Seeking True Beauty as a Spokesmodel

Every Square Inch Cropped

Editors’ note: The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and work. Interviews are conducted and condensed by Bethany L. Jenkins, director of TGC’s Every Square Inch.

Trinity Laurel is a fashion model in Los Angeles. She has worked for Ralph Lauren, Koral Los Angeles, Kimberly Ovitz, and appeared in Beachbody Exercise DVDs and on QVC with supermodel personal trainer Leandro Carvalho. She also has represented brands like Bentley Motors, Nike, Bloomberg, Herbal Essences, AirBerlin, Google, and Time Warner Cable in North America and has traveled to England, Jamaica, Italy, and the Middle East for work and humanitarian projects.

Trinity TOP photoHow do you describe your work?

I describe myself as self-employed because, even though I have modeling agencies, I am responsible to manage my own career. If I don’t hustle and network, I don’t eat! My work, though, is modeling. I do commercial print, fitness and fashion, but mostly I do two types of modeling—fit modeling and spokesmodeling. With fit modeling, the work isn’t glamorous. I try on samples and help designers make improvements and corrections needed to get the best fit for the consumer. Spokesmodeling, on the other hand, gives me a lot of interaction with consumers, because I get to represent brands and travel with them to promote their products to potential clients.

When you come to New York City next week, what will your spokesmodeling job look like?

I work as a spokesmodel for a high-end automobile manufacturer. They train models and actresses just as much—if not more—as their regular dealers on their products. We travel to all of the North American shows and serve as the first faces of the brand that the customers see. Since it’s a luxury brand, we have a small clientele. But we get to meet with potential customers, bring in leads, and connect people with the dealership. I like this role because there’s more to the position than external beauty. Our clients expect us to know about the product, too.

Is thatexpecting more than external beautyrare in the industry?

Unfortunately, it can be. My biggest challenge is making sure that I don’t connect my physical appearance and financial reward with my personal worth. It’s easy to think that my value is tied directly to my look because—quite literally—I am paid to look and act a certain way, while maintaining very specific measurements. Thankfully, I’ve never struggled with my body image or an eating disorder, but I have wrestled with rejection and shame when my paycheck has fluctuated based on my physical appearance or when I’ve lost a client because my size or measurements have changed. It can be crippling and, at times, depressing.

Trinity BOTTOM photoHow do you deal with such profound struggles of identity and value?

Going through these issues alone is a breeding ground for despair. So I look to community, where lies can be exposed and compassion can flourish. Thankfully, I have a strong community of like-minded believers in Models for Christ (MFC). It meets a unique struggle that those in the fashion industry face—isolation. We travel so much and often to far-off places. So MFC tries to connect people all over the world with local churches wherever they happen to be and put them in small groups for encouragement and exhortation in the Lord.

How has your idea of beauty changed over the years?

The fashion industry is fickle, and focusing solely on the worship of outward beauty can kill the heart and take away the wonder that beauty was meant to create. There have been times when the brokenness of the industry has left me disillusioned, and I’ve struggled with hating beauty itself. But God continues to show me that there is a purity to the creative process that can point to him. C. S. Lewis says, “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” So I fight to find beauty in the unchanging qualities in which God delights—humility, truth, kindness, self-giving, joy.

  • Emmanuel

    Hi. I haven’t read the article, but I have questions about the choice of pictures. Are they not sending a conflicting message? two gorgeous blondes, probably photoshopped, is that true beauty?

  • Laurie Steen Killingsworth

    I know Trinity to be a solid, committed, faithful, loving young woman of God. This article is well written and got to the core of who she is and what she does, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. She’s one amazing treasure of a person!

  • Bethany Jenkins


    Thanks for your comment. You are right to acknowledge that the modeling industry – like all industries including law, finance, ministry – are broken. How we engage and work in industries that are broken is always a challenge. But it is also an opportunity.

    How will these industries change? Is it better for Christians to exit from them entirely because they are broken? Should we abandon our calling to be in the world because we cannot figure out how to wrestle with our calling not to be of it? Is our primary role as the church to critique and condemn?

