Control Freak Lets Go & Wins Project Runway

In Inspiration by Kalyn Hemphill3 Comments


Confessions of a Control Freak

One of my best friends told me once, “You’re kind of a control freak.” Embarrassingly enough, I have to admit there is some truth in that statement. I am a type A, oldest child and my natural tendency is to try to direct my life so it will go my way, on my timetable, and involve only the people who I want in it. My whole life, I have felt God chipping away at my stubborn, “I want it my way” nature, and the more He has broken me of it, the more cooperative I have become, but boy has it been a humbling process. I have realized more and more how that feeling of control is merely a false sense of security, rooted in my own selfish desires and ambitions.

I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all have a bit of a “control freak” in us. A part of us that wants to dictate what we will and won’t sacrifice, what sins we can justify, what we want to do with our schedules, and how we want to spend our money, but God tells us in His word that “His ways are higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:9) He is constantly urging us to surrender all of our plans to Him because, quite honestly, our greatest hopes and ideas are far better in His hands. God longs to mold and shape our desires into His desires so we can reflect Him and be transformed into His image more and more each day. When we let go of our ideas of what we thought our life would look like, and surrender everything to Jesus, He will take us on an adventure far greater than anything we ever could have dreamed of.

Immeasurably More

When I was 19 years old, I had already been living in New York for a couple of years and was doing a lot of modeling, but despite working nearly every day, somehow it seemed like every month I would just scrape by to pay my rent and bills. I was working with a boutique agency in NY, and the head booker terrified me, but I felt like I had to always please her because the jobs she booked me on kept me afloat in NYC.

Every time I would go have to go into the agency I would practically have a panic attack because she would always, without fail, point out something wrong with me. “Kalyn, your hair needs to be longer…You need to slim down your thighs…You need edgier pictures…You need to lie about your age so clients think you are younger and fresher.” One day she called me in for a meeting and as I braced myself for her criticism, she uttered the phrase every model dreads, “We are going to drop you from the agency.” I was devastated and relieved at the same time, but immediately panicked.

How was I going to make money now that they dropped me? I tried to figure out all my options: Should I waitress? Move to LA and try out a new market? Move back home to TX and go to college? I wore myself down trying to figure everything out and trying to make plans. As I applied for waitressing jobs, and looked into other agencies and options, I felt increasingly more discouraged as each opportunity I pursued seemed to crumble and dissolve before my eyes. Weeks went by and I prayed, “God, why would you let my agency drop me and then provide no other opportunities to work? I thought you promised to provide for me?”

In my confusion, I clung to the verse in Matthew 6 that talks about if God feeds the “birds of the air” and “clothes the grass of the field…How much more will He clothe you.” Finally, at the end of my strength, I just broke down and prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what my next steps are and I don’t know what to do next, but I trust you no matter what.” As I surrendered control to God, I immediately felt a peace and calm assurance knowing that He was going to work it all out, but little did I know what He was planning behind the scenes and that the “much more” I would experience would be greater than anything I could imagine.

I got a random call a couple of weeks later about a casting for “Project Runway” and a new sister show about the models. I figured I would go, but when I got to the hotel where the casting was, I saw a line of literally hundreds of girls. When I witnessed the “cattle call,” I almost left, but I felt God impressing it on my heart to stay and be seen. Long story short, I made it through the initial casting round, all the interviews after that, and about a week later was flying to Los Angeles to film for 6 weeks.

Not only was I cast on the shows, but by God’s grace, I ended up being the winning model on “Project Runway” and the first season of “Models of the Runway”…all without an agency. God showed me that HE was my agent, and a far more powerful agent than any human on earth. He showed me that is was by His strength alone that He provided me with this opportunity and it wasn’t by any of my effort or doing. He took a situation that initially seemed hopeless, and “turned my mourning into dancing.” (Psalm 30:11) That’s the kind of God we serve. He longs to give us “immeasurably more than we could ask for or imagine,” (Ephesians 3:20) so we can give Him all the glory.

Giving God Control

God loves each and every one of you so much. He knows your needs and vulnerabilities, and He knows what you can endure and still remain faithful. Every trial you face is an opportunity to let go of the reins, to let go of any sin and selfishness, and to rest in the peace of knowing that God is “working all things together for good for those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) Not one detail of your life goes unnoticed and you can be assured in every seemingly bleak situation, that God is refining your character and drawing you closer to His side as He shows His mighty strength in your weakness. His goal is that your hope will be found in Christ alone.

It goes against our human nature to release control to God. It feels unnatural and scary, and from the outside it might look a little foolish and careless, but there is a beautiful recklessness and glorious freedom that we can experience when we stop worrying about controlling every detail of our lives and put it in God’s trustworthy hands. 
The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

God longs to be the sole author of every chapter of your life. Surrender control, place your pen in His hands and He will write a story so unique, and incommensurable, that it will only be explainable by His matchless power and deep love for you.


  1. Thank you so much for writing this. This blog has helped me through so much! I too like modeling and acting. I want to pursue it after my high school graduation next month. I’ve always struggled with wondering if I was going against God by wanting to model and act. You helped me see otherwise. I believe I was put on this earth to do those things, but use my platform (whatever size) to lead people to God. Thanks again for writing such amazing things. God bless you!

  2. I Kalyn, I posted this on my FB page for others to be inspired by your story.

    Kalyn I am so proud of you! Thank you for your inspirational words of wisdom. I love your transparency and honesty. You are a bright light in the midst of your generation and the entertainment business. God is using you in an awesome way!

    Big hugs! xoxo

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