Behind the Scenes: “Be Beautiful”

Behind the Scenes: “Be Beautiful”
An Inside Look With the CCM Leadership Team

By Sarah Komisky

Made up of different women of different ages, Calvary Chapel Montebello’s “Be Beautiful” leadership team sat down and talked with me about the history, the heart, and the hope of their 3rd semi-annual fashion show. Here is a behind the scenes look at their story as told by CCM senior pastor’s wife Millie Juarez along with Mary Ponce, Evelyn Blanton, Sylvia Montelongo, and Jennifer Martin. May it remind you to “Be Beautiful.”

The History

Millie:
About three years ago I had a mother that posed a question,” I am having a problem with the way my daughter dresses, is there anything the church can do?” And that’s how it all began.

The title and the theme came from Jennifer. Once she said that, I started looking through magazines and that word “Be Beautiful” was used over and over again. They want you to believe if you buy this mascara, buy this lipstick, that you’re going to be beautiful and everything is outward. We are going to give a show and they are going to see a show that is outward but we are going to stress that God is so concerned with the inner beauty.

The response has been very positive. Women love having fun. Programs like Project Runway are extremely popular so why not have a fashion show at our church?

Jennifer:
I was getting e-mails from Bergdorf Goodman (a luxury goods department store) because I look at clothes and they were going to have an event called “Be Beautiful” and they were sending these really pretty e-mails. It was just something that kept coming up and then because I have a daughter who thinks she’s not beautiful that’s kind of where it all ties into each other.

The Inspiration

Millie:
1 Peter 3 – I’m going to let these girls know that God is not against fashion. He loves fashion but He is just even more concerned with the inner beauty. So there is this translation from 1 Peter that says, “Be beautiful from the inside,” so we’re hoping and praying that the girls and women will walk away feeling more beautiful and understanding beauty from God’s perspective.

Sylvia:
There are so many scriptures that correlate to beauty but do we really take scriptures like Psalm 139 at face value? We read them but do we really get it? How do we articulate that? I have a granddaughter and I am teaching my granddaughter so that’s an inspiration to me.

Mary:
We are trying to bring the vision of the event through God’s eyes by letting ladies be able to actually see something and touch something that reminds them of the principle, initial vision. This is how this began. Jennifer had seen the fashion show of Christian Dior and liked the wisteria. I can do fresh flowers but to do something like that would be way beyond our means. One day I was looking in my garage then I saw a painting that I did. If you look at our poster, it’s the same thing and the person who does our graphics for us, Millie’s daughter Alexandria, got this and created something similar. Millie did want to keep the same colors in the picture so I thought okay, I will use paper. I had to think of something that was cost effective but it was labor intensive. So I had to have ladies come and meet and work on paper flowers.

The Age Group

Millie:
This is the first year we invited girls ages eleven and up because we see a great need. There is an onslaught on our young girls from the fashion industry. For little girls to think they are fat at the age of eight, who did that? Who told them that? So our young girls are exposed to billboards, the media, movies, magazine, television, and they have these images so that’s the reason why we lowered the age this year.

The Models

Sylvia:
We are conscious of working with all the girls and all their personality’s.
We just want to use this to continue the furtherance of God’s kingdom. We stay in communication with some of the models and the training continues.

Jennifer:
The models are girls and women of all ages and sizes that serve here at church. But we don’t want it to look like a cheesy fashion show. So we have practice.

The Fashion

Jennifer:
I went off of the colors. The first runway is all bright colors. Everybody is wearing different styles. Some people are wearing maxi dresses, some are wearing fit and flairs, jeans, joggers, and I kind of pick a different look for each girl. I mix colors and I don’t really have a certain style. Some of them have more accessories than others depending on what I was feeling that day. Then the next runway is all black and white patterns. Its classic and it never goes out of style. Then the other one is denim so I have a lot of different looks not just your basic jeans. Then the last runway is where I asked the girls to bring an outfit that they love and feel great in – something they feel beautiful in. So, we have a big variety of girls wearing a formal to a t-shirt and converse that they feel comfortable and beautiful in.

The Servers

Mary:
How often do you go to an event where you have a guy serving you? They are serving women of all ages and we tell them what to wear so they look nice.

Sylvia:
It’s always a beautiful thing to hear the comments after and for the guys to be asked to be apart of the women’s event.

Evelyn:
For a guy to say, “Yeah, I’m willing to serve,” the ladies are really ministered to and blessed because some may not know them. Like you have ladies who invited co-workers or family members that don’t go here and so those who don’t go here are like “Did you guys hire staff?” and we say “No” and they’re like, “Oh my goodness they were so professional!” And for the ladies that do come here, they feel so cherished to have their brother serving and that does something to their hearts.

The Boutiques

Millie:
I went through a magazine and they had segments called “Be Beautiful” and that inspired me to have boutiques which is something we don’t usually do. So we are going to have a signature jewelry boutique and I was inspired to have an inner beauty boutique (book boutique) and my daughter has her own skin care line so we will also present that.

The Jewelry

CCM Leadership Team
It’s hard for us to believe that we’re beautiful and we need to find a balance. So you don’t want to be puffed up but then you don’t want to believe the lies that you aren’t beautiful and everyone is beautiful. Thinking about this and when we talked about our pendent at the last meeting that says “Be Beautiful” we decided that we are going to sell it at a nominal cost so that the ladies and girls can bring home something that reminds them of the event. Be Beautiful because you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Be beautiful because you are precious in God’s sight. Be beautiful because you are made in the image of Christ. Be Beautiful because you are beautiful.

The Issue

Evelyn:
I think from the beginning the vision has been about the topic of modesty. So I think we have this issue and we could have a day and talk about modesty but it would be really awesome to show them what it looks like to give them the visual and I think that’s how the fashion show came about.

Sylvia:
Going back to the question that was posed when we had the meeting, the second half of that was, “Is it our responsibility to do something about it as older women?” And so we did do something.

Evelyn:
As believers there are a lot of trends but as believers it doesn’t mean you can go for every trend. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t be trendy! You can be modest but you can still be fabulous. I think that some ladies think modesty means just bland and blah and boring. Our God is very creative and if we are made in His image, we can be just as creative. Play with your colors, patterns, and don’t put yourself in a box.

The Message:

Millie:
We serve a Creative God. What has inspired me is God’s Word. I love Psalm 33 and I want to share this with girls – He’s the best fashion designer this side of the Milky Way! Look at the heavens and the splendor that it contains and look at the earth and all that is in it. He goes on to say in that psalm that He fashions their hearts individually and He considers all their works. So He is a fashion designer.