    Andy Crouch (Culture Making) helpfully distinguishes between gestures and postures as the church engages the culture. He says that our gestures can be critiquing, condemning, copying, and consuming, but that our postures ought to be creating and cultivating. For this models God – he may make gestures of critique, but his posture is always to create (e.g., 1 Peter 1:7; Isaiah 48:10; John 3:17).

    In the same way, we approach each other. We show compassion to one another as we consider how to work in industries that are broken, as we live in the already-but-not-yet reality of our moment in the redemptive arc.

    If anyone thinks that modeling is off limits to Christians, then we will simply have to disagree. Having Christians in modeling is good for the industry and for those working in it, too. When non-believing models get to know honest and sincere believing colleagues, there is an authenticity in the relationship – an authenticity that is especially beautiful when a model who could easily find her significance in her external beauty instead finds it in Christ.

    The reality in the industry, of course, is that models are contracted to wear clothing. That is their job. Where to draw the line on what constitutes “respectable apparel” in some cases is a difficult decision and one that should not be considered lightly. It’s a good question and perhaps we could have asked Trinity how she addresses it. Indeed, we might ask her that in the future.

    As for featuring a person with a public presence that may (or may not) cause others to stumble, we were discerning about what we chose to feature on our site, and we cannot anticipate how everyone will follow up after reading our resources.

    • RStarke

      The Christian in culture question is a big one best left for another day, *but* I had a lot of my own questions answered in James Davison Hunter’s book “To Change the World”. He disagrees with the “culture making” perspective, but argues for something called “faithful presence”, which he describes as “an expression of a desire to honor the creator of all goodness, beauty, and truth, a manifestation of our loving obedience to God, and a fulfillment of God’s command to love our neighbor.” As each of us is gifted and placed in different contexts, desiring to be faithfully present as a Christian will be what guides our choices in our different vocations. Sometimes God will bless, and sometimes He will actually permit great trial.
      While the world seeks to exploit human beauty, I find the church, and especially the Reformed community, distinctly uncomfortable with it. We talk and write at length about its futility and the hidden person of the heart, but when someone appears who is inarguably physically beautiful, we judge. We don’t think. We just judge. Laurel seems to be in a unique position to help other women aspiring (for good or wrong reasons) to be a model actually think Christian-ly about it. God bless her.

  • Allison Jodie

    When we look at
    the example of Christ HE was the one who ate with the tax collectors, prostitutes
    and those living in the darkness. He did not come to judge the world, but save
    it. How are we supposed to love the world if we aren’t in it? What a beautiful
    and rare blessing that Trinity gets to be working in an industry that is
    typically seen very worldly. What a powerful example that she can have towards
    these women and men. I commend her and will pray that she can have boldness.

    • Josh

      I 100% agree Allison! Jesus often times was misunderstood for his unconventional approach to ministry. He challenged the norms of the religious leaders of his day. Sadly the church can sometimes identify with the Pharisees approach to ministry rather than the man they claim to follow. This idea of staying separate from the world is so opposite of what Jesus taught and lived out. He hung out with tax collectors and Samaritan women. He defended prostitutes from being stoned to death, etc, etc. Jesus made a very appropriate comment to the Pharisees who were obviously missing the point… Is it the healthy who need a doctor or the sick? Trinity has made a difficult decision of working with the “sick” and she is being salt and light and she has made a mark on her world as a result. She is a godly woman and i hope my daughter is half the woman that Trinity is. I looked at her pictures as well and Joyce’s assessment is a poor one at best. I’ve enjoyed the discussion. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Tip Killingsworth

    I’m a granddad who works with addicted young men over here in Ireland and I loved your article on Trinity Laurel, the model. I read one of the responses to your article and checked the images on Trinity Laurel’s website. I expected gratuitous nudity. What I found was a range of modeling photographs that reflect differing interests of potential employers. Photos in a swimsuit strike me as no worse than my three sons can see on any beach or pool in the country. My boys were taught by me to appreciate a woman for her character. Anyway, she had me on the C.S. Lewis quote. A model that is well read so as to be conversant on one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our day deserves a hearing. She’s obviously “not just another pretty face.” I found an article featuring her in the New York Times that shows her in a different light than some modeling pictures.

