Leah Marville’s path to success can only be described as meteoric. She was a third year law student in 2006 when, as she puts it “fell into modelling”. A group of friends and her cousin encouraged her to attend a casting call for Barbados Fashion Week (BFW) and the rest is history.
Standing 5 feet 7 inches, Leah Marville is actually considered “short” in the modelling industry. This seemingly important statistic however, has had little bearing on the success attained by her so far.
It was at BFW she made valuable connections such as meeting her current agent Dwight Peters, who at the time was so impressed with Leah he immediately invited her to do Style Week in Jamaica.
Modelling opportunities came up and Leah entered the Fashion Face of the Caribbean in which she placed a commendable third for someone who had just entered this competitive and stylistic arena.
Leah then participated in all of the Fashion Weeks across the Caribbean before heading to New York to work with renowned agency Elite.
It was here she worked on building her image and in a relatively short space of time, she was sent to South Africa to continue her work there. It was during her first year in South Africa that Leah booked some of her most lucrative jobs in the market – another feat which is unheard of so early in a traditional modelling career.
Leah’s first commercial was within two months of being in South Africa for Blue Ice deodorant. She has also represented brands like Dunhill, American Swiss and of course she is the international face for the Nivea campaign. She has done photo shoots for prestigious magazines Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.
Leah recognises that there is a season for everything and she is preparing to complete her two years of Law School in Trinidad. While this may mean fewer modelling jobs at the time she believes it will be to her benefit to gain the legal background that is applicable to the world of entertainment. She will no doubt be combining these two strengths to further her professional and personal development.
While it is her remarkable beauty that catches your eye, it is her intellect and passion for life that lures you in to the world of Leah Marville. While there is a stigma attached to the modelling industry, Leah is determined to show that there is so much more to it than is portrayed by the media and some of the stakeholders.
It has allowed her to access a whole new world of travelling and to learn the business aspect of the industry. One of her goals is to develop Barbados as the fashion arena of the Caribbean and the world where persons come to scout the island for modelling, acting and entertainment talent.
It is clear that while reaching for the stars, Leah’s feet are still firmly planted in the ground. Her desire to improve herself, family and community is inspiring and in every strategic step she makes, Leah wonders