The Covenant Eyes Podcast for Ministry Leaders

Resetting The Pornified Culture featuring Leah Darrow

May 27, 2022 Covenant Eyes: Karen Potter, MA Ed., Brandon Clark Season 1 Episode 233
The Covenant Eyes Podcast for Ministry Leaders
Resetting The Pornified Culture featuring Leah Darrow
Show Notes Transcript

Resetting The Pornified Culture, With Special Guest Leah Darrow

Desperately seeking validation in who she was and where she belonged, Leah Darrow stepped into the world of reality TV as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. But Leah soon discovered there was nothing real or glamorous about that life. In this episode, she shares how God gave her the courage to leave modeling in the middle of a fashion shoot and talks about the dangers of engaging with human brokenness as entertainment.

More Information:

https://www.instagram.com/leah.darrow/

Lux App (social media for Catholic women): https://www.luxcatholicapp.com/?r_done=1

Power Made Perfect: https://www.leahdarrow.com/powermadeperfect?r_done=1


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Reality TV, Christian, Christianity, God, America’s Next Top Model, Modeling, Validation, Entertainment, Social Media, Beauty, Porn, Pornography

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6IWhg7LaMEDXlMufIzJupw

Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Hello everyone and welcome to the Covenant eyes podcast I am your host Karen potter with covenant eyes and i'm joined with my co host and partner in crime brandon Clark Hello brandon.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: hey Karen how are you.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: i'm doing really well today i'm excited about today's conversation I think this is going to be a really, really good conversation, especially for the ladies out there in the audience, who are.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: eager to hear from our guest today and her experiences on reality TV and her journey with her faith it's just going to be such a powerful story, and I am looking forward to jumping into it.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: yeah absolutely me too, you know.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: funny thing about reality TV I don't really watch a lot of TV so every time every once in a while, when I get in front of it and I just like to peruse and see what's on and I realized, I really haven't missed anything.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: But it's amazing how many different reality TV programs are out there, you know and they're and they're not real but that's one of the things we're going to get into is.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: it's all stage but for some reason we have this fascination our culture has this fascination with reality TV and going behind the scenes and seeing what everything's like, even though it really is a facade.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: yeah it is kind of a bizarre and faster infatuation that we have in America with this reality TV kind of facade, so I would love to dive into that with our guest today, so do you want to go ahead and introduce who we have I know you're excited.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: yeah absolutely i'm very pleased to welcome Leah darrow on with us today to.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: Talk about her life, she was a former model of former america's next top model contestant we'll get into a little bit about that, but then we also want to talk about.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: sharing this message of who God created us to be in looking at resetting this pornified culture, because.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: You know that that's really the culture that we're living in is this pornified culture this this attack and identity on who we are, as beloved sons beloved daughters, so you know we're very excited to welcome Leah good good afternoon Leah.

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Leah Darrow: hi thanks for having me I can't wait to chat more about all of these things that you've been talking about.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: yeah absolutely we're excited to dive into them, you know just fill in a little bit for us a little bit about your story, I mentioned the former model for America america's next top model contestant.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: Talk about that life that you lived for several years and what the turning point was when you realize that this was no longer for you.

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Leah Darrow: yeah so for many years from you know, like probably around high school through college, I began really seeking out, you know who I was my own identity.

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Leah Darrow: That allowed me to it brought me to a place where I just I made some decisions that I was not very happy with that really brought a lot of regret and shame.

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Leah Darrow: Though I mentioned that, because those types of decisions and those those activities, I was involved with created such shame, because I was not following god's law was not following god's love.

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Leah Darrow: That it brought me to a place of trying to figure out where I belonged, and like where there was a space for me or a place for me and I became very concerned and nervous that.

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Leah Darrow: Because I had not been following the faith that my family had given me in Christ because i'd made decisions that I thought were you know.

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Leah Darrow: A repairable I thought that I had just made so many bad choices in my life with relationships with my activities on the weekends with how I treated myself what I thought about myself.