    • Bethany Jenkins

      I remember reading that article when it came out. Thank you so much for posting it! Indeed, Trinity has been a friend of mine for a few years. We met at a Bible listening event – which we went to every Friday morning just listening to the Scriptures for an hour and a half. She’s truly beautiful inside, too – not to mention flat out fun and full of joy. Thanks for the NYT post!

    • BT

      Tip, I found your comment enlightening, especially when you wrote that this was “no worse than my three sons can see on any beach or pool in the country.”

      Is that the evangelical standard now? As long as Christians are “no worse” than the unsaved, then what they’re doing is appropriate?

    • Guest

      Tip – You’re Trinity Laurel’s father. This is a kind and supportive but biased view to post in a community forum where readers who are personally removed from the subject profiled can discuss matters. Your thoughts are welcome, but I wish you had identified yourself as her father in your post to be fair to readers.

      • Tip Killingsworth

        Fair to readers? Well, guest, I try not to brag, but my relationship to Trinity is irrelevant unless what I say is incorrect or meant to create a misleading impression. I think this is a situation like liberals criticizing the use of Scripture to support the resurrection. Yes, the Bible is biased but it’s also the best historical information on the subject. I’d suggest that not knowing Trinity (being personally removed) as a prerequisite to posting a comment on her interview is both silly and naive but go ahead and post a comment of your own.

  • Aaron

    I don’t think my gut reaction is as strong as Joyce’s, but I admit I have trouble reconciling a career like fashion modeling with the Gospel-centered life. Perhaps that’s my own immaturity – I’d be curious to know what the average TGC reader thinks.

    I understand Bethany’s cultural engagement and creation argument, especially as a millenial who has distanced himself from the religion-as-politics (Religious Right, etc.) movement of my parents’ generation. However, it seems this line of reasoning could be extended to any field, if the only qualification is that it must be ‘broken’. No doubt the female escort service industry is broken, prostitution is broken, the porn industry is broken, etc. etc. I’m not sure anyone would advocate being an active (or passive, for that matter) participant in these professions in order to enact change, no matter how virtuous the motive. Is fashion modeling fundamentally different in its culture and message? I experience some serious cognitive dissonance whilst trying to reconcile Christian efforts to promote modesty, biblical womanhood, purity, etc. with professions that require contractual obligations related to body image, physical appearance and apparel. But I maintain that my ignorance of the industry could be a factor.

    This is in no way an indictment against Trinity – she is an obvious outward beauty and seemingly inward as well. I suppose I’m just adding my two cents to the long-debated Christ and culture debate and wondering how far this idea of cultural/workplace engagement is extended.

    • Bethany Jenkins

      Aaron, This is a very helpful contribution – and one that we wrestled with frequently in the Gotham Fellowship (a 9-month discipleship program for professionals through Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s CFW).

      Wolters’ “Creation Regained” is probably the best book we read on this topic (and I highly recommend forming a book club with friends and using this book to wrestle with some of these questions). He breaks down redemptive theology – creation, fall, redemption, and restoration – and, in the section on the fall, he writes (in relevant part):

      “If it is true that Adam’s sin carries in its train the corruption, at least in principle, of the whole of creation, then it becomes very important to understand how this corruption is related to the originally good creation. This relation is crucial for a Christian worldview. The central point to make is that, biblically speaking, sin neither abolishes nor becomes identified with creation. Creation and sin remain distinct, however closely they may be intertwined in our experience. Prostitution does not eliminate the goodness of human sexuality; political tyranny cannot wipe out the divinely ordained character of the state; the anarchy and subjectivism of much of modern art cannot obliterate the creational legitimacy of art itself. In short, evil does not have the power of bringing to naught God’s steadfast faithfulness to the works of his hands.

      “Sin introduces an entirely new dimension to the created order. There is no sense in which sin ‘fits’ in God’s good handiwork. Rather, it establishes an unprecedented axis, as it were, along which it is possible to plot varying degrees of good and evil. Though fundamentally distinct from the good creation, this axis attaches itself to creation like a parasite. Hatred, for example, has no place within God’s good creation. It is unimaginable in the context of God’s plan for the earth. Nevertheless, hatred cannot exist without the creational substratum of human emotion and healthy assertiveness. Hatred participates simultaneously in the goodness of creation (man’s psychic makeup as part of his full humanity) and in the demonic distortion of that good creation into something horrible and evil. In sum, though evil exists only as a distortion of the good, it is never reducible to the good.

