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Former 'America's Next Top Model' Contestant to Share Her Inspiring Journey at Maine Catholic Women's Conference

PORTLAND---“I went as far as to be on a national television show to get validation of my external appearance. In that world, I was never pretty enough, good enough, or skinny enough to get that validation. One day, I realized that God’s love was the only validation I needed.”

Leah Darrow has spoken to countless audiences while touring the country as a full-time motivational speaker, but her goal is always the same: teaching an appreciation for the true meaning of beauty, mercy, true love, and God’s design while promoting the virtue of modesty.

Darrow, who now lives in Missouri, was a professional, internationally-known model who became a finalist on the nationally-televised America’s Next Top Model in 2004. During a photo shoot for a magazine in 2005, a moment sent her down a new path she still travels today.

“I saw an image of myself with my hands completely empty. I had this overwhelming feeling of disappointment. I really believe that’s how God was speaking to me in my heart. I knew Christ was helping me realize that I had many gifts and talents from him but that I had been using them all for myself. I knew that I would not do modeling anymore. I knew I was going back to Christ.”

Darrow will be the keynote speaker at the Maine Catholic Women’s Conference on Saturday, April 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. She will offer two presentations entitled “Prodigal Daughter: How a Dad Got His Little Girl Back” and “Decent Exposure: Why Women Must Reclaim Beauty.” She will speak about the dangers of seeking validation for your appearance and her personal experience of healing and forgiveness for years of what she calls “vanity” and broken relationships, and she will speak about Christ’s love.

“People want to hear about my modeling career, but the bigger story is that Christ came into my life and changed it,” says Darrow.

The mission of the conference is to gather for a day to nurture and strengthen the faith of the Catholic women of Maine, so they may share the abundance of God’s mercy and love. The cost of the conference is $60 (student rate of $30). The fee includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Registration closes on Thursday, April 20.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the conference, call (207) 321-7898 or visit www.portlanddiocese.org/olff/womensconference.