While women may gaze longingly at Victoria's Secret poster girls and wish they had their endless legs and always-perfect hair, they may not know what a career as a model is really like. At least, until now.
When former Victoria's Secret model Kylie Bisutti chose to end her modeling career at the ripe age of 23, she chose to write a book about it -- and the stories within reveal quite a bit of information about what she believes the industry promotes women to become. The copy on her website for the book reads: "She realized that she could no longer reconcile her career with her Christian beliefs, surrendered her life to God, said goodbye to the runway and dedicated her life to preaching a message of modesty and inner beauty."
Bisutti moved to New York at age 15 and spent years as a struggling model trying to break in before she won the Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel competition in 2009. From there, she experienced many negative reactions to the industry, including "feeling like a piece of meat" and being told she was "fat" at 115 pounds. She says she prayed about the matter and made a decision that her faith was important than remaining a part of the modeling business' excessive expectations.
Victoria's Secret has issued a statement about Bisutti and the book to US Weekly, saying that the model was hardly involved with them after the Runway Angel competition.
"Ms. Bisutti has made numerous fabrications and misstatements of fact regarding her brief association with Victoria's Secret. She was never a Victoria's Secret 'Angel' as defined by the terms of our Angel model contract," the statement continued. "She has repeatedly fabricated her work experience with Victoria's Secret -- including a relationship that simply did not exist."
Bisutti says that her book is less about Victoria's Secret as a company and more about the unhealthy world that modeling fosters on its participants.
"My book is really about the modeling industry as a whole and about helping girls with self-body image issues, eating disorders and really exposing the entire industry for what it is. It's not targeting their brand."
Either way, the model's decision has the industry chattering about long-standing issues regarding body consciousness and the image models promote. Bisutti recounts some of the disturbing experiences she saw in her book, saying that as she saw more and more girls collapsing after runway shows and hospitalized because of eating disorders, she realized she was unable to continue.
The Christian model continues to broadcast positive body messages via her blog, and she also has a Pinterest board called "Exposing the Industry." She also has another board called "Modest Fashionistas," which promotes women looking beautiful and stylish without being scantily clad.