      “Perhaps the point can be made plain by speaking here of two ‘orders’ that are irreducible to one another. In the words of John Calvin, we must distinguish between ‘the order of creation’ and ‘the order of sin and redemption,’ which relate to each other as health relates to sickness-and-healing. These two orders are in no sense congruent with each other. At every point, so to speak, they stand at right angles to each other, like the length and width of a plane figure. The perversion of creation must never be understood as a sub-distinction within the order of creation, nor must creation ever be explained as a function of perversion and redemption. As fundamental orders of all reality, they coexist – one original, the other adventitious; one representing goodness, the other involving deformity.

      “Or, to clarify the point further, we may say that sin and evil always have the character of caricature – that is, of a distorted image that nevertheless embodies certain recognizable features. A human being after the fall, though a travesty of humanity, is still a human being, not an animal. A broken relationship is still a relationship. Muddled thinking is still thinking. In each case, what something in fallen creation ‘still is’ points to the enduring goodness of creation – that is to say, to the faithfulness of God in upholding the created order despite the ravages of sin. Creation will not be suppressed in any final sense.”

      In other words, as we discuss working in certain industries, we must avoid both extremes – on the one hand, not taking the sinful effects of brokenness seriously and, on the other hand, not taking the goodness of God’s creation seriously. Modeling is by no means unique in this discussion. The more we know about other industries, the more we realize that we have to wrestle with all of them in similar ways. The areas in which I have worked, for example, are very broken – law (injustice), advertising (manipulation), finance (economic inequality), and politics (lobbying interests). We must acknowledge this but, at the same time, avoid defining them solely by their brokenness. We must look at their created goodness, too – law (order and justice), advertising (creative information), finance (wise investment), and politics (social structure).

      • Tim Mullet

        It does not sound like you are addressing the substance of Aaron’s concern. There are obviously professions that are illicit for the Christian. He has mentioned some of those professions. It sounds like he has difficulty concluding that modeling should not be one of those illicit professions. Your reasoning process, as it stands, does not provide a helpful way of distinguishing between illicit and licit professions, but seems to assume the legitimacy of all professions. His concern is that an individual can use the same arguments that you are using in order to argue for a Christian presence in the porn industry. Are Christians responsible to redeem the porn industry by becoming Christian porn stars?

        You say, “The areas in which I have worked, for example, are very broken – law (injustice), advertising (manipulation), finance (economic inequality), and politics (lobbying interests). We must acknowledge this but, at the same time, avoid defining them solely by their brokenness. We must look at their created goodness, too – law (order and justice), advertising (creative information), finance (wise investment), and politics (social structure).”

        Questions that naturally come to mind:
        1) Why shouldn’t a Christian define the porn industry solely by it’s brokenness?
        2) Why must a Christian look for created goodness in the porn industry?

        Clearly sin is something which has historically afflicted a good creation, and needs to be considered separately from the creation itself, but
        3) aren’t some professions actually inseparable from iniquity and defined by iniquity?
        4) can we legitimately argue for the neutrality of all professions, when some professions involve hiring people to sin?

        I understand that your comments were limited to the professions that you mentioned, however in order to answer Aaron’s question, you must give a rationale for distinguishing licit professions and illicit professions. You are assuming what you are being asked to prove. It really sounds like you are arguing for the neutrality of all professions.

        5) Are any professions nonredeemable? If so
        6) How do we distinguish an nonredeemable profession from a redeemable one?

        • Bethany Jenkins


          My reply to Aaron was intended to provide deeper theological thinking behind the important, complex questions you address. Since this was an interview, not a substantive article, I don’t feel inclined or equipped to discuss the broader questions or implications or illicit vs. legitimate vocations at this time – that is, in the reply field of an interview piece.

          Having said that, one of the reasons we do this weekly column is to see what issues arise. As you may know, the faith and work presence on TGC is new, and we are constantly trying to discern what FAW issues are important to our community. So I appreciate your raising these issues because I do think they are things we will cover in the future.

