|Evangelical Models Give Up Runways for Jesus|
|By CECILIA VEGA (@ceciliavegaABC) and ALLISON MARKOWITZ||Sep 26, 2013, 10:39 AM|
Kylie Bisutti was the "it" girl of the modeling world, spending the past few years relishing in the fame and fortune that came with being a poster girl for beauty. But she has since become part of a growing number of models ditching the spotlight for Jesus.
Just four years ago, Bisutti beat out 10,000 girls to win the Victoria's Secret model search competition, and started booking big-time jobs. But in a stunning about-face, she recently took to Twitter and announced she was quitting her lucrative modeling gig to choose her Evangelical Christian faith over fame.
"I don't regret anything that I have done because it's just the testament to how much I have changed since then," she said.
In the process, Bisutti has cashed in on a book, a new Christian clothing line called God-Inspired Fashion, and nationwide speaking tours.
Bisutti said the shiny, glamorous world of modeling dimmed after photos of her from shoots ended up on pornographic sites. It was her faith, she said, that led her to walk away. She wrote a new tell-all memoir, "I'm No Angel," dishing on the modeling industry's dark side -- from eating disorders to nearly-nude photo shoots.
When her book was released, Victora's Secret pushed back, saying Bisutti exaggerated her relationship with them. But it seems Bisutti has used her racy modeling past as a launch pad for a burgeoning business.
"It's part of the story... and it does show the change in me," she said. "I'm not really here to bash the industry. I am just here to tell what happened to me in the industry ... my agency calling me a 'fat cow' when I was a 108 pounds."
In a statement to ABC News, Bisutti's former agency said at no time has any model been called a "fat cow" and they said they had no knowledge of any of her photos being used on porn sites.
While on her speaking tour, Bisutti visited the Mosaic Christian Church in Sacramento, Calif., and from parents to pre-teens, the room was packed. She has developed a devout fan following, and many of them are young girls, struggling with insecurities.
Like Bisutti, Nicole Weider dreamt of glitz and glamour of modeling runways and Hollywood.
"I just wanted to be famous because I thought that would be--make me happy," Weider said. "I thought that being successful, and in front of people, would make me happy."
But even at 5-foot-10, Weider was told her curves posed a problem.
"My agent said my hips were too wide, and she said just the way I was built, I could never do that, and I was really embarrassed, and I left that agency that day crying," she said.
Weider's former agent responded to ABC News, saying she doesn't make blanket statements like that to models.
Four years later, Weider has shunned her provocative past and put her Christian faith front and center, offering advice on everything from clothes to relationships to tweens.
When she is not a personal shopper, Weider runs a website called Project Inspired, where her Christian fans can find her monthly "God Talks" video messages, in which she reads scripture to young girls over video chat.
"I am more fulfilled now that I have God in my life, than I ever thought that I could be by measuring up to what my agents wanted me to do, or what the photographer thought I looked like," she said.
In Idaho, Kylie Bisutti continues to work with her fashion line team on new ideas -- every meeting starts with a prayer. Her line offers shirts, pants, blazers and scarves, all featuring Bible scripture.
"We believe he definitely put this idea on our hearts to have this Christian clothing line and to start it," she said. "It's just the way for me to kind of share my faith or you know share what I believe with other people."