Cover girl meets the grand designer

Indonesia’s first supermodel gets her self confidence from something outside of herself

Tracy Trinita is a quintessential exotic beauty, the child of an Indonesian mother and Brazilian father. But at school in Bali, she felt like an ugly duckling; other students laughed at her and called her “giraffe” because of her height.

When Tracy was 14 years old, her mother entered her into a modelling competition, thinking it might boost her confidence.

On the cover: Tracy Trinita

On the cover: Tracy Trinita Dewi Magazine

Over the next year, Tracy won three modelling competitions, culminating in 1995 when she became the first Indonesian model to win the Elite Model Look International competition, a coup that changed her life overnight.

Suddenly, she was no longer a figure of fun in the playground; everyone started pronouncing her name correctly and for the first time she felt happy and important.

She became Indonesia’s first supermodel, appearing in New York and Paris fashion weeks for top designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gautier.

“All of a sudden, I have become famous and have more money than ever before and for the first time I felt really happy,” Tracy says.

“The feeling of emptiness started to hurt my soul and my chest. It was such a heavy burden that I cannot erase, and I realise there should be something more to life than this,” she says.

“So I built this wrong philosophy when I was 14. I established the fact that if you want to be happy in life you have to be rich and you have to be famous.”

Tracy says she became addicted to seeking more fame and more money, thinking that then she would be happy. But after about five years, when she had more money than she needed, more fame than she could ask for, she experienced a crushing hollowness.

“The feeling of emptiness started to hurt my soul and my chest. It was such a heavy burden that I cannot erase, and I realise there should be something more to life than this,” she says.

Friends suggested she try drugs, but she didn’t want to ruin her life in that way. Another friend said, “Just live freely, don’t worry, don’t think deep stuff.” But she was afraid of the consequences for her reputation.

“Then my friend said ‘if you don’t want to live you just die.’ And that hit me: where do I go if I die?”

Tracy realised that only religion could provide the answer to that question.

“I was thinking, ‘Wait a minute, maybe what I need is God. When I look around me people who have religion seem to be happy and content’ … But then my question was ‘but which religion?’ ”

“Deep down I was thinking there was no way someone would want to hire an ex-model to be a pastor in their church.”

With Muslim and Christian grandparents and Hindu parents, Tracy was confused, so each night she prayed to God, asking him to reveal himself to her.

“Three months later my agent asked me if I want to move from New York to Paris and I said ‘yeah, sure,’ and that’s where God revealed himself through friendship.”

In Paris, a friend took a reluctant Tracy to church. When she looked around at the people in church she was amazed to see their faces were glowing and they seemed happy.

“And that made me realise there is something about Christian faith.”

Tracy had been told that all religions lead to the same god, but as soon as she examined what religions said about the destination of life, she was shocked to discover how different Christianity was.

Tracy Trinita, Dewi Magazine“Only one says that from your part you cannot do anything because you’re a sinner, but because God so loved you and loved the world he gave his only Son to die for you, so if you believe in him you’re not going to die, you’re not going to perish but have eternal life with him,” she says.

“For me that is one of the main answers that really hit home and I said ‘Lord Jesus, thank you for the kind of love I never felt before. You want me, you want somebody who is not even worthy.’ That was the sweetest message I ever received, and it made me feel so loved by the one who made the universe.”

As a child, Tracy could not express herself well. But as soon as she became a believer, she wanted to share what Jesus had done in her life and she began giving her testimony to friends, in churches and in magazine interviews.

At one public event she shared a stage with a professor from Oxford University, who after hearing her speak, offered her a chance to study theology at Oxford. So in 2006 she began a theology degree at the Oxford Christian Centre for Apologetics, an experience she describes as “three years of heart surgery where I not only studied theology but God worked in me as well … where God cleansed me again and again.”

In 2008, she asked God to show if he wanted her to go into full-time ministry by sending a pastor to offer her a job.

“Deep down I was thinking there was no way someone would want to hire an ex-model to be a pastor in their church, and God in his powerful calling sent a missionary who lived in Jakarta to come to Oxford for summer school. He asked me, ‘Why don’t you work for us in our church as pastor?’ ”

After working as a pastor in Jakarta for four years, she joined Ravi Zacharias Ministries International three years ago as a speaker, evangelist and trainer. In this role, she will speak about the God she calls “the grand designer” during a tour this month of six Australian cities with City Bible Forum.

“He is the grand designer, he’s the one who authored everything to his perfection, for his beauty, and made an amazing design of my life,” she says.

“God healed me, my insecurities, and the same God that has healed me can heal anyone who believes and puts their trust in him.”

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When the fashion model met the designer - City Bible Forum

Calendar Icon15/08/2016 - 01/09/2016

Map Marker IconVarious locations around Australia