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Leah Darrow: That it was so incredibly a repairable and that brought so much shame and that allowed a door to open in that door was to seek connection and validation.

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Leah Darrow: In the world and in culture versus you know with my family and my home and in church and with the Lord and with prayer and all of those other areas that I, I really should have been looking at, but I didn't and so.

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Leah Darrow: that's what shame does shame likes to tell you, you don't belong shame wants to tell you it's only you no one else has this problem, like you're the only one who is screwed up this bad.

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Leah Darrow: And when you listen to that voice is shame like I did it lead you on a path where you're seeking desperately for some group some some people somebody who's going to say you know what you're fine just the way you are.

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Leah Darrow: don't try to level up in life don't try to become the best version of yourself Holiness is a joke faith is ridiculous and you just need to embrace who you are right now, your mistakes and just keep making those mistakes and strive to.

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Leah Darrow: Tell and start telling yourself that those mistakes are not mistakes those problems are not problems it's just who you are.

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Leah Darrow: And so that's okay that's where I was, I just wanted to set the stage, so it for me auditioning for america's next top model.

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Leah Darrow: I wasn't in this great healthy place where i'm like oh I love myself and who, I am and i'm confident in the woman god's made me yes let's sign up for a reality TV show that puts me.

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Leah Darrow: On this pedestal where everybody gets to judge me and I accept everybody's opinion about me.

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Leah Darrow: And so being on america's next top model I audition for that show, because I was trying to figure out like what what am I supposed to do with my life and I had other people tell me that I was pretty.

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Leah Darrow: And that's all that I heard, and so I just thought well, maybe that's what I should do with my life, I guess, do something that that you know, is able to market and kind of you know that that element of me.

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Leah Darrow: And so it just so happened that that's kind of what I did I ended up auditioning for a TV show of america's next top model my life leading up to that was pretty much a hot mess, but I thought this would be the thing that would turn it around if and if I could prove.

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Leah Darrow: To somebody to the world to someone that hey listen i'm doing something successful on this level where the rest of culture agrees with this level of success or this level of beauty or the standard.

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Leah Darrow: Then I will be accepted, I will you know as silly and trite as this sounds i'll be loved people will think that i'm doing something special.

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Leah Darrow: I then will then maybe love myself and also feel like i'm doing something worthwhile so i'm on the show i'm on cycle three.

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Leah Darrow: Of america's next top model and there's nothing real about reality TV kind of what you were mentioning in the introduction here.

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Leah Darrow: And after being eliminated on that show I stayed in New York, I continued my modeling career as best as I could, and I ended up getting jobs, and you know, making money and doing all of those things.

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Leah Darrow: And, none of which made me happy none of it, none none, none of which was filling that void of you know, wanting to be accepted and loved and all the things that we're really looking for you know I think that's just.

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Leah Darrow: that's the thing you know we all want to make a difference, we all want to be loved and treated with respect, we want someone to believe in us.

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Leah Darrow: You know, we we all want that it's a part of being human we want this desire of connection with people and it just all depends on how we go about it.

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Leah Darrow: And so I was really striving hard for all of those things, and it really ended up to me, everything kind of began to turn around I was in the middle of this fashion photoshoot for this international magazine, and I had zero plans, I had zero plans on having any type of.

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Leah Darrow: connection with Jesus at all, I thought that I completely I thought I had burned the boats with, so to speak, with Jesus like nope that has sailed it's not going to happen, I wish it would have but i've screwed up enough in my past where that's no longer an option.

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Leah Darrow: And so I didn't think I was worthy of redemption.

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Leah Darrow: or worthy of being restored and so that brought me to the place, whereas in the middle of this fashion photoshoot and God completely touched my heart in a way that I cannot explain to you, other than a complete miracle in my own life.

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Leah Darrow: And in the middle of that fashion photoshoot he touched my heart and just helped me believe.

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Leah Darrow: That he was calling me to more and then I was made for that I was made for something more than what this and what what was going on in this moment and.

