Reasons Not To Clean Your Room: A Cover Girl Story

on September 19, 2013 in AnnieWrites with 12 comments by

I entered a contest in 10th grade with Brio Magazine to attempt to have the messiest bedroom. I did nothing to make it worse- I just took pictures of the situation. Mainly, it looked like my closet threw up everywhere. And my dresser. And my bookshelf. You just haven’t seen a place like Annie’s Teenaged Bedroom.

I cleaned the room, took the “after” shots, and mailed them all to Brio. [It was 1995, people. The internet didn’t do crazy things like SEND PICTURES.] And a few months later, I received a box from Brio saying I had won a slot for honorary mention and a jewelry case. AND MY NAME WOULD BE IN THE MAGAZINE.

At the time, Brio Magazine was the absolute coolest teen Christian girl magazine and I devoured every copy that came to my home, so the idea that MY NAME WOULD BE IN THE MAGAZINE just about made me pass out.

And so it was. Right there, on the far bottom left corner of the left page. “Annie Downs, Marietta, GA” I can still see it just as clear in my mind’s eye.

Eighteen years later…


Um. Yeah. On the cover.


[Tiny explanation : Brio Magazine existed from 1990 until 2009 and I don’t know the science behind it all, I just know that Susie Shellenberger, who started Brio, now runs Sisterhood and it is a lot like Brio and amen.]

I know. It’s crazy. But the 10th grade Annie that lives in me is pretty much in a constant state of freak out about the whole thing. And so is my family, as evidenced by my father ordering 50 copies of this issue.

Yes. Yes he did.

The people at Sisterhood are the best and have put my piece online. You can read my article here.

If you have a teen daughter, this magazine really is the top teen Christian girl magazine in existence. And that is just one more reason that this whole cover girl thing kinda blows my mind. It is SUCH an honor and you better believe that I’m gonna frame this puppy in my house because WOWIE ZOWIE.

Sisterhood Magazine is doing a special offer for ONE WEEK [and if you are thinking ahead at all for Christmas for a teen you love, this is a duh moment] : you can subscribe to the magazine and use the coupon code ANNIE to get $3 off a yearly subscription. 

You can also get a copy of my issue- just call the number on the bottom of this page and they’ll help you out. I think it’s like $3 or something? I dunno. Ask my Dad.

The moral of today’s story, kids? Don’t clean your room. It will really pay off in two decades.

You’re welcome.


  1. Meredith
    posted on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:28 PM  |  reply

    I had forgotten about Brio! I had a letter published in the “Penny Power” section once!

  2. posted on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:29 PM  |  reply

    Beautiful! I would be just like your dad, the proud parent, and buy about 100 of them. 😉

  3. Rachel Jackson
    posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM  |  reply

    Hey Annie! Congrats on the cover story!! I chuckled when I read your post… I use to dream of being the next “Brio Girl” back in the day! LOL! 🙂 Looking forward to meeting you at the Influence Conference soon! 🙂

  4. posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 5:33 AM  |  reply

    Oh, I love this! I, too, was a major Brio fan! Congrats on the cover–you look beautiful!

  5. posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 1:20 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I LOVED Brio when I was younger! That is awesome you got your name in that magazine. I remember when I was in college, I met a girl named Autumn Alcott, and I made a complete fool of myself because I immediately said, “Hey, you were a Brio girl! I loved you!” Haha.

    I loved your piece. And I love that you are always on time.

  6. LL
    posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM  |  reply

    I remember Brio! You really made it big!!! You’re as cool as Twila Paris and Kim Hill! 🙂

  7. posted on Sep 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM  |  reply

    oh my gosh! I totally had a Brio Subscription and I’m pretty sure I entered the same dirty room contest:)

  8. posted on Sep 23, 2013 at 7:42 AM  |  reply

    HAH! I totally remember that contest! I had just started subscribing to Brio that year. I remember some of those rooms and thinking, that’s’ what these people call messy..something must be wrong with me. I think I still have that issue at my parents’ house. Will have to look up your name next time I go back.

  9. posted on Sep 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM  |  reply

    I had forgotten about Brio! 🙂 Can I just say…BOOM. Your cover shot looks AMAZING, my friend! It is so exciting and wonderful to see all of the ways God is getting you out there with your story and the message He needs you to spread and tell! Brilliant!

  10. posted on Sep 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM  |  reply

    You have given me such HOPE! Several years ago a friend wrote an article about me in Brio. Now my dream is to have my own article in a magazine. Congratulations on not only the cover, but also your new book. I will be at the Influence conference this weekend. Would love to meet you.

  11. posted on Sep 23, 2013 at 6:07 PM  |  reply

    I knew there was a reason I don’t like cleaning. Congrats on the cover and the book and the amazing things you’re doing for girls 🙂

  12. Jodi
    posted on May 11, 2017 at 1:27 PM  |  reply

    I just got my copy, and I’m SO happy Brio is back!! And to find fellow Brio lovers from back in the day. I devoured every single copy!

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