          As for the porn industry, I think it’s important first to consider the fashion industry at large (or the marketing industry, which is the means by which the fashion is presented to us). To me, the porn industry sits under the broader fashion-marketing industry and is a great example of the sinful distortion of that broader industry. Can fashion-marketing result in pornographic images? Absolutely. I would say that porn companies are the clearest example of that in their intentions and images. I would also say that apparel companies like American Apparel frequently cross the line in their advertising, too.

          There are, however, two important things to note: (1) This is why we need more Christians in these broader industries like fashion-marketing. Founders often represent their personal values in their companies’ products and marketing. Cursory research about the founder of American Apparel, for example, makes it clear why that company advertises as it does. We need Christians founding apparel companies and working in marketing departments and agencies. As others have mentioned, to abandon them full stop is a mistake both evangelistically and culturally. (2) To only talk about the distortion of the fashion-marketing industry (porn) misses the gospel narrative. This was my point to Aaron. When we skip over the creation and go straight to the fall, we truncate the gospel and fail to see the goodness of God’s original intention. Both creation and fall (and redemption and restoration) are important. My limited work experience in marketing was on Wall Street when I worked at the NYSE. We made informative, creative, helpful, beautiful, and influential ads for newspapers, magazines, ballparks, etc., for current and potential investors. When done well, marketing benefits the community. This is where we start – with creation and vision – just as the Scriptures do, just as the gospel does. Then we move on to the distortion and the effects of the fall. To caricature either one – the creation or the fall – is dangerous and unwise.

          • a woman of CHRIST

            IT IS WRITTEN. Literally. God-Breath.

            Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, WHAT YOU WILL PUT ON. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 AND WHY ARE YOU ANXIOUS ABOUT CLOTHES? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles (some translations say “pagans” which I think is more suitable and more quickly understood) seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

            Is it possible that the fashion-marketing industry is already a distortion from a biblical perspective?

            • Meredith

              These words are also God-breathed:

              “From the blue and purple and scarlet yarns they made finely woven garments, for ministering in the Holy Place. They made the holy garments for Aaron, as the Lord had commanded Moses. He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined line. And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design.”
              – Exodus 39:1-5

              “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple… She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.”
              – Proverbs 31: 21-22, 24

              “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace…
              Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.”

              -Song of Solomon 4: 9, 11

              “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
              – Revelation 21: 1-2

              Our God is a God of beauty– not just the beauty of the natural world, but man-made, created beauty. When Jesus told us not to worry about what we wear, I don’t think He was saying that we should all just wear canvas bags, or that it’s somehow sinful for us to take care of our physical appearance, or to enjoy beautiful clothes for their own sake.

              Thank you for this article, Bethany! I’m encouraged that TGC is seeking out Christians in different professions to encourage us that we can make a difference exactly where we are. My husband is a fighter pilot in the US Air Force– a professional environment rife with its own set of challenges for a Christian. These series of articles are helping to remind me that even when it’s difficult and I wish that my husband had a career in which it’s “easier” to be a Christian, God has a purpose and a plan for us being exactly where we are.

            • Trinity Laurel

              These scriptures are so powerful Meredith. Thanks for sharing them… I also appreciate all the sacrifices your husband and family have made as he has served this country. I’m grateful for freedom.

            • MichaelA

              “Is it possible that the fashion-marketing industry is already a distortion from a biblical perspective?”

              Of course. So is the real estate industry, for exactly the same reason. And so is much of the law (trust me on that one), and financial planning, and municipal planning. All the more reason why Christians should be involved in those professions.

          • Tim Mullet


            Sometimes the newest “deep teaching” has the tendency to go the way of Thyatira…

            I imagine that much of the recent talk on culture has this tendency.

            As much as we do not want to have a simplistic understanding of culture and the Christian’s relationship to it, it does seem as if we should be able to acknowledge basic truths, like the possibility of professions and industries that are off-limits to the Christian, without qualification. If our theology gets so “deep” that we cannot unreservedly proclaim that Christians should never accept a job that requires them to sin, then perhaps something is wrong with our theology.

