“Often we mistakenly find our identity and worth in other people.”
At 15, Leah’s family moved from a farm to the city. Leah found herself scrambling to fit in and bending to societal pressures to ensure she did.
This experience ultimately led her to her role as “America’s Next Top Model.” Her face on billboards in Times Square. Covers of magazines… Until one day – she couldn’t do it any more.
Tune in to hear what broke Leah of her willingness to maintain an unhappy status quo and break free into the life she was meant to lead.
- Often we mistakenly find our identity and worth in other people. A lot of problems arise when we don’t see the value of who we are regardless of who is holding our hand.
- After making a mistake in her adolescence, she didn’t think she was worthy of forgiveness so she lived her life out of fear. This way, she didn’t have to change, she could just live out comfortably.
- As a model I was living in a world where only the exterior mattered. But then after a shoot, so much photoshopping had to happen for our photos to be acceptable… it wasn’t even real.
- I had an out of body experience during a photoshoot the reignited my heart. I heard the words: “I made you for more.” I wanted to believe it more than anything in the world that I was more than a picture or a paycheck. I wanted the feeling I had when I was 10, aware that there was something amazing I was called to do. That reignited in my heart and it was my last day of modeling.
- I had nothing I wanted. The God I believe and culture I believe in, I had made it nothing. There is something true about believing you are called to do something good and that we are all connected. I wanted to live as if I was.
- Seeing my picture in Times Square and on the side of taxi cabs made me feel chained to something. Like I had to keep up, I have to be better, skinnier than that… and I need to be better than the next girl that gets her picture up, too.
- Life is so much more about contribution than competition. If I am not contributing to make this world better than what am I doing? Competition, “who is the better person” — that is a world I don’t want to be a part of anymore.
- Get off social media. Unplug for a bit to figure out what is going on. Why do we feel the need to be connected yet feel so lonely? There’s a problem there. Who you are following on social media: Are they breathing life into your life or strangling it by bringing out a spirit of anger, bitterness or jealousy?
- People are going to talk. If you do everything right and if you do everything wrong: They will walk. So you may as well live your life the way you know is right and good and true.
- Get Leah’s book The Other Side of Beauty
- Write a list of every good thing you can do – no matter how small or big. Reflect on it. Remind yourself that you are more than what you look like, what you see.
- The exterior is nothing. The beauty of the face only gets you so far, but the beauty of the soul that will take you all the way to the end.
- When I left modeling / made huge life change, these were the questions I was asking myself:
- What do I like?
- What are my dreams?
- Who am I?
- How am I connected to this world in a bigger sense
- Unplugging allowed me to reboot and know who I am and Whose I am.
- Know that God is calling you some place greater. No matter what you’ve done in life. No matter your screw ups, shame or guilt – life can get better. It involves choices and being uncomfortable, but that is a good thing.
- When you are uncomfortable you are pushing yourself towards a better version of yourself. It makes you, your friends and the WORLD better. If you refuse to do it, you are refusing to make the world better.
- I start every day with a prayer of gratitude.
LEAH DARROW’S LIVE INSPIRED 7
1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The Soul of the Apostolate, about how our interior life effects our exterior life. It focuses on prayer, gratitude and working on our own wounds.
2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. Finish this project I am working on with Haiti 180, building a medical clinic in Haiti.
3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. The crucifix above my bed. We held onto it as we said our wedding vows 5 years ago.
4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? My grandpa, a man of few words. Incredibly wise, prayerful and kind. And every advice he ever gave me was right and correct. And he knew me. He always looked you in the eyes. And he knew who he was, his limitations and just being around someone so authentic and kind brings out the best in anyone.
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Trust your gut. I was a knew mom, pregnant about to deliver my first child. I asked for advice and my friend told me not to take any, she said to trust your gut.
6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? It get’s better but you are going to have be brave and you are going to have to choose things that require you to change. But it will get better. Never forget, God made you brave and strong, Leah.
7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? I believe in hope. Hope has a name and a face, I believe it is Jesus Christ. Wherever your hope lies, just as long as you have it, don’t give it up. Hope can change lives. Hope can change the world.
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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.
Thanks for being here. Thanks for being part of the movement to live inspired and touch lives along the way. If you ever have questions or ideas – please share them at firstname.lastname@example.org.