I own and administrate Skandar & Georgie, an unofficial fan site for British actors Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley. For four months last year, I created content on the official Facebook page of “Courageous” (2011) actress Lauren Etchells. I talk more about this material in my blog post “Aslan’s Meditations: True Beauty.” Read it!
Georgie Henley calls herself a Christian, solely because she was reared in a Christian home. But that doesn’t make one a Christian, as we all know. Although she plays adorable Lucy in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Georgie isn’t adorable anymore. She’s grown up, to her discredit.
I cried and prayed when I saw Georgie’s Flaunt Magazine photo shoot (images, video) in December 2010. I also railed against Georgie’s parents for prostituting their daughter, for letting those people make a beautiful girl seem ugly and cheap. In the interview, Georgie reveals her morally dark soul. She also confirms what God showed me in a dream from February 2009. Georgie was standing at the edge of a dark pit, frowning. She seemed depressed.
I’ve almost forgotten this incident, but I still can’t look at the photos or videos. They’re just too ugly [unlike the beautiful photo above by Faye Thomas!].
Georgie walked the catwalk at a fashion show in Italy in January 2011. She attended London Fashion Week the following month. I also recently discovered instances of provocative dancing. All I see in these photos is worldly behavior – not holiness or true beauty. Georgie is a beautiful young girl. She doesn’t need to stoop to such behavior to be valued and loved. She doesn’t even feel comfortable in her own body but is considered an “ugly duckling.” From the Daily Mail (November 2010):
‘I am definitely not into the exposed look. I am not one of those people who flashes their stomach or anything like that, because I don’t have the confidence. I have confidence in my personality, because I think that if I talk to people hopefully they will like me, but I don’t have confidence in my body.’ …
Is there anyone special at school? Does she have a boyfriend?
‘Oh no, there is nothing like that. I am definitely viewed as the ugly duckling in my group. My girlfriends are all very attractive so nobody looks at me like that,’ she says with her customary self-deprecation.
I don’t know what goes on in the Henley home. But what are Georgie’s parents thinking? Just like Lauren’s parents, they’re prostituting their daughter and for what – fame, money, success? The message modern society and Georgie’s family are giving her – and the one Georgie keeps imbibing unconsciously – is that human worth lies solely in physical beauty and talents, not one’s moral character and relationship with God. Georgie’s soul is much more important. She needs to stop caring what she looks like on the outside and start dressing her soul for heaven.
Yet it’s happened again. 12-year-old Lauren Etchells has beauty, poise, grace, wisdom, and integrity beyond her years. But while I was updating her official Facebook page with photos, I learned an ugly secret. Lauren has appeared in (and won a few) beauty pageants every year since she was 4 or 5. Think Jon Benet Ramsey. All I could do that day was cry. All I could think about was how Lauren’s parents are prostituting their daughter. They’re parading her natural and divine beauty before an ungodly world. How could a Christian father and mother do this to their young daughter? What are they thinking? I have no idea.
These pageants are ostensibly for scholarships and representing Georgia. But it seems to me they’re using girls for money, making them think their human worth lies solely in their physical attractiveness and talents instead of their moral character and relationship with God. Some of the contestants act and dress provocatively. I fear these pageants may attract pedophiles and sex traffickers. The world rightly finds pageants horrific. Why not the church? Why not Sherwood Christian Academy, which Lauren attends?
What’s even worse is that minors who participate in these pageants aren’t allowed to marry or become pregnant. If they do, they become ineligible permanently. Since when is competing for a worthless crown or scholarship more important than starting a family, regardless of age? I fear teens who become pregnant out of wedlock will get an abortion, just to remain eligible. The pageant committee would then be accomplices to murder.
Beauty pageants are cheap exploitation of girls and young women for money. They’re not true beauty. I can say the same of photo shoots (if not event-, church-, or family-related) and fashion shows – of anything that insists on excessive makeup, expensive and/or inadequate clothing, and an inordinate interest in the physical person (face, hair, body). In the child beauty pageants the girls even appear like dolls, not real women. Their natural beauty and physical flaws are hidden behind an appearance of unnatural perfection.
The church today doesn’t need prostitution, legal or illegal, and the sex trade to cheapen and degrade women. It has pornography, beauty pageants, fashion shows, and photo shoots instead. None of these things tells women they’re beautiful. Instead they insist on unnatural and idealized physical perfection – something no real woman can attain. These things also reward physical beauty (as historically fluid as that concept is) rather than spiritual beauty. If the church wants to uplift women spiritually, as the bride of Christ she must teach women to value true beauty – not prostitute themselves before the world.
