Miss South Carolina makes a fashion statement

SPARTANBURG – Jessica Eddins, Miss South Carolina, made a fashion statement at the west-side library the other day that simply wowed 45 young ladies from the Challenge Girls Club.

She told the girls that modesty brings respect. She also told them that they should respect and take care of themselves because their bodies are temples to the Lord.

The girls learned that they don’t need to wear halter tops and short shorts to be noticed. A modest, understated look goes a long way.

Miss South Carolina told the club members that she was a very shy, skinny girl in high school, and one who didn’t eat right or take very good care of her body.

When it was time for physical education class, she said, she always dressed in a bathroom stall because she was so shy.

One day, while dressing in the stall, her shoe fell in the toilet. From then on, she was known as the “Shoe Girl.”

About three years ago, Eddins said, she turned her life around. She decided to exercise and eat right. She decided to take care of her body.

That decision brought her pride and self-confidence. It also taught her about discipline.

“Don’t go overboard with wanting to be a certain way,” Eddins said. “Know that what you have and what you don’t have is exactly how you are supposed to be. God made you special.”

God also made you to fulfill a mission in life, Miss South Carolina said. “Exercise gives you energy to fulfill Christ’s mission.”

And just as exercise keeps your body strong, praying keeps your faith healthy and your soul clean to stay focused on that mission.

The recipe of nutrition, exercise, modesty and faith has turned out well for Eddins. It helped her win the Miss South Carolina crown. And now, as Miss South Carolina, she is able to travel across the state and talk about her mission. She is touching the hearts of young girls and telling them that being modest and praying is O.K., even though many of their peers pooh-pooh such notions.

Those peers, however, don’t have a crown to back up their notions of secular, sizzling fashion.

For Miss South Carolina, modesty is best.

She had come to Spartanburg to prepare the Challenge Girls Club for a fashion show they are putting on Feb. 21, 2004, called “Values in Vogue.”

“Values in Vogue” will showcase stylish, modest clothes for girls ages 10 to 16. The Girls Club will model these fashions at the new Renaissance Marriott in downtown Spartanburg. Those same fashions will be on the shelves at many department stores in town.

These modest styles show the girls that they have more choices than super-low pants and skintight T-shirts. It also tells them that their choice of clothing is being accepted.

Miss South Carolina is a good example, a good model and a better role model.

“Everything you are doing others are watching,” Eddins told the girls. “You are setting an example by being modest.”

Miss South Carolina’s faith truly hit home with Caitlin Connelly.

“I thought it was really neat how she was so strong in her faith,” said Connelly. “I thought it was really brave of her to talk about her faith to us.”