I’m No Angel

im-no-angel-book

I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model, by Kylie Bisutti. Originally published in 2014. 304 pages.

Recent events, both public and not so public, set my mind to becoming curious about what books have been written on the subject of modesty. I don’t mean the kind of dogmatic, rigid approach that presupposes any bit of attractive femininity is sinful. I was looking to see what was written about the convergence of true modesty and feminine beauty in the context of a walk with Christ in the real world.

So I went to my local library’s website for the express purpose of checking out Wendy Shalit’s book, which I have read much about but never read. Somewhere along the way as I clicked, clicked and clicked some more, I ran across Kylie Bisutti’s book recounting her journey from child model to winner of the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition as a young bride of 19, to deciding less than a year later to walk away from it all as she began to realize how her career as a lingerie model dishonored both God and her husband.

I first encountered Mrs. Bisutti’s story in 2012, and even blogged about her at the time, so I was slightly familiar with it. I expected the book to be slog to get through,  but as I was embarking on a project of sorts, I was willing to tough it out even if it turned out to be horrible. Thankfully, it was not horrible and I read through it in three nights online via hoopla since our library system did not have access to a hard copy.

The book was surprisingly interesting. High brow it is not, and I was a little bugged by Kylie Bissuti’s dependence on the teaching’s of Joyce Meyer as she struggled emotionally through an industry that she both loved and felt increasingly out of sorts with.  Nevertheless, she told a compelling story.

The best parts of the book were without question, the behind the scenes glimpses of what life is really like in the modeling industry. After the release of her book, Victoria’s Secret fired back numerous accusations concerning the facts of her story, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

I felt a bit of compassion for 17-year-old Kylie when at 5’9″, 1115 pounds, her agent called her a cow in front of an office full of people and demanded that she come back from her holiday break 8 pounds lighter. I found this particularly shocking, as she realized that her 36-inch hips was relegating her to the designation of curvy, and not it a complimentary way:

Not big hips, mind you- just hips. In the modeling industry, anything over 30 inches is considered curvy, and curvy does not play well on the runway- especially in high fashion, where being rail thin is considered the ideal. Horrifying as it may sound, some models even go so far as to have their hip bones surgically shaved down to reach that precious 30-inch mark. Others have their bottom ribs removed so that they look ultra thin. It just felt like part of the industry to me when I was starting out, but now it breaks my heart to think of girls and young women using surgery to deform the beautiful way that God created them.

With a recounting of her childhood, teenage years, and the very brief courtship she shared with her husband Mike, Kylie Bissuti makes a run at presenting a well rounded recounting of her life. Interwoven within all of it were the numerous moments of nagging doubt that she felt the urge to walk away and didn’t- starting with her HS boyfriend all the way up to the very uncomfortable party after winning the Victoria’s Secret modeling competition.

In the end this turned out not to be a book about modesty as much as it was about one young woman’s struggle to do the right thing. I didn’t come away from it feeling as if it had been a total waste of four and a half hours of my life, so that’s something.

Grade: C

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14 thoughts on “I’m No Angel

  1. Among the friends of my daughters is a young lady who is just about 6′ tall and has that willowy figure that the modeling agencies love, and when she mentioned that, I did make a point of noting the kind of things you note about how models are treated.

    It’s also somewhat darkly amusing that they’re asking ladies to get down to 30″ hips….if anyone wonders why I think that most fashion designers really aren’t interested in women, there ya go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the things she figures out (and I offer her heaping of grace because all of this took place from the ages of 14-19) was that her job was basically to sell sex. She instinctively knew this was wrong.

    Her parents seemed like good people who tried to be cautious. But they were naive and never wanted to see their little girl unhappy so…

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  3. Damn Els, I may have to give up the three CoverGirl products I use for something else. I’m not particularly fond of funding this kind of nonsense. I wonder how long it will be until the brand CoverGirl becomes politically incorrect and they change it to CoverPerson, CoverIt, CoverHuman, CoverXer, or CoverZis? It’s Madness.

    Two-Cent Woman (formerly Mrs. H.) Wait, is “woman” PC or will someone be offended by my microaggression of acknowledging that there is such a thing?

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  4. Yeah, Mrs. H. It’s pretty bad. I used to buy a few CoverGirl products, too.

    Two-Cent Woman (formerly Mrs. H.) Wait, is “woman” PC or will someone be offended by my microaggression of acknowledging that there is such a thing?

    Stay tuned, I’m sure they’ll let us in on the next iteration any day now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When hubs looked at pics from our beach trip way back when he asked, “Why isn’t Joanna in any of them?”

    I told him you were. He mistook you for another one of the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know it was a typo, but I found it funny…

    “I felt a bit of compassion for 17-year-old Kylie when at 5’9″, 1115 pounds”

    I thought, man, they’re taking this plus-sized model thing a bit too seriously (1115 pounds).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. RE: A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit.

    GREAT book! Check it out if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet. She goes way beyond talking about modest clothing. She talks about:

    1. Her parents opting her out of sex ed class in school, and what her classmates were being taught.
    2. The pressure for young college women to have sex – by other women!
    3. How chivalry, though despised by feminists, really protected women.
    4. The trend for parents to provide “safe spaces” for their teenagers to have sex.

    There was a lot more, but it’s been over a year since I read it, so I don’t remember everything. If you are raising girls, I highly recommend the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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