Christina Talks About Unmasking Her Identity As A Model, And Finding Her Worth In Gods Eyes and Not In The Pictures She Takes.
“I need you to change it up, that pose isn’t working, you have done that pose already, suck your stomach in, that one isn’t working.” Every time I step in front of a camera, it’s a comparison game. I am not reminded of who I am, but about who I am not. All of my flaws are magnified through the lens of a camera and onto the screen of a computer. From the runways, to TV appearances, and clothing campaigns of the modeling world. The truth is…there are very few moments that I actually feel beautiful in this industry. There is always another model sizing you up, and you sit there staring at the floor at your casting, realizing that there is someone next to you who is more beautiful, with bigger boobs, and who poses better than you in front of the camera. Just when you think your portfolio is complete, a girl rolls up and has better pictures than you. Just when you think your agents are happy with you, they want more. More pictures, clearer skin, and a better body.
This is the roller coaster of the modeling industry that I have been in for the past 7 years. Why am I still in it you ask? Because I want to be an authentic person and voice in an unauthentic industry. When the world sees the modeling industry they see lights..camera..action. They see glamour, money, fame, and perfect beauty. What they don’t know is that the modeling industry is far from those things. That is what the world sees on the outside, but once you peel away the mask of the modeling industry, you see the truth. You see young 13 year old girls sexualizing themselves to get the jobs, you see models starving themselves to keep contracts, the comparison game, models who are treated like hangers more than people, shallow conversations, people loosing site of who they are in order to get ahead, and models feeling like yesterday’s leftovers because someone who was prettier and thinner came onto the scene who is now working for their client instead of them. You have girls finding their self-worth in a photo shopped photo of them self, and in the pay checks they earn.
After 7 years in this industry and being signed with some of the top agencies in the world, I can honestly say that I too fell prey to many things. I compared myself to others, and was always left feeling empty and not beautiful enough. Because there was always another girl who had better pictures, bigger boobs, a better body, and better poses. I found myself finding my identity and self-worth in the pictures I took, the jobs I booked, and the contracts I had. All the contracts, pictures, campaigns, and TV appearances in the world didn’t make me feel beautiful, valued, or precious. In fact it left me empty, longing for attention, and feeling unworthy. When a top agent signed you, you feel good about yourself, but when you don’t book the jobs and when your pictures don’t measure up. They throw you out. To the modeling world you are disposable, and replaceable. You are just a mannequin to them, that they dress up, display their clothing, and take down the next day.
Its honestly the saddest place I have ever seen, with some of the most empty people I have ever met. In an industry where everyone wants to be seen, and noticed. I have learned that I am already seen, noticed, and known by God. He doesn’t determine my worth by the pictures I take, the jobs I book, or the paychecks I get. He reminds me of what I am and who I am and not what I am not. I have found the greatest peace and beauty by looking into the eyes of heaven. My identity can’t be found in the modeling industry because it’s a world that is temporary. I have chosen to place my identity in the eyes of the Father of heaven who calls me His royal daughter.
To all the girls out there who want to be seen, noticed, and known. God sees you, notices you and knows you. You are known by Him, and He desires to make you the princess of His heart. Don’t find your identity in a teenage boy who doesn’t know who He is, or in how many followers you have on social media, or in a picture you take of yourself. Those things will fade, but the crown you wear as God’s daughter will never fade.
Founder of Beauty Has No Size
"And now I know I was born good enough"- Ashley. Ashley tells her story of battling Anorexia and the beauty God brought from her brokenness.
Ever since I could remember I’ve had a twisted relationship with my body. It has been a thing of pride and a thing of hate. Getting more attention than was wanted or deserved or getting none at all. I never felt good enough. Never pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, creative enough. I was always anxious and always self critical, even in kindergarten getting made fun of I would be mortified and berate myself for about a week.
What I began to realize was that the only praise, or at least what I took as praise, that I got was for being tiny. Kids were possibly making fun of me telling me I had chicken legs, but my brain took this as a compliment. Had I finally found what I was good enough at? This was so damaging and so twisted, but that is what I went with.
My life at home did nothing to combat the negative self-talk and feelings of inferiority. Ever since I could remember I was terrified of my father. Terrified to disappoint him, terrified to say the wrong thing, terrified to look at him wrong, terrified to breath. The quick whip of his tongue could steal someone’s dignity for a very long time. I grew up learning that love was conditional and God was a God of wrath and judgment, not a God of love and forgiveness. Everything that I did wrong it was just a sentence to hell.
I was spanked regularly for things that looking back now, were absolutely ridiculous. I had severe separation anxiety and had panic attacks and cried every day in kindergarten. It was not ok to cry unless you were physically hurt, so I was threatened if my teacher reported that I cried again I would be punished. Of coarse I did and was forced to pull down my pants as my father whipped me with a belt. This is when I began to learn that emotions were evil and not to be felt.