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Leah Darrow: You know I don't know it was a grace of the Holy Spirit that's, all I can tell you, but I actually believed it I believed that.

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Leah Darrow: Maybe this is true, maybe there's more to what I can do in this world than just this then taking a picture, then by being used and abused by people in this industry.

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Leah Darrow: By showcasing and also you know, I was a part of the.

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Leah Darrow: problem, I fully agree, like i'm a part of the problem of the standard of beauty by being a fashion model in the industry, I was saying this, ladies is what you should look like this is some type of standard and this man is what you should.

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Leah Darrow: justify by being a part of it, and God was clearly calling me out of that space, because there was a higher standard that I had not yet tried to achieve and to live up to, and so I ended up walking out of that fashion photoshoot.

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Leah Darrow: to the chagrin of a lot of the photographers and people on.

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Leah Darrow: Set who said a lot of different colorful things to me at that moment, where I was like I gotta leave I gotta get out of here and they like, what are you.

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Leah Darrow: Doing like how you can't get up in the middle of a photoshoot and just walk on out.

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Leah Darrow: there's no way like you can't do that who are you who do you think you are and really quickly, let me tell you something when you're about ready to change your life.

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Leah Darrow: There will be a whole crowd of people who will somehow find you, they will come out of the woodwork to tell you, you cannot.

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Leah Darrow: To tell you that you're not good enough you're not strong enough, you will fail, why even try.

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Leah Darrow: And when that moment happens, you have to tell yourself that you know you're on the right path, because if there are people who, out of nowhere are starting to tell you that you can't do something it's only because they know, deep down, you can you can change.

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Leah Darrow: And they're so scared of that, because if you can change that means someone else can change and they're so scared to see it in their own life that they have the ability to live up to a higher standard in life.

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Leah Darrow: And so, for me by the grace of God, I walked out of that photoshoot I came back to my faith in Christ, I came back to Jesus I had my moment and I was I slowly began.

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Leah Darrow: Changing my life, little by little, to live up to that higher standard and so that happened back in 2005 and since then i've been on a slow recovery with Lord.

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Leah Darrow: And he continues to heal me and I now begin to speak out about a lot of the things I experienced in the past, a lot of new things that are going on right now in our.

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Leah Darrow: In our life and in our world that speak to this element of really living our life to the standard that Christ calls us to.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: So powerful and I just want to stress, like there are listeners that are listening today to this podcast and especially women who.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: are just listening to your story of redemption and.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: You know so many of us, we get we get into a situation where we have sinned so much that we think we can't be redeemed and your story is hope for that.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: That we can and God loves us so much he knows what we're going to do before we do it, and so he wants to bring us back into the fold and it's just so powerful and it's a great reminder to us all.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Can you speak a little bit about when you were on the show the dynamic and the way that you know they they were treating because you know we see on the show we see these ladies.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: they're getting these amazing pictures, it seems like life is great you're living the lifestyle there's.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: You know, some bickering with the other contestants but behind the scenes what's going on, how are you being treated, are you being objectified are you being harassed, are you, you know what is it like behind the scenes on that show.

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Leah Darrow: yeah so keep in mind you're only seeing what they allow you to see it's the exact same thing with social media.

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Leah Darrow: You only look you only see what people allow you to see on their accounts, there are some accounts that are more honest.

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Leah Darrow: and vulnerable and you'll see a little bit more of the date today and then you'll definitely see some accounts, where it's very curated reality TV is curated social media basically.

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Leah Darrow: So there are they purposely want you to look at things that they know we're going to give you honestly a quick dopamine hit so that you'll continue with that show you'll continue watching.

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Leah Darrow: This is basic psychology and it's not to our benefit bottom line, and I will go into some some specifics, in just a minute, but you have to keep in mind that reality TV, it is based on human brokenness.

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Leah Darrow: It portrays human brokenness as entertainment and there is a major problem when we are entertained by the brokenness of humanity, my friends.

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Leah Darrow: there's a problem when we are entertained by the brokenness of humanity.

