Leah Darrow grew up in Oklahoma as the oldest of six in a family whose Catholic faith was imperative to them. She had always enjoyed fashion and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she also began actively modeling as a career. In 2004, Leah auditioned for the third cycle of the popular reality show America’s Next Top Model and was one of the final fourteen contestants in the competition. Though she was eliminated quickly, the publicity allowed her career to take off, and she moved to New York to pursue greater modeling opportunities.
Leah Darrow: Reclaim Love, Reclaim Beauty
Leah Darrow is a radiant woman who seemed to be living the American Dream. Young, ambitious and with a promising modeling career, she had everything she believed necessary to make her happy. Yet, she felt lost and empty on her search for significance.
Raised in a home where she was taught to believe in God and live by His teachings, she did as many other teenagers have before her, and drifted away from those lessons. Instead, Leah discovered the attention she received from being attractive and living on impulse instead of integrity was fun, easy and made her popular.
Eventually, the opportunity to be on America’s Next Top Model arose and she began to live the life she knew would make her happy. She was eliminated off the program but was hired to do a photo shoot. One which would get international attention and make her famous.
Discovering Your Self Worth
She knew the shoot would be a little more revealing than usual, but felt it would be worth it despite her misgivings. Midway through the shoot, she had an awakening. A call from God reminding her that no amount of fame or money would satisfy her. There would never be enough attention in the world which would make her forget what she knew; that she needed to search for significance and go back to her roots.
Leah Darrow listened to her heart on her search for significance and left her modeling career behind. Today she uses her experiences to help teens and others to rediscover their commitment to themselves. While her reawakening was about living the life she knew God wanted her to live, her message is about more than that.
Of the professional modeling world, Leah has said, “Although not all modeling is bad, much of it is dehumanizing. The dignity of the person is of little importance.” She was magnificent at what she was doing, but Leah never felt fulfilled in her career. There was always an emptiness, something lacking in her self-esteem, that she could not identify. As she began to believe all the worldly tenets of the modeling community more and more, Leah’s personal faith wavered.
As time went on, she was asked to move further away from her originally wholesome brand of modeling into more sexy and sultry shoots. Moreover, in the midst of one such photo session, Leah recognized how dissatisfied she was to be offering this sort of lifestyle to God. She knew immediately that she could not live that way any longer. She called her father pleading for his help in leaving New York. He immediately drove there to take her home, and once back in a more nurturing environment; she was able to spend time rediscovering the importance of her faith and her identity as a child of God.
Thoroughly convinced that she had been wasting her God-given talents, Leah Darrow now has a new desire to change herself and the world around her. The change that has occurred in Leah’s heart encourages her each day to make the most of all that God has given her. Toward that end, she has been involved with a character formation program called “Pure Fashion” that teaches godly principles to young women to help them as they mature and, specifically, as they begin modeling careers.
In this video, this former contestant on the reality TV show America’s Top Model was interviewed before she spoke to a group of 15,000 Filipino youth on her Real Love Revolution tour. In the interview, she shares her feelings on modern entertainment and the lack of morality in both the media and in American Culture. She thinks America is providing other countries a disservice. Instead of using our influence as a role model to do good as we should, we are exposing our corrupt morals and bringing other countries down with us. She explains that too often we use people and love things when it should be the other way around: we should love people and use things.
When asked about reality television, she explains that there is nothing “real” about it. Leah tells of her experience on a reality tv show where the producers and cameramen had no respect for human dignity. Doors were taken off hinges. The participants were given no privacy, even for things like using the restroom or taking showers. She likens America’s infatuation with reality television to the entertainment found in the days of Roman Colosseum and suggests that we need to turn away from it. Even though the people portrayed aren’t being abused quite as extremely, their lives are being torn apart, and they’re being criticized, laughed at and made fun of. The destruction of human lives should not be entertainment.
Top Model to Role Model
Leah is a positive person and believes we should use our influences to the betterment of others. When she speaks to her audiences of all ages, the message she wants to convey is the same: you should never let anyone tell you that you cannot change. Leah encourages listeners to seek Christ, knowing you will find Him and shares that whether you believe it or not, He is our end. God offers us hope that we can make changes for the better. She wants to teach others to make the right choices and to understand that unlike what the current culture and media may portray, what God offers does not put limits on your choices. Choosing what is modest, good and right is never the wrong choice. Other frequent topics found in Leah’s speeches are chastity, morality, and mercy. She’s doing her part to change her world for the better.
Leah also loves to speak about issues of purity, modesty, chastity, and true love, drawing strongly on examples from her life. She and her husband travel and speak several times a month, most often addressing high school and college audiences. Reaching these age groups is Leah’s greatest passion because she desires to share important principles that will help them avoid straying on the same paths she did. During a tour of Australia, many young people commented that as Leah Darrow found and experienced God’s true love. He changed her from being a “Top Model” to being a “Role Model” for Godly living.