this whole situation. He’s loves God a lot.

I’ve read that your mother-in-law told you about the Victoria’s Secret auditions. How does she feel about your decision to retire from lingerie modeling?

She’s really excited. She’s very thankful. She wrote me an email about how awesome it is and how it must be God doing all the work and how she’s definitely going to church now.

How will your decision to model more modestly impact your children, especially daughter(s)?

I think it’s definitely going to impact them in a huge way. I was talking with my pastor’s wife a while ago about how happy I am that the Lord’s working in my life now so that I can be the right example when I do have children, so that I can show them what true beauty is.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it? How has scripture helped you through this process?

One of my favorites is Luke 23:34 [But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.] I just love that verse because it shows Christ’s forgiveness and it’s crazy to me that He’s so forgiving and loving. He would even forgive people who were driving nails through His hands and feet. His love for us is beyond words. Reading my Bible has helped bring a lot of peace.

“The Assignment: A closer look at the guys behind the Live31 movement” can be found HERE.

For more information about Kylie, please visit her website at www.KylieBisutti.com.

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