I met Diane years ago when my husband and I led a group of over 500 university students. In all my interactions, she was kind and humble, and even though she was attractive, I never thought that years later she would be an international supermodel. I also remember her struggle with physical pain and her constant courage to keep going forward despite the limitations. I had great respect for Diane then, and even greater respect now. The following is her response to a few questions I asked in my Beautiful Women on the Inside (and the Outside) series.
1) What do you do?
I enjoy business development and entrepreneurship. I also am involved in politics, human (anti) trafficking, and North Korea. I have an extensive background in fashion, entertainment, modeling, and the beauty world.
2) How would you define beautiful?
Beautiful - It's hard to grasp such a large term that is loosely thrown around, and frankly, too often, 'beautiful' may change depending on growth of character in seasons.
Beauty is having an inner confidence no matter what season or trial you are enduring in life.
Beauty truly comes with refinement. It's the firm choice to build on what's temporal or what's everlasting in life.
Beauty is also a view. It is a fearless vantage point that is steady and built from a history of trials.
True internal beauty has integrity, standards, and goodness that are unswerving to the world.
3) What is something unusual that people don't know about you?
I have been physically healed a few times. Here is a story of one of my major healings:
According to doctors, it would be a miracle to walk or run as I was diagnosed with osteoneocrosis, the destruction and death of bone. It was excruciating at times. The pain soon turned into a lifestyle of pure endurance and grit.
When I was 20, I left university for a semester due to severe pain as I could not walk much. I was the young Asian woman in an electric granny stroller. You can imagine the bewildered looks I received at the grocery store when I would casually roll by an elderly person with my electric stroller. A simple thing such as walking across campus or walking on hard wood floors was painful.
X-rays and MRI’s proved black legions were inside my bones which caused a lot of health concerns. The situation had complicated into arthritis, extra bone growth, and very poor circulation. The pain was essentially from bones grinding against each other.
My doctor said I would have a 50% chance of fully being normal again after a successful surgery. The doctor also said that running or wearing high heels would be painful. I did not want to take any chances with surgery and needed a miracle.
Ironically, I ended up going on a humanitarian trip to Juarez, Mexico with a friend. After a few days, the pain was too excruciating to walk another inch. I needed a miracle. I could not walk anymore; it was too much to endure. I was healed after (Christian) prayer. The next morning I woke up with no pain at all…it was bizarre because that the night before I could barely walk.
Coincidentally, my career in the modeling and beauty industry grew tremendously after I was healed. From then on, I continued to walk runways and was fully booked for modeling locally and globally. I was able to walk again without pain and without surgery. Soon after, I won local, national, and international titles for beauty competitions…all in high heels. The whole experience humbled me greatly.
4) What advice would you give a young woman reading your story?
- Don't be like "every other girl". There are too many pretty girls that create a mucky, monochromatic beauty/fashion/entertainment industry. Look for opportunities to be a cut above the rest or go against the grain to advance.
- Be encouraged. Even in the darkest times of life, you are never alone.
- That old saying..." If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything." Many get muddled in what the world calls "normal". Don't step back or lower your character for relationships. I can only imagine that every woman's story has been though so much already. I want to lovingly remind you to look back and see how far you have come and remember how you endured hardship and built character through difficult, refining times. So with a lot of love and encouragement, I recommend to not fall backwards, just to fit the norms of this world, but continue to stay steady on a narrow path. It will have far greater eternal reward, I promise.
5) If others saw you as 'perfect', what would you want them to know?
I will fail you a thousand more times.
6) Is there anything else you would like to share?
What the world lusts for as desirable or ultimate, are not my norm. Maybe I should just leave the US and move to the lush green fields of Sheffield. [That's where I, Jeannie, live]
But in all seriousness, be faithful to your purpose in life above everything else and to continue to grow.
My greatest passion is seeing others healed and set free. I could give everything up in life, just to see lives being powerfully transformed and experience freedom.
It is rare to find women who embrace and accept themselves with all their flaws. That is refinement, and it is refreshingly beautiful.
In the beauty industry, many women worry about fleeting vanity and live a lifelong journey of anorexia, bulimia, depression, and unhealthy ideals. But none of this has eternal value and is a waste of time. The most beautiful friend I have is a woman in her late 50's. She is extraordinary to me because she generously gives and impacts lives through her calling in life by leading others through prayer and healing. This is a beautiful woman, not wasting her time on fleeting vanity, but building an everlasting impact with her Christian faith.
You can read more about Diane on her website: www.dianeyoo.com
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