I don’t care what arguments people use to support the ungodly concept of a beauty pageant. True beauty is not on the outside. It’s not visible in your face, body, or clothes. True beauty is spiritual godliness and holiness, unseen by natural eyes. True beauty is a crown and robe of righteousness. True beauty is holiness, worship, obedience, service, faith, sacrifice, and courage – all the virtues a young Christian woman should possess. Anything less than this divine standard is worldly and unworthy of the cross of Jesus Christ. Besides, God is the sole creator and judge of beauty, not man.
In the Bible, the word “beauty” encompasses holiness, humility, and praise. God will give us “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). We must worship Him “in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2, 96:9). Our praises to God are beautiful (Psalm 33:1, 147:1). So are the feet of those who tell others about Christ (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15).
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves. ~ 1 Peter 3:3-5
I discovered on Lauren’s birthday that she attends a dance studio every week. I don’t know what Lauren learns at this studio. But the picture below says a thousand words and they’re not good! All I see is provocative behavior – not holiness. I pray Lauren learns to dance in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Interpretative dance in worship is better than this!
I’m glad Lauren wants to share Jesus with others, saying she loves and has given her heart and life to him. But I fear that Lauren and her family are spiritually walking disorderly. Every day I pray they wake up. These parents are responsible for Lauren’s soul. Church and mission trips and movies that tell people about Jesus are all good. But some activities aren’t. I fear the consequences of such ungodly behavior as beauty pageants and provocative dancing won’t be pretty.
I echo the advice of Marmie to her daughter Meg in “Little Women” (1995). I fear Lauren may one day value herself because of her physical appearance, and fear she will be unloved when she grows old, or if she becomes maimed. I pray Lauren wakes up and leaves these pageants. I pray she sees herself as Jesus does: a young woman who is beautiful because she is created in God’s image and because Christ is hidden in her heart.
What disturbs me most is that Lauren is radically unprepared for the coming persecution. She won’t survive spiritually if she keeps participating in such worldly behavior. There are much better things Lauren can be doing with her valuable time. Where are the constant prayer, fasting, worship, witness, and service expected of strong Christians? [I can say the same of Lauren’s "Courageous" co-star Rusty Martin Jr. He and other Christian teens have been taught to feast and play, not fast and pray!]
Jesus never walked a runway for others to gaze at him. He didn’t wear nice clothes. Instead, Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa – the way of suffering. He walked to Calvary, carrying a cross on his back. When first-century Jews and Gentiles gazed at Jesus on the cross, did they see beauty – even by their standards? Probably not. Isaiah 53:2 (NKJV): “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” I fully believe this passage is talking about Jesus on the cross, not what he looked like the rest of his natural days. I don’t think Jesus was an ugly man. Others who’ve seen him (with the heart) have assured me he isn’t.
Does the fashion world shape character? Yes. When we participate in a fashion shoot or walk a runway (whatever our gender), we’re training ourselves, our children – everyone who sees us – to want the world’s values and definition of beauty. Each moment in our lives matters, for character is made up of single moments. We reap a character from each thought, word, and deed. The Christian life should have no isolated incidents. There shouldn’t be anything in our lives for us to have to explain to others. This is integrity: moral consistency in light and darkness, both with witnesses and without. We must keep our hearts pure. And I believe accepting the fashion world’s values and standard of beauty for even a moment corrupts one’s heart.
Every time I think about these young women, the terrible spiritual situations they’re in, I start crying. I want more for Lauren and Georgie, so much more. I think God does too. From the blog post “The Two Sides of Devastation”:
He kills us, and then He tears us out of ourselves… alive! We wake up panting as if having just run a sprint in a dream. And suddenly everything is so quiet, so beautiful. We simply understand the underpinning principle of the universe: It is all about Him. And HE is not only devastating, He is devastatingly beautiful.
Then, for each of us (if we live), the new creation we truly are comes to the forefront. We are called many things in the New Testament: Tents, Vessels, Jars, Ambassadors, Instruments, and Weapons. And all of these are for, by, through, and in Him. We become privileged creatures imbued with the very same devastating beauty that destroyed the old ugliness of the past. Our lives literally shine forth this devastation into the world. And it is a beauty against which the gates of hell cannot stand.
The devastated old man of Romans 7 becomes the devastatingly loved, devastatingly beautiful, Spirit-filled over-comer of Romans 8 that can never be separated from the One that has made him that way.
Pray for Lauren and Georgie. Pray for their parents. Pray for all young women who listen to the devil’s lies and think they must participate in (and care about) beauty pageants, fashion shows, and photo shoots in order to be beautiful. Pray these girls stop trying to measure up to the world’s fallen standards and start seeking God’s holiness. Only then will they find true beauty.
Don’t worry about or focus on what the world calls “beautiful.” If you have living faith in Jesus Christ, and follow and obey Him, you are beautiful. Take time each day to see yourself in the mirror of the Word, not the mirror on your wall. When we look at Christ, through this divine mirror, we are also transformed into creatures of true beauty.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. ~ 1 John 3:2