Back in 2009, mall lingerie behemoth Victoria’s Secret held a contest to determine their next Angel, because humans love rewarding other humans for a bottomless lack of skill. Anyway, the winner of that contest was Kylie Bisutti, who beat out 10,000 other buxom ladies with big hair for the coveted role. Bisutti thought her dreams had come true.
…Unfortunately, those dreams were nightmares!
The devout Christian was absolutely shocked to find that underwear modeling wasn’t near as wholesome as she expected. No, being an Angel wasn’t all deeply silly costumes and winking at the ends of runways–sometimes one had to pose suggestively.
The now-23 year old has a book coming out, I’m No Angel, which is a title that works on two levels. As part of her promotional duties, she filed a piece yesterday for the New York Post, explaining just how awful being an Angel was, despite her becoming rich and famous for absolutely no reason. The piece begins like so:
I’m lying on a bed wearing a tight, little T-shirt and boy-cut panty bottoms while camera flashes keep popping away. I’m giving the camera that seductive, bombshell look I’d become famous for.
“Pull the top further up,” the FHM photographer encouraged me. “Hold up the covers like you don’t have any panties on.”
Well, obviously that’s gross. But did she really expect her FHM shoot would be any different? We would have anticipated a gallon of baby oil and a trampoline, but we are cynical and dickish.
Things ended shortly thereafter:
The next day, I broke down and started sobbing. I was in my bedroom and dropped to my knees and started to pray. “God, why did you have me win the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition if it was going to make me feel this way? I’m not honoring my husband. I just want answers!”
That was two years ago. Today, I’m living in Montana with my husband, enjoying the fresh air and volunteering with our church.
Good for her! But Montana must be awfully boring, because in between all the Church volunteering and hoovering fresh air, Bisutti still needed to write a juicy tell-all about the corrupt world of underwear modeling.
Ahead, some other revelations we can expect from I’m No Angel.
First off, some girls have sex with sleazy guys:
I moved in with four other models on the Lower East Side. One of my roommates was a Christian, and we’d take the long subway ride to the Upper West Side to go to church, but we were the exceptions. I’d see girls getting into black SUVs with club promoters at night and getting home when the sun was coming up the next day — teenagers my age!
Secondly, sometimes photographers are sleazy also:
I had photographers and male models hitting on me constantly. Once, a photographer actually pushed me up against the wall and tried to kiss me.
Third of all, some girls have eating disorders:
Over the next two years, New York really opened my eyes to the dark side of the modeling industry. One of my roommates was so bulimic she would involuntarily throw up when she ate. She would go to sleep crying every night and just look at herself in the mirror thinking that she was so fat. And she was so thin.
Of course–although her naivete is impressive–Bisutti still speaks to real problems in the industry–no one should ever be in a situation where a coworker pushes her against a wall and tries to force a kiss, much less a situation where the imbalance of power and lack of legal recourse are such that models are left completely vulnerable.
Moreover, Bisutti is dead on in depicting the systematic sexual pressuring of young girls:
And while I was still going to church and consulting my Bible, I was so desperate to succeed in the business that I complied when my agent told me, “All models have a topless shot.” I was only 16 when I posed for mine.
And the outrageous, unreasonable expectations to be thin:
I pretty much restricted my diet to oatmeal, fruits and vegetables to meet runway expectations. I’m 5-foot-10, and I got down to 115 pounds with measurements of 34-24-34. In February 2007, New York Fashion Week was approaching, and while everyone I knew was being sent out to auditions, I wasn’t.
“Why am I still going on test shoots?” I asked my agent.
“It’s because you look like a fat cow right now, Kylie. You need to lose 2 inches off of your hips,” the agent said.
After cutting my diet even further to just pineapples, watermelon and liters of water while exercising two hours a day, six days a week, I finally dropped down to 108 pounds, which satisfied my agent, and the gigs started rolling in.
After that, Bisutti meets a guy and he’s Christian and they ride ATVs, so she leaves New York because 1) the modeling world is horrible and 2) it’s fun as shit to pray before riding an ATV. Well, technically she wins the Victoria’s Secret contest first and then signs with IMG and feels manipulated and exploited more and then decides to leave New York “to be a Proverbs 31 wife.” And now she has a book.
Again, as entertained as we are by Bisutti’s outrage and naiveté, the realities of the modeling industry don’t provoke near as much outrage as they should. Young models who dream of becoming the next Gisele or Kate or Naomi often find themselves in frightening situations, unaware of how (or too afraid) to say no. Bisutti was shocked to discover this seemingly obvious fact, which speaks to a larger problem.
I’m No Angel is out next month.
(via NYP, photos via Getty)