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Archive for Saturday, December 7, 2002

Calendar shots pose no problem for church-going student

December 7, 2002

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Denise Spidle had a big decision to make.

Should she accept an offer to appear as a model in the âÂÂWomen of KUâ 2003 Swimsuit Calendar?

Searching for an answer, Spidle turned toward the best source of wisdom she could think of.

God.

âÂÂIâÂÂm totally committed to his will in my life. I prayed before I did this, and I think he wanted me to do it. He knew I was looking for a way to get involved at KU and meet people,â said Spidle, 19.

She ultimately decided it was the right move. Three photos of her are included in the calendar, which was launched Friday at a signing session with all the models at Jayhawk Bookstore.

It wasnâÂÂt an easy choice for Spidle. She had to really think it through, and there were some thorny issues to weigh.

ThatâÂÂs because Spidle, a Kansas University sophomore from Hesston, is a faithful, church-going Catholic.

Not only that, sheâÂÂs involved in liturgical ministry at St. Lawrence Catholic Center, 1631 Crescent Road.

She goes to Mass there every Sunday, lectoring - doing the first and second reading during the service - as well as playing the role of Eucharistic minister, serving Communion to worshippers.

TheyâÂÂre duties she doesnâÂÂt take lightly.

So how would her Catholicism square with being a swimsuit model? Would it betray her beliefs as a religious person? And what would other Catholics think?

To those who might doubt her intentions, Spidle has a simple response.

âÂÂHave a little faith,â she said, smiling.

âÂÂI donâÂÂt think (the appearance in the calendar) should come as a surprise. Everybody has to have a little fun in their lives. I hope people wonâÂÂt be judgmental.âÂÂ

Good exposure

Her first gig as a model started easily enough.

âÂÂI saw an ad in the (University) Daily Kansan. I didnâÂÂt take it too seriously at first. Then a friend of mine who has some modeling experience said, âÂÂ'You should do it,â so I sent in a couple of photos,â Spidle said.

She got a quick response.

âÂÂThey gave me a call that night,â she said. âÂÂI was surprised and pleased. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get to know people.âÂÂ

Spidle, a broadcast journalism major, was asked to come in to have more pictures taken, and she was invited to fill out an application to be a model for the calendar. Within a week, she was offered the job.

âÂÂYou donâÂÂt realize, itâÂÂs going to be a lot of work and time. But some of the best people IâÂÂve met on this campus are in that calendar. TheyâÂÂre incredibly intelligent and unpretentious,â she said.

âÂÂWith 24 girls, youâÂÂd expect thereâÂÂd be some cattiness. But thereâÂÂs a total lack of attitude. TheyâÂÂre just fun-loving girls, very warm and entertaining to be around.âÂÂ

SheâÂÂs happy with the pictures of her that finally were chosen: a waist-up shot of her in a T-shirt, a bathing-suit pose and a âÂÂhigh fashionâ photo of her in evening wear.

âÂÂWhen I saw the proofs, I was like, âÂÂ'Wow - good lighting,âÂÂâ she said.

And Spidle would do it again in a minute.

âÂÂI think itâÂÂs good exposure. My career (in broadcast journalism) would call for being in the public eye,â she said. âÂÂMaybe this is a good way to get comfortable with that.âÂÂ

Feeling close to God

Swimsuit model or not, faith means everything to Spidle.

âÂÂItâÂÂs my total foundation in life. Everyone has to have something to fall back on, and I guess if youâÂÂre going to fall back on something, God would be the strongest thing,â she said.

Identifying as a Catholic is important to her, and occasionally that means taking a few hits for her beliefs.

âÂÂYou go through life, and sometimes you get admired and sometimes you get persecuted for your faith,â she said. âÂÂBut I ultimately feel my faith is what is going to give me the advantage.âÂÂ

Her participation in Sunday Masses has been especially meaningful.

âÂÂIt feels awesome. Coming together to worship as a community is really one of the best ways to experience your faith, because itâÂÂs shared. You just feel so much closer to God when youâÂÂre speaking his word or serving the Eucharist,â she said.

In the end, deciding to appear in the âÂÂWomen of KUâ calendar felt right to Spidle. And if some donâÂÂt agree with it, thatâÂÂs OK.

âÂÂPeople often misinterpret GodâÂÂs intentions. But IâÂÂll leave his decisions for me up to him, not other people,â she said.

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