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Leah Darrow: So yes, what did they do on our show the cameras first off we're always on they never were not on, and when you thought that there was nobody there with like a person, a man with a camera on his shoulder filming you.

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Leah Darrow: There were hidden cameras, there were hidden microphones we found them in lamps we found them in pillows we found them we ripped them we threw them away, they filmed you through everything they took all the doors off of the hinges in where we were being filmed.

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Leah Darrow: In this area, in in New York at the time.

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Leah Darrow: They took the door off of the bathroom just be very specific, I remember when we were we were all in the room, and in the House ever where we were at.

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Leah Darrow: And the cameraman were coming in, while we were using the restroom.

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Leah Darrow: And I remember one of the girls like screaming like get out of here we're using the bathroom so we would take towels and we would hold them up in front of the girl who was sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom so that she could use use the restroom.

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Leah Darrow: We would also hold there was no shower curtain.

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Leah Darrow: And we would call them this phone this phone that was supposedly hooked up to the line to tyra but you never spoke to tyra.

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Leah Darrow: tyra only would talk to you when the cameras were filming when the cameras were off tyra would not speak to you, she would not look at you should ignore you and walk away, we know this because we attempted to and she would just walk away.

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Leah Darrow: So we called her though we are we call this phone that was connected to her people, and we would we would ask them can we please have a shower curtain there's no shower curtain we we it's.

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Leah Darrow: it's not it's uncomfortable to shower without a shower curtain it's cold, obviously the cameraman or they're filming us as we're showering and so again us of the other contestants we would hold up towels, while the other girls in the shower.

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Leah Darrow: Everything is filmed now did they show that on TV, no, they did not so you have to wonder why were they filming it and they still have that footage to this day.

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Leah Darrow: There are so many problems with reality TV it's not just it's just it's not the low quality of entertainment that's actually out there is the process of what they're doing.

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Leah Darrow: it's it's a lot of people, men and women who, like me and I won't include everybody in my boat, but I can tell you, many of us who are seeking validation seeking love trying to figure out what to do with our lives.

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Leah Darrow: Many of us don't have a strong relationship with our Creator, which is why we're trying to have a relationship with the world because we don't know where to go for for love or validation.

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Leah Darrow: And we're being we're being used really for some type of show.

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Leah Darrow: it's not like they're paying you money to be on this show they supposedly paid us a per diem each day, but nobody ever got that money, and I think it was $30 a day that you would pay.

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Leah Darrow: You would get paid, and it was supposedly for food, but you never saw that money ever I still to this day, have not not that it would be a lot anyways.

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Leah Darrow: So there's just so many different things, of how like they the cameras are always on.

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Leah Darrow: they're always there they're trying to incite drama, because the human condition is very predictable, so if they keep you away from it, if they keep you hungry and if they keep you tired.

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Leah Darrow: What do you think was going to happen and I don't know about you, but i'm a mom and now have seven kids and when my kids are hungry and tired, it is not a pretty picture.

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Leah Darrow: It is.

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Leah Darrow: it's it's like the worst scenario on the planet, in fact, whenever we go out in public, I make sure I have food on me all the time, this is why moms have snacks in their purses.

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Leah Darrow: Because we know the power of a hungry toddler, we know that it can destroy and noon.

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Leah Darrow: For an evening now let's say you get a group of you know 13 to 20 you know young adults in a room and they have hardly had any sleep and they're they're starving it's going to be drama but see that's what drives ratings and so again.

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Leah Darrow: Reality TV is nothing more than human brokenness being put out there as entertainment.

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Leah Darrow: And unfortunately, when we consume it that's what we're doing when we consume reality TV and shows like this that really showcase human brokenness as a form of entertainment.

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Leah Darrow: We are desensitize ourselves to humanity to looking at these people as actually having a mom and a dad like those those are someone's kids.

