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Strike A Pose

Once upon a time I was a model.  Try as you might to find a picture of me hidden in the pages of an outdated fashion magazine or in a pile of resume head-shots, you will only end up disappointed (perhaps) and confused.  Stating, “I was a model” is using the term “model” very loosely.  In fact, the two words “I” and “model” don’t even belong in the same sentence together.  Let me try and say this again:  (A-hem) Once upon a time I wanted to be a model.


The time I’m referring to was my ninth grade year of high school.  My sister and I got our hands on a copy of Seventeen Magazine – this, in and of itself is incredible for two reasons:  First, we lived in Kenya, and Seventeen Magazine just didn’t float around our neck of the woods.  And second, even if Seventeen Magazine was available at the local grocery store check out lane, our parents would never buy it for us.  I’m still scratching my head as to how we managed to commandeer such a publication, but we did, and boy, were we inspired.  We studied each page with awe and intrigue.  I think what made the greatest impression on my teenage self-image was how the sixteen-year-old girls posing and articulating to the mag their “I-was-sitting-in-an-airport-terminal-and-this-modeling-agent-came-over-to-me-and-handed-me-their-card-and-the-rest-is-history” type stories, looked nothing of sixteen years but more like twenty-five.  Leaving an insecure, mascara challenged, fifteen-year-old feeling really discouraged and downright ugly.  Their lives were storybook as were their peaches and cream complexions and long tousled locks.  Every page held the unattainable dream of teenage beauty.  (No wonder my parents didn’t want those magazines in our home!)


So what did my sister and I decide to do?  We came up with the genius idea of taking our own modeling shots and perhaps shipping them to Seventeen Magazine, or any agency with the mailing address: New York, New York.  Oh yes…inspired we were (and not too bright either).


model0003We spent days on our little project:  Choosing our outfits, preparing backdrops and themes that would coordinate with our various clothing ensembles, planning our make-up and hairstyles for each shot, and all while listening to cassette tapes of our favorite bands.  We gleaned much inspiration from songs like Chicago’s “Hard Habit To Break” and “You’re The Inspiration”. 


It was truly a magical and sisterly bonding time.  Yet, once the pictures were taken, developed, and scrutinized, we came to the sobering conclusion that our modeling dreams would never be realized.  First, our complexions were far from peaches and cream.  Our hair was way too damaged from perms and overexposure to the sun.  Our figures, while thin, weren’t nearly womanly enough to catch the eye of the adolescent boys at school, let alone a modeling agent.  Even though we never verbalized our insecurities over the many flaws and imperfections we beheld in those rudimentary pictures, there was a mutual agreement that the likes of Seventeen Magazine and New York, New York would never be receiving our package in the mail.


Instead, the photos were sealed in an envelope marked “Please Do Not Open – EVER”, placed in a storage box and forgotten.  That is, until about two years ago.  I was rummaging through a bunch of my old high school paraphernalia and couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered the old “modeling portfolios” of Amy and Jennifer.  I disregarded the strict instructions “Please Do Not Open – EVER” and tore open the envelope as quickly as my fingers could move.  As I flipped through the photographs recalling, to the detail, every memory of our modeling venture, I picked up the phone and called my sister on the other side of the country.  We laughed.  We cried.  We laughed again, and cried some more.  Once again bonding and wishing desperately we could share this moment in the same room rather than via phone call. 


After hanging up and wiping the tears from my eyes and nose, I looked through the pile of pictures one last time.  Smiling, an uncontrollable reflex when looking at snaps like these, I thought about the fifteen-year-old girl staring back at me in the shot.  Wow.  She was actually kind of cute – dorky and without an ounce of “cool” in her DNA – but cute just the same.  For a moment I felt sad that the girl I was twenty years ago couldn’t see what I saw as a grown woman and mother of two girls of my own.  I longed to tell her that Seventeen Magazine and all those abnormally beautiful faces weren’t the scale by which she should measure her own beauty.  The beauty that God was cultivating in her far surpassed flawless skin and shiny smooth hair.  The beauty she should be chasing after wouldn’t be found in magazines and make-up.  Eventually, I think it finally hit home with her, and her passion for modeling was traded in for a passion of a different kind.  I hope I’m the woman I aspired to become when I was fifteen years old – a model of a woman with a heart after God.


I’m still in progress – working on a different modeling portfolio these days.  As my youth slips away little by little with each year that creeps by, I pray I grow more and more beautiful on the inside.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I believe that goes for both physical and internal.  My husband thinks I’m hot when I’m dressed up, hair done just right and make-up meticulously applied, and equally, when I roll out of bed first thing in the morning.  (Others may not be as forgiving when my hair is a mess and my breath is not so lovely.)  In the same way, when God beholds me in our secret times and not-so-secret-times, I want Him to find me beautiful.  I want my life to reflect Him and bring glory to Him whether I’m sitting in my big red overstuffed chair at five-thirty in the morning, or hanging out with a bunch of girlfriends.  It is far greater a challenge to achieve a beautiful spirit these days than it is a beautiful face.  However, the beauty that comes from within is a beauty that lasts forever – a beauty that lives eternal.


Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;  But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.


 By the way, when my girls saw these pictures they asked me what was wrong with me and why I was “acting” so weird.  I couldn’t even convince a six-year-old and a four-year-old that I was a model!  Go figure.

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7 Responses to “Strike A Pose”

  1. Amy Andrews says:

    Oh my gosh, priceless. LOVE the photos. I am totally sitting here cracking up. Rolled pants, Chicago, pouring over Seventeen magazines, hoping I would one day be “discovered” in some random place…me too. I’ve gotta say, gaining perspective makes getting old great.

  2. kendra says:


    what a blessing it was to read your blog. i love reading from you and jennifer. great writing and great storytelling.

    love you much,

  3. How I enjoy your writing and reflections!

    I was chatting on FB with my high school friend, Stephanie, the other day. We began to talk of similar things and how glad we are who we are inside better than who we were in HS with all of our insecurities. However, she was still wishing for her HS body….as was I (for her body, that is!). We went so far as to take a modeling class together at the local community college…talk about weird poses! Why did we act so ‘weird’?

    love, Stephanie

  4. Angel says:

    you have such a gift with words. thanks for sharing. a blessing to me and an inspiration to strive for that inner beauty only God can give.
    Love Ya!
    Angel (Hymes) Cazares

  5. Leanne Halling says:

    Wow, Amy I didn’t know you had your own website. This was a blessing to read. I even had tears in my eyes as I could completely relate to the desire to be desirable at that age. Then to find out in my 40’s (you have a ways to go) that to be desired by God is truly having been “discovered” by The Model of Beauty. I’m happy to know you in this time of your life as a model mom and wife!

  6. sister sheri says:

    Amy… What would we have done differently back then if we knew what we know now? We wouldn’t believe it, would we? But still we need to instill in the precious daughters in our lives the Truth knowing that it never returns void.

    I so enjoyed the pictures and walking down memory lane with you… but even more so the reminder that I am more beautiful today and each day as I draw closer to looking like my Father in heaven.


  7. [...] from church, wrapping our baby dolls on our backs with kikois.  We lived out brief but exciting careers as models.  We’ve been chased, on foot, by a herd of elephant, we’ve been reprimanded in the [...]

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