Former supermodel converts to Christianity and becomes a pastor: 'It was out of my power and God changed me'
Former supermodel Tracy Trinita converted to Christianity, left the industry to study at Oxford and became a pastor. She now travels the world sharing the gospel.
Originally from a small village in Bali, Trinita's life changed when she won a modelling competition and moved to New York to pursue a career in the industry aged just 15. Initially, she was lured in by the wealth and glamour that modelling promised.
"I thought that if I had more money I would be happier, so I pursued modelling for happiness, leaving my friends and family behind to travel to New York," she told Christian Today.
Trinita became the first Indonesian supermodel, yet despite her worldly success, friends and a boyfriend, she says that she could not escape the feeling of emptiness. She looked to her friends for advice, but their suggestions of taking drugs and partying "scared" her, so she began to seek an alternative.
Noticing that people with faith seemed happier and more content, she decided to explore the idea of there being a God. But having grown up in a multi-faith environment – with a Catholic, a Protestant and a Muslim in her family – she was left confused as to whose God was real.
In the confusion of so many opinions, she cried out to God as a last resort asking, "please reveal yourself to me."
Everything changed when her agent asked her to travel from New York to Paris for a modelling job. Upon arriving in the city, she met a girl who invited her to church.
Trinita went to a service where she says, "God bridged the heart and the mind and truly comforted my heart; I sensed the love like nothing I have ever felt before."
She was convinced by the reality of her encounter with God. "If Jesus was not real, then how could I have felt so amazingly loved? I know fake happiness – that is what the world of modelling relies on – and this happiness was true. It was out of my power and God changed me."
Trinita felt called to be a light in the sometimes dark world of modelling, and to show Jesus to other girls in the industry. "I focused on doing my best at work, but for the first time I realised that other models were not the enemy or a threat, but just people like me doing a job," she says.
Other models were intrigued, and sometimes mocked her decisions not to do certain shoots based on her faith. However, Trinita says, "The things they made fun of were the very things that they were attracted to and questioned me about; they were intrigued by my faith and how I was different."
She shared with Christian Today an example of such an encounter. "I was living in New York, it was a Sunday evening and I had just got back from church. My flatmates had just returned from a big party. They asked me where I'd been, and I was so excited about the sermon I'd just heard, I told them all about it. One of the girls was so excited about the message of Jesus, that she came to church with me next week and became a believer.
"You don't have to be smart, but trust God and let the Spirit guide you. It is in Christ's power, not our own, that people find God because he is the one that calls people," she added.
"I think the Lord allowed me to have my first experience of evangelism without even realising I was evangelising."
After this encounter, Trinita realised all she wanted to do was "share my testimony and the gospel." She studied Christian apologetics and theology at Oxford University for three years before returning to Indonesia to be a pastor for four.
She now travels around Asia, and the world, working for Ravi Zacharias and sharing the gospel.
Despite leaving the fashion industry, Trinita still sees hope within it, however. The creativity shown by designers is reflective of the creator God, she says, and must be redeemed so that it may bring glory to him.
Tracy Trinita will join scientists, lawyers, theologians and philosophers to explore issues of ethics, faith, sexuality, science and suffering with teenagers in Westminster's Emmanuel Centre on Saturday 26, September.