            • Bethany Jenkins

              I’m sorry, Tim. I’m not sure that I follow you. “Creation Regained” was published in 1985 …

          • Paul Maxwell


            Your responses here are so. amazing. Keller-esque in their balance. But the point you’re making – that we need to balance how we allow the goodness of creation and the brokenness of sin to inform our conception of any given cultural institution – is very needed. I just finished Center Church, and found Keller’s chart in chapter 5 to be deeply helpful in orienting my thoughts. It’s actually available for download here:


            Love this FAW series. What a great inductive test-case for piecing together a model (!) for relating Christ and culture. And the modeling industry is such a great example of how these deeper questions need to be asked – because it is so easy, with certain issues (like modeling), to become an extremist in our models of relating Christ and culture, when we claim to be moderate or center-bound on other issues.

        • MichaelA

          “It does not sound like you are addressing the substance of Aaron’s concern.”

          Tim, respectfully no, that’s not the problem. Rather, the problem is that both Aaron and you have made a huge assumption and then expected Bethany to falsify it.

          “There are obviously professions that are illicit for the Christian. He has mentioned some of those professions. It sounds like he has difficulty concluding that modeling should not be one of those illicit professions”

          Which is actually Aaron’s problem, not anyone else’s. We know that prostitution is an illicit profession for a Christian, and its quite easy based on scripture to conclude that involvement in pornography is the same. But it is not at all so clear that modelling is so, yet both you and Aaron have decided that it is so, a priori, and then complained because Bethany can’t or won’t come up with a definition that will satisfy you .

          The ball still lies in your court – show why modelling is NOT a licit profession for Christians before asking anyone else to come up with a contrary argument.

          • Tim Mullet


            Nothing in my comments has argued for the illegitimacy or legitimacy of modeling. Please re-read with that in mind.


    • MichaelA

      Aaron, the problem with that reasoning is that you aren’t confronting the fact that the same “culture and message” (i.e. focus on outward beauty) is found in many professions, and it is often surprising how central it can be:

      *the law
      *real estate sales
      *christian ministry

      In all of these, being good-looking (men more so than women) often provides significant career advantages.

      There is no particular reason to pick on modelling unless you deal with these others as well.

      • Aaron

        Thanks for the reply, Michael. I don’t think there is anything especially heinous about modeling, but this probably isn’t the venue to address all possible professions where this may be an issue.

        Being good-looking does, in fact, have competitive
        advantages. Studies show that empirically attractive people (using some semi-objective measures) not only
        have advantages in the workplace, but are also statistically happier. As you noted, for men in particular, the happiness is presumably increased because the better-looking ones have higher wages (and are also able to snag better-looking mates). For women, the studies show they seem to be happier just from being good-looking, excluding other factors like wage

        But this reality kind of reinforces my skepticism with
        regards to modeling. It’s my understanding
        that much – if not all – of the fashion/modeling/marketing industry is exploiting this very fact, and not at all in a subtle way. It’s explicitly using sex and beauty to make
        people believe they would be happier, smarter, sexier, etc. if they buy/invest/adopt this or that product. On top of that, it rewards or punishes men and women in the industry based on a sexualized ideal. This in my mind seems mutually exclusive with much of what we’re taught in the Word. Even assuming a Kuyperian view of Gospel transformation and redemption in the culture, I don’t think we can explain away specific and direct warnings in Scripture for the sake of a bigger, broader storyline.

        Again, I don’t know if that’s how Trinity experiences and
        sees it. It sounds like some of her work is very practical, i.e. fitting clothes for consumers. And I’m not trying to shame her in any way either. I think Trinity, Bethany and I
        agree on far more than we disagree, and to even know if we fundamentally disagree I think we would need some more discussion and a couple cups of coffee. And by the looks of it, these lovely ladies are both single so that’s an open invitation ;-)

  • Jonathan Hippensteel

    If God calls us into the Fashion industry and we say “No, it’s too dark and sinful to go in there,” then WHO will reach those people in Fashion? If we don’t heed the call and go forth with boldness and take light into the dark place, who will? Mark 2:17 — ‘And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”’

  • Lauren Regan

    How neat that a Christian woman, who knows what true beauty is, is using her gift/her platform in the fashion industry. Her heart for The Lord is evident and I’m sure that people who work with her can see her overflowing love for God. She is shining light in a dark workplace, and that is something worth rejoicing over.