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Leah Darrow: Those are people who are just having a really hard time in life, and maybe we should give them a little bit more compassion and the compassion, we can give them is literally turning off the TV it's like not watching not giving them show our time attention and rating.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Well, so powerful you know it sounds very abusive.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: But you know you're explaining the situation and it's like a bad abusive relationship and i'm just thinking.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: You know what are they doing with all this footage What are they doing, I mean that's leverage that they're keeping in their files right, I mean that's just unacceptable behavior and.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: I think more people need to hear that people need to know what's happening because when they consume this stuff they where your heart is you know that's.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Where you spend your money and your time is where your heart is and people are investing in these shows and supporting that type of behavior it's disgusting it's very.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Very distasteful the way that they treated the young, ladies there that were.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: You know a lot of them were seeking validation like you said, and I think how does today's you know today's environment for young ladies is got to be very challenging because, with instagram tick tock.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: You know we're in an environment where there's filters all the time it's all about how you project your image, the metaverse you can create your own reality, how do you think that's affecting young people now, especially young ladies who are growing up in this type of pornified culture.

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Leah Darrow: yeah well it completely reinforces the idea that the person you portray on social is more important than the person that you are in real life.

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Leah Darrow: it's a complete distraction technique from the devil, in my opinion it's it's absolutely evil evil and one of the things that that evil loves to do loves to do is to distract you.

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Leah Darrow: It wants to distract you from paying attention to yourself, paying attention to you and your own serious needs we all have needs are you taking care of yourself, are you taking care of your mental health, what are you doing to help your mental health.

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Leah Darrow: When you doing or you may be going to see a therapist you going on a retreat, are you taking some time each day to you know pause and.

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Leah Darrow: Take a walk or physical activity, are you taking care of your physical health are you taking care your spiritual health.

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Leah Darrow: What is your daily routine look like these are all questions that have to do with taking care of yourself but that I truly believe God is calling us to spend time in this type of holy self care.

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Leah Darrow: But when you're distracted.

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Leah Darrow: When you look at other people you don't take the time to take care of yourself and then you begin to be the one that becomes unraveled.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: And I think we can see, then, that you know this looking for validation fizzes and found in modeling modeling.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: It can be easy to see how then that leads to people get involved in pornography, you know we just spoke to a gentleman, a few weeks back his name is joshua broom he was in the industry, and he started out as a model.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: And he was seeking validation because he didn't have a father in his life.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: And he couldn't find that, and so the validation he got was from people telling him he could do this right like you were talking about people telling you, you were pretty.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: All along you know and and that's how he ended up in pornography, so you know just can you talk a little bit about the the emptiness and how if that validation.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: doesn't come at some point, you know it could lead to not all the time, and maybe not for majority people but.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: For some people, they could be falling into that industry, the pornography industry trying to seek that validation because they really are just shells of of who they were created to be.

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Leah Darrow: yeah I mean it's all it's just a snowball effect right, I mean you do one little thing you're looking for validation I see this all the time.

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Leah Darrow: Okay, I receive messages very frequently on my social media plot platforms, I received private DNS from women and men, but a lot of women who start out with their social accounts, and then they go to their social accounts, and then they go to other.

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Leah Darrow: platforms, where they are being paid to do pornographic acts.

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Leah Darrow: or photos or whatever it might be, but it all started the very beginning of those platforms being something where they were just taking their selfies they were just doing something for validation because they needed they wanted desperately to be told.

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Leah Darrow: they're beautiful This is great oh look look, let me see more they have they have this whole group of people telling them that, yes, this is good, I want this.

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Leah Darrow: Right, and so it can easily lead into these different areas of abuse and manipulation and here's the thing I think we have to acknowledge.

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Leah Darrow: We have to acknowledge something there's very something very real and true going on.

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Leah Darrow: Like we have a desire to be loved we have a desire to be wanted, we have a desire for connection, we have a desire to do something good.

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Leah Darrow: Now, how we go about those things the vehicles, so to speak, that we take to get to achieve that need is where things can either stay on the track or they get off the rails right.

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Leah Darrow: And so there's there's that place where you have to be really self aware, you have to be really honest with yourself about who you are and what you want.

