Ms. Carrie Prejean is either a humble servant of the Lord who’s learned from her prior mistakes, a courageous champion for Christian values, an opportunistic young diva who’s ingeniously combining a conservative mindset with risqué acts caught on tape, a victim of our media driven society and its hunger for spicy and scandalous stories and photos, or some combination of all of the above.
Ms. Prejean, the former Miss California USA who was stripped of her crown, is now touring the TV news shows and having to answer the kind of questions that few of us would relish. She’s recently appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show,” Fox’s “Hannity” and many others.
Her supporters are saying that she’s a courageous young woman dealing with the challenges of some past mistakes. Her critics are saying that she’s being two-faced by speaking about conservative issues while herself not living up to the standard. Her supporters are saying that she’s being unfairly targeted by liberals because of her conservatism.
Either way, she’s rapidly become a superstar–not because of what she’s accomplished as a leader or singer or dancer or champion or charity leader–but because of the salacious details involving her rise to stardom, her temporary fall, and whatever may come next. Her current book, “Still Standing – the Untold Story of My Fight Against Gossip, Hate and Political Attacks” is now in stores.
Over two decades ago, when I was on the inspirational speaker circuit for youth camps, I would frequently give talks about how imperfect we all are. “How many of you would like to have a little camera following you around, recording all of your words and actions,” I would ask rhetorically, “in order to have that video played for all of us tonight?” Students would cringe.
Present day, I ask the same question of executives and business owners, and they cringe as well. The more we live, the more we know we’re human and the more we know how much we need grace and forgiveness.
But if you’re in the public eye, that camera actually does follow you around, and Carrie Prejean is living through the hellish nightmare of having one of her worst moments become the potential undoing of her career. She was in an expensive lawsuit with the California beauty pageant organizers until they showed evidence of a steamy video she made in her younger years.
And, she’s benefiting from it all in terms of fame and finance.
So my heart goes out to her for the embarrassment of a poor choice caught on tape, and the fear that it will become widely distributed. But she’s also leveraging it to build a platform for her future, one which I pray she’ll use wisely.