  • a woman of CHRIST

    Jesus did eat with sinners. He loved sinners. We are all sinners.
    If the one with whom He ate was a prostitute, He did not partake of the profession in order to reach her. If the one with whom He ate was a thief, He did not steal bread in order to reach him. Following this vein, He would have sat equally with lawyers and doctors and politicians and abortionists and humanitarians and blog writers and communists and tea party revivalists and pastors and porn stars and murderers and garbage collectors and stay-at-home moms.
    And He would have maintained His identity: GOD.
    And He would have maintained His character and disposition: FLAWLESS. ABSOLUTE. PERFECT.
    And He would have maintained His purpose: RESCUE.
    He was still God and He was still a carpenter when He mingled in and with the diverse crowds that always gathered around and followed Him.
    He saw and knew their hearts. In some cases their hearts were also displayed by their occupation.
    Prostitutes were saved. Teachers of the law wanted to stone Him. They also wanted to stone those He saved.
    Jesus came to save sinners–willing to own their sin.
    We are all sinners, including those that think they are above reproach and are unwilling to admit they trangress. His salvation is applied only to those willing to confess their sins and Name Him both Lord and Savior.
    Many will and do say, “Lord, Lord.”
    And even demons know He is God–and tremble.
    Do we tremble? Do we worship?
    Or is our worship saved for others?
    Or even saved for self?
    It is an extremely dangerous position to manhandle the Scriptures to meet our argument need of the moment rather than using proper hermeneutics.
    Let the Word of Truth speak:
    Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    1 Timothy 2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
    1 Peter 3:2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
    Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
    There seems to be some level of Dominion Theology within this conversation. In address to that I would add:
    “Look! HE is coming with the clouds! And every eye will see Him!”
    The One, King Jesus, Full-Rights-Owner of dominion, which is the Greek word κράτος. It means strength, might, power in effect, force, superiority, strength as exerted. Until He returns the reality is that all creation is groaning and we are speeding toward The Revelation. Not physical or civil or artistic or monetary or political redemption. Trinity is gorgeous–but she will wrinkle and age and die. The curse continues. Until HE COMES!

    And really, let’s give Him the glory. Let’s willingly bow to His Authority.

  • Madlin

    I know the industry that Trinity Laurel works in can be a tough industry in protecting yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Recognizing that inner beauty is just as important as outer beauty in this particular industry is huge. Having a heart for others, truly being kind to each other, and at the same time keeping a positive outlook for yourself is important and can make huge differences! Thank you Trinity of being an awesome example of a beautiful model who at the same time values true inner beauty and sees it’s importance.

  • a woman of CHRIST

    My prayers this evening carry Trinity Laurel to the throne of mercy and grace. You too–Bethany. And may this conversation yield each participant deeper into obedience to Jesus Christ. How great He is! And how He loves us–so much that Hebrews 5 tells us, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death.” Those tears were for each of you. And me. And Trinity. They were loud. His soul was shaking.
    He understood experientially the wrestling with the world. And the weight of it.
    His Spirit, still, groans with helpful intercession for each of us “in accordance with God’s will.” For Trinity.
    And Jesus–when He cried loud and expressed tears, “was heard because of His reverent submission.”
    Hebrews 5:7; Romans 8:26-27

  • Wendy Alsup

    Thanks for this, Bethany. I had never contemplated the issues a Christ loving model might face. It was neat to think through this by way of Trinity’s interview.

  • Joyce Griffin

    In order to better understand my concerns, please refer to the following article by John Piper who is a Council Member of The Gospel Coalition.

    • Bethany Jenkins

      Joyce, Thanks for engaging. I think I understand your concerns and, in fact, I bet we probably share many of the same ones. The issue here, though, is how do we engage the fashion-marketing industry in a way that helps it to change? It is good for Piper (or any end user) to write a letter to the paper expressing his concerns. That is a good thing and I appreciate that he did that. (Several years ago, Jewish families in my neighborhood successfully lobbied Victoria’s Secret to have more appropriate window advertising. This, too, was a good thing.) In the end, though, the end user of any type of advertising is not the one making the decision about a company’s advertising; an employee of that company is. This is why Christians should work (and, thankfully, are working) in fields like fashion, marketing, advertising, journalism, etc. If we require industries to be spotless or blameless or sinless before we say that Christians can work in them in any capacity, then I fear that we are not displaying one of the most glorious aspects of the gospel: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He came to us. He became us. He pursued us.

