"God Thinks You're a Babe'

Published May 11, 1998|Updated Sept. 13, 2005

You may not think you're all that, but God does.

That's what Andrea Stephens preaches to young girls. In fact, said Stephens, God thinks you're a babe. On a recent Saturday, she gave a seminar on the subject at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Tampa.

The daylong program, called "God Thinks You're a Babe," was open to girls in sixth through 12th grades and covered such self-esteem-boosting topics as accepting your looks, applying makeup and practicing proper nutrition, all delivered with a little humor, a little Scripture and a lot of affirmation.

"God is wacky, crazy about you," she told the girls. "Why waste your time wishing you looked like someone else? The choice is yours."

It was a day when many young women would have been roaming the mall or taking in a movie with friends. But these 121 girls, dressed in khaki shorts, denim skirts and lots of Scrunchies, spent the day in the church's sanctuary.

Stephens, a 38-year-old former model who lives in California and is the beauty editor of the Christian magazine Brio and the author of 10 books for teens, started things off by debunking magazine covers, slogans and advertisements aimed at women who try to achieve the models' flawless beauty.

She told the girls about photo retouching, a practice often used on glossy fashion pictures.

"They re-create them in the way that they desire," Stephens said. "What we see is not real. It's fake."

Women's magazine covers were used to drive her point home. "Look (at these) with a critical mind and stop comparing yourself to something that doesn't exist," she warned them. "According to God, each of us is a babe. No matter what we look like, we are equally attractive."

Stephens went on to give a quiz on skin care and tossed out Tootsie Rolls for correct answers. She offered some facts such as: tanning, bad; sunscreen, good; and that we're all at the mercy of our hormones when it comes to pimples.

"Don't go into pimple panic and squeeze the beans out of the thing," Stephens barked. "Just forget about it and go to school. Life will go on."

Two girls were chosen for makeovers, then wowed the group with their new looks. As she applied cosmetics, Stephens asked the girls at what age they are old enough to wear makeup.

"Fourteen," some girls shouted. "Twelve," others shouted. The answer, Stephens told them, was when your mom or dad allows you to.

After lunch the young women were treated to a fashion show before breaking into groups to discuss workout plans, manicures and their faith. The seminar was wrapped up with a chat on the inner spirit.

"My friend is always putting her looks down and stuff, and I think that if she would have come she would have learned a lot," said Samantha Campbell, 13, of Tampa.