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Leah Darrow: And is what you want, and how you're getting it really fulfilling your deepest desires, or is it a very short term desire that you're fulfilling with really bad negative consequences.

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Leah Darrow: I go through this a lot in my coaching program of just helping people understand their needs, their wants how they're getting them and if they're fulfilling short term or long term goals.

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Leah Darrow: But you live like like you said, like there's so much pressure there's so much pressure to put ourselves out there.

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Leah Darrow: To be known on a surface level and it can lead down some places, you don't want to be, and I really don't think there's very, very few people in the pornography industry, whoever who can actually say Oh yes, from the very beginning, this is where I wanted to be.

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Leah Darrow: This is where I wanted to end up, and I think that's another thing is like we often don't play the long game with our life.

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Leah Darrow: We don't really think about long term, what do I really want where Do I really want to go, how do I want to get there, what type of man, what type of woman do I want to be in five or 10 years.

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Leah Darrow: What are those qualities and then what am I doing now to get that and again it requires a lot of self reflection and self reflection.

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Leah Darrow: Frankly required brutal honesty with ourselves.

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Leah Darrow: And it wasn't for me until I became just brutally honest with where I was and what was going on in my life and my actions and things I was responsible for.

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Leah Darrow: For I began to realize that Okay, I am the only one who can change my life with Christ, but i'm the only one who can do that no one's going to change my life for me.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: So powerful and let me ask you and maybe maybe you can't share this but have you had any communication with anyone that's been on that show you know that maybe.

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Karen Potter, MA Ed.: Watch your journey and and kind of witnessed how God can transform a life and maybe they reached out to you and said I want it and have you had any communication with anyone from any of the previous seasons on that show.

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Leah Darrow: Not that many there's been just a few.

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Leah Darrow: Just a small interactions but not that many, and there have been a few different moments that I believe tyra herself and then you know the show america's next top model which she's, of course, you know producer and host of.

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Leah Darrow: Where they had some moments where they brought people back from past seasons and who are doing things in the world, and they they they surprisingly never reached out to me i'm not.

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Leah Darrow: shocked at all I.

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Leah Darrow: think that I think they didn't want to have you know my voice up there is somebody doing something after the show that really completely is in contrast to their plans and goals.

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Leah Darrow: Which is absolutely fine I don't seek them or want them I don't need them for my validation anymore, I did at one point I completely agree, but not anymore Christ has changed my heart and continues to heal me.

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Leah Darrow: in ways that I need to become really you know the person that he's calling me to be so, not a lot but i'm not surprised it's not like i'm going to go after that particular culture to.

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Leah Darrow: To seek that type of validation anymore.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: You know isn't it funny and Karen has a really good example that she can bring up in just a moment but it's funny how the things that you see in culture.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: You know you have to wonder what aren't they showing me, you know why aren't they showing me the other side is because they have an agenda, and I think, from what we've been talking about.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: What they aren't showing is more powerful sometimes than what they are showing and you know I think we look at the objectification of men and women in our culture in media.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: And we just begin to use them as products, you know I think we're all in in some ways guilty of it, you know if we've ever watched any shows like that, or you know engaged in and looking at.

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Brandon.Clark@covenanteyes.com: You know at the the social media accounts and liking things, and you know just adding value based on picture and wonder if you can speak a little bit about that.

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Leah Darrow: yeah it's it's a pretty.

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Leah Darrow: it's pretty sad existence, when your life is based on what other people think of you, I mean just think just I mean think about that, like.

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Leah Darrow: As a model my whole life my career to become better was all based on what other people thought I look like in one particular photo.

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Leah Darrow: it's just so flat in two dimensional it's just a very sad place to live, but you don't have to be you know, a fashion model to experience that right.

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Leah Darrow: We live in such a digital world where so much of our identity is based on what you see, or what you read in a bio or just a few you know characters on social media.

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Leah Darrow: At some point, I think we all realize there's gotta be more to life than this.