America’s Next Top Model contestant comes to tell students they’re ‘made for more’


Leah Darrow (right) speaks to a group of women after her talk “Made for More: What I wish every college student knew.”
Photo by Kayla Drake

KAYLA DRAKE | Multimedia Producer

A former model turned Catholic speaker uses her experience in the fashion business as a platform to communicate to young women and men that they are “made for more.”

Leah Darrow delivered this message to over 80 people, a mix of local youth groups, high schools and families in the Spellmann AB Leadership room Jan. 27. The Catholic Student Union and Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, partnered to host the event. 

Darrow paced back and forth addressing both sides of the crowd, using humor and authenticity to tell her story of how she returned to the Catholic church.

“I’ve experienced something in my life that has 1,000 percent changed it forever,” Darrow said.

That “something” was Jesus. A message Darrow sought to declare to students. 

“If you don’t have a definition, you will live by another definition [of love],” Darrow said.

Leah Darrow is the author of “The Other Side of Beauty,” a book about how God sees women’s worth. Photo by Kayla Drake


Darrow presented images of two different types of love to the audience: authentic and imitation. A comparison of coke and diet coke, she joked.

Jesus waiting for the nails to be driven in his hands at the cross, was an example of authentic love, Darrow argued.

“Imitation love says it’s no big deal, it’s fine,” Darrow said. “Just try a different person, take that pill, get that abortion.”

Darrow emphasized that a person’s relationship with God, affects all of that person’s other relationships.

“Ladies, who told you that you had to give everything away to be loved?” Darrow asked the crowd.

Throughout the hour and a half talk, Darrow received several “amens” from listeners. Other members in the audience sat captivated.

“I made you for more” were the five words Darrow said she heard from God during a New York fashion shoot. She walked out of that shoot and ended up at confession, tired of living a “filtered life,” she said.

“Sin is exhausting,” Darrow said. “You carry it around, it weighs on you constantly. You feel heavy by it.” 

Dolores Boschert, a member of Catholic Student Union, said Darrow’s experience striving for perfection hits home for her.

“Just hearing how open and honest she was, even when things happen you can get past them,” Boschert said. “We’re never too far in the hole to dig ourself back out.”

Darrow gave one final piece of advice to the crowd, before dismissing them to go to mass and confession at Sibley Chapel.

“Offer people who are suffering solutions,” she said.

While Darrow is a St. Louis native, she has been speaking for 11 years, is an author and also hosts the podcast “Do Something Beautiful.”