Love away the stigma. * Beauty with a purpose.
If you’re afflicted with the deprivation of not knowing who Leah Marville is, get caught up right quick. Barbados has this way of churning out the killer combo of beauty and brains like whoa. From Barbados Fashion week to South African couture, there’s no choice but to add Leah’s name to the growing list of Barbadian models taking the International Fashion world by storm – Lene Hall, Sara Collins, Tennille Stoute, Ramon Dodson, Richard Elms, I could go on. De sun ain hot in Bim fuh nuttin!
While Leah is following a now illustrious path, she is no doubt already leaving footprints all her own. Chasing the title of Miss Barbados World, her spearheading of The Love Campaign perfectly captures the pageant’s theme of ‘Beauty with a Purpose’. Focusing on providing support to children in families affected by HIV/Aids, the campaign promotes the destigmatizing of those battling the illness and its consequent myriad of social and economic challenges.
Mine was the pleasure recently of a chat with Leah. Her drive and heartfelt passion were undeniably evident. The philanthropy of celebrities and entertainers often tends to be a secondary effort – at the beginning of one’s career, the focus is “me-me-me”, then after amassing a certain amount of fame and/or wealth comes the thought to “give back”. Of note is that it is while Leah’s career – though already outstanding – is yet young, that her contribution towards the plight of others is equally outstanding. She spoke of a compelling desire to heed the cries, whether loud or silent, of those in need. It is indeed a costly calling, requiring the investment of much time and focus. In addition to modelling, Leah currently works full-time (and often more) with South Central Entertainment. Then add to the pot her academic pursuits (she holds a degree in Law from the University of the West Indies) and her participation in the Miss Barbados World contest. When and how could she possibly be pulling off such an amazing campaign? Though admittedly sometimes sleep-deprived, she credits her continued success to her passion and the support and assistance of others who have caught the vision.
It is clear that the phrase ‘status quo’ holds little meaning for Leah: she is determined to continue to push limits – her own, the nation’s and the world’s – in efforts to meet the needs around us that are so evident, yet many of us have learned to ignore. I feel inspired. Reassured. Encouraged. Challenged to be a productive Citizen of Earth.
Thank you, Leah!
July 22, 2009
Citizens of Earth: Leah Marville and the LOVE Campaign