    • Tip Killingsworth

      I decided to read John Piper’s letter to his local newspaper and his concerns aren’t relevant in this case. I would hope that discriminating believers can see the difference in a couple of swimsuit pictures out of 15 others of various types on an online modeling resume when compared to an entire page of lingerie ads in a newspaper. Clearly, the purpose for the ads is to titillate for the purpose of selling a product using sex. A couple of bathing suit pics for a “fit model” is radically different. A fit model isn’t a comment on the model’s level of physical fitness but a model who serves as a live mannequin for clothing designers who want to see their creations on a real person before fashion shows or production runs. “Selling sex” is obviously not appropriate for a young woman making a claim to godliness. An online resume for fit modeling isn’t trying to “sell sex” in any way by having a couple of swimsuit pictures. I think some proportion is needed on this issue

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  • Responding Comment

    Bethany– With all due respect to Trinity Laurel, it sounds like she has never actually worked as a fashion model for a proper modeling agency which would give her the “right” to speak up and authoritatively about the modeling industry and women’s issues re beauty and security in it. It sounds like she has worked as a promotional model (for events) which is very different from being a spokesmodel which is a model who gets paid well to officially represent a brand by modeling in its ads and speaking about it in person. To say that she worked as a fashion model for Ralph Lauren and represented Herbal Essences is classy-sounding but misleading about the level of her involvement in the modeling, fashion, and beauty industries. I say this meaning no offense to Laurel, but because it’s important to be clear, w/o airbrushing, about someone’s position in this world so that we can understand what authority s/he has. This said, everyone’s story and opinions are valuable and it was good to read this as the bigger issue is not about us or about beauty or about modesty but about how we can be a light to others in the little time that we have at a temporary workplace. Too many young women today (even preteens) focus too much on wanting to be admired for their inner or outer beauty which is vain, and this article provides us with the opportunity to consider how we can raise women to keep themselves beautiful, on the inside and outside, like the Proverbs 31 woman, while having them focus on serving the Lord and others. This article would have been much more satisfying and deeper if Laurel had been asked about, and had spoken about, how she practically seeks to serve others in her workplaces.

  • Trinity Laurel

    Hi Joyce, Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. I too believe the discussion of modesty is a very important one…. I would encourage you to challenge your thinking in this area with studying issues of shame and grace regarding the fall of mankind in Genesis. Man and woman sin, realize they are naked and then cover themselves in shame with fig leaves. After that God clothes them with animal skins. That is a very deep subject and one that I’m learning and understanding in a deeper way as I study the Word. I feel that instead of a discussion of how much skin is too much, I prefer to follow Jesus’ example of focusing not on outward behavior first, but on the heart and more specifically the motives for doing things. Once a life is transformed, behavior comes along as a result. I long to see women redeemed and to experience freedom so that their heart will be changed first and foremost and that will be reflected in what they wear. I also want to be clear that I am just a woman. I was bullied a lot growing up and I have extreme insecurities I deal with daily. I struggle with comparing myself to other women and constantly have to pray scripture over myself and remind myself that my value is intrinsic. Many of the people I meet in my career have never been in a church, would never feel comfortable in a church and want desperately to be loved and accepted. That is the heart of every woman (human), to be fully known and fully loved. People in the fashion industry are more open to spiritual things now more than ever before. It is exciting! I meet Christians all the time now. We are saturating the industry with light! I encourage you to start praying each morning for those who work in the Fashion/Marketing Industry…Maybe look up the designers online or the models that are the most “ungodly” and start praying for them by name and for their salvation daily. If your heart breaks for those models/designers that have committed suicide or have been destroyed by substance abuse, I think you will experience more compassion in your heart for my colleagues and those who are created in the image of God and are using the creative gifts they were given by the first designer… God.