Body Beautiful

Is it just me or is going to the hairdressers a bit like medieval torture?

An hour spent trying to avoid your own reflection.

Sixty minutes fielding questions about your Holiday Plans/Boyfriend/Job/Exotic sex life. (I HAVE NONE OF THESE. NOW DROP IT)

A pumping soundtrack.  That you don’t recognise because Yes, You are Old. And No, they won’t switch it to Classic FM.

Plus, worst of all…

Enough celebrity magazines to sink an ocean liner (along with your self-esteem).


I know.  This is not a normal response.

The hairdresser is just being friendly.

It’s no-one’s fault I look like a plucked chicken in a shower cap.

I’m not being forced to read about Jordan’s toe-lift.  And yet… celeb gossip is just so Moreish.


Like too many coffees, gossip mags  are not good for my health.  They leave me with a bad taste.  But it’s not caffeine – it’s the familiar tang of Discontent.

Discontentment about my looks

my life

my faith

my holidays

my home furnishings

my personality

my pets and most of all,

my eyelashes. Until Kim Kardashian pointed it out, I’d no idea they were so tiny. How have I been leaving the house? I may as well give up now or invest in a paper bag.

Total nonsense, of course.

But my fickle heart yearns after what The Beautiful Ones have Got. Yes, I know I have Jesus and that’s all that matters.  But if only I was a celeb/model, then life would be Really perfect.  I’d be happy and complete and I’m sure I’d still pray and stuff too.  I’d use my fame for Good.  Honest! God’s secret PR weapon.

Right, Lord?  Lord..?

It’s pathetic and it’s a lie that I keep buying.  Which is why the same wonky heart thrilled when I read about Kylie Bisutti, an actual real-life Victoria’s Secret model.


Hold on – it’s not what you think.  Kylie’s actually an ex-lingerie model.  Despite winning one of the most prestigious modelling jobs on the planet, she quit her job because she felt it was getting in the way of her faith.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying you can’t be a model and a Christian.  Like so much of life, that’s between Him and you.  But if I were a Victoria’s Secret model, I suspect I’d be married to Orlando Bloom and floating around on a lilo, not being convicted about my choices.

Nor was it an easy decision for Kylie. After beating some 10,000 women to win the coveted position, she said, ” it was all that I had ever wanted’.  But two years later, her thinking changed. “The more I was modelling lingerie – and lingerie isn’t clothing – I just started becoming more uncomfortable with it because of my faith…My body should only be for my husband and it’s a sacred thing.”

Kylie tells of how a young cousin was watching her put on her make-up.  Her cousin then said this:  “I think I want to stop eating so I can be like you”.  Kylie’s response? “That just broke my heart.  She looked up to me.  I didn’t want her to think she had to do that to be beautiful”.

You won’t read about this in the magazines at the hairdressers.  But it’s more stunning than a million pages of pimping, airbrushing, Kardashians and shiny PR. And it’s a wake-up call to me and my (stubby) eyelashes.


5 thoughts on “Body Beautiful

  1. I hate, hate, hate, going to the hairdressers! You described my feelings exactly – the music, the mirror, the mags, the shallow conversation which makes you feel your life is dull…argh! Discontent creeps into every corner of my mind, which is why I only get my hair cut twice a year at most. I love having my hair done, but I dread getting my hair done. Thanks for sharing!

  2. If you’re a model, or an actress, or an artist, there’s surely more going on here than just what’s between ‘you and the Lord’… the deeper question we have to examine is is such vocations warranted for a Christian, and what is the framework for this. There is a total absence of any Creational theology in much of mainstream evangelical thinking, so these areas are entirely ignored or miss-understood, which means that any Christian engaged in these fields is usually equally isolated.

  3. Hi Howard

    You’ve rumbled me! Yes, it was a bit of a cop-out. I guess I was trying to avoid being prescriptive and saying that X job or vocation is fine for a Christian and Y is not. But you’re quite right – the deeper question is the framework for all that we do: whether working or resting. And it’s all too easy to be lazy and say ‘God’s fine with it’ instead of thinking it through.

    For a great analysis of this very issue, see Tim Keller’s talk on the gospel and work, (http://redeemercitytocity.com/content/com.redeemer.digitalContentArchive.LibraryItem/503/Hope_for_Your_Work.pdf). Keller’s thesis is that we have to look at whether or not what we do contributes to God’s kingdom and human flourishing. Of course this goes way beyond strapping on a clipboard and taking to the streets, (tho as the wife of an evangelist, I’m not knocking that approach either).Thus, if we’re in an industry that produces or encourages behaviour that is detrimental to spiritual/physical/emot health, then we have to ask very big questions about whether we should be doing it. Usually however, these are far less clear-cut. Where the rubber hits the road is in the little things: if I work for an advertising agency for example, am I creating campaigns that appeal to human greed or lust? How do I relate to clients and colleagues? etc.

    Then there’s the creational questions: can we live an embodied life that celebrates who we are – including the lingerie model? Is such a job necessarily a spur to lust or greed – or is my response the overreaction of a faith that’s frightened of physicality? That’s something I certainly need to think through.

  4. Emma, I’m delighted by your response – that’s the kind of reaction to these issues that, sadly, is sorely lacking today. As a fine art photographer, I find the one place I have to keep my light in this field hidden is the church, and I’m certainly not alone. I recall hearing an excellent interview with Hollywood producer Ralph Winter (who worked on the Star Trek movies) where he identified exactly the same problem – ‘creativity’ of this nature is deemed to be non-Christian and thereby valueless. I’d strongly recommend, for anyone who is beginning to understand that there is a crucial alternative to this approach, the works of Hans Rookmaarker, who sought to show the value of the arts within a Christian world-view. Many thanks for raising this one.

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