The years following things were stripped away from me little by little until my mother finally decided to do what she had to do to take us out of the situation. We put our things in trash bags and went to a hotel while he was served with papers. The year following was awful. He broke into our house after he had said we could live there, he threatened to take me so my mother would never see me again. My anxiety was at all time high, I lived in a constant state of fear.
Fast forward to high school, the place where all good souls go to die. I entered into my first relationship that was completely destructive and every relationship after that was not much better. I was lied to, cheated on, and told I wasn’t good enough by every single one. The message I received from guys was that my body was all I was good for and it was the only reason they were with me to begin with.
In between all of this my body began to change as I went through puberty, I was a late bloomer. All a had that was good was my body, and now it was changing and becoming larger. I began to restrict my food when I was about 14. I would go back and forth from completely restricting to eating normally depending what was going on.
By the time I was 18 it had spiraled out of control. The very thing I was doing to feel more in control was completely out of control and I didn’t want to admit it. One morning I collapsed and had a seizure and the cat was out of the bag. There was no more hiding it. My mother knew I had a problem and took me to a psychiatrist who referred me to an outpatient eating disorder treatment center. I didn’t want to be there so I did what I had to do and say to get out. I faked weight by water loading and stuffing things in my underwear. I lied about eating on the weekends; I hid weight gain supplements under my bed. I did work a little in therapy, but not enough to recover.
I was discharged and relapsed shortly after. I think that I finally felt that I had hit rock bottom. I had nothing to live for I didn’t care if I lived or died so if I died thin so be it. I began to go to the church that I went to as a child, completely terrified. I was so confused because what the pastor was saying was completely opposite of what I grew up learning when I lived with my father. God may be a God of judgment, but he is also a God of love, and mercy, and forgiveness, and second chances. To justify his beatings my father used Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” A sermon that I sat in years later covered this verse and talked about how a shepherd’s rod was used to guide sheep not hit them, and that Is what a parents responsibility is.
Slowly, but surely I began to make steps towards recovery. God didn’t just take my eating disorder away I had to work and it was hard, but he did give me the biggest gift I have ever received. My husband. It took me a long time to trust that he wasn’t going anywhere. That he was gonna stick it out through my mental illness. I had finally met someone who loved me unconditionally. A year and a half later we were married. It wasn’t easy it was very hard. I still had so many irrational thoughts and fears that would surface, but my husband still stuck around and still loved me.
After we were married we faced a new hardship that turned our world a little upside down. Shortly after we were married I had a difficult time being intimate. I began having what I know now were flash backs of sexual abuse that I endured when I was little. I quickly spiraled into my eating disorder again as its all I’ve ever known. I got very sick very fast. While no one around us understood why I couldn’t just snap out of it my husband remained constant in his unconditional love and support.
I had to go to a residential treatment center this time, in Eugene Oregon. I was gone for three months and it was incredibly hard, but it was the best thing for me. I was finally able to be away and completely work on my self and my traumas. The biggest thing I worked on besides traumas was being good enough. I finally thought who the heck am I trying to be good enough for? The people that have abused me? The people who left because they didn’t want to deal with the rollercoaster that is severe mental illness? The ones that decided if you have to work too hard at a friendship it isn’t worth it? The people who have put me down my whole life? The ones who lied to me, cheated on me and continuously told me I wasn’t good enough? Actually yes…..that is who I had been trying to be good enough for my entire life. WHY?
I realized that the only ones I should worry about being good enough for are the ones who already love me unconditionally, therefore the term good enough is irrelevant. I could never be anything, but good enough in their eyes. Being good enough wasn’t earned it just was, because they loved me.
All my problems didn’t just disappear, but they get better everyday. Just because I have been strongly in recovery for three years doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle. Some days I hate my body. I overanalyze everything I say. If I hear someone say my fathers name in public I panic. I absolutely hate it when any man looks at me. But it gets better every day and now I know I was born good enough.
What Beauty Means To Me
Lauren Davis Shares Her Heart
What beauty means to me:
The Lord looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart. By the workmanship of God, who, by his Spirit has garnished the heavens, and covered the earth with beauty. He who created the earth also created you. We are just clay which he shaped us individually to the uniqueness of perfection in the Lord's eyes. God sees past all the outward adornment straight into our hearts and the Lord says we are valuable because the one who is most valuable is the only one who can make you valuable. That is more important than what anyone else in the whole world has to say about it. Beauty is when God touches a life bringing it from ashes to radiating beauty. God's glory to shine through ashes and being glorified. That's true beauty. A light shinning so bright the beauty that is raining his glory from death to light of everlasting.
Christina is passionate about restoring value, purpose, identity and beauty to the young women of this generation. Follow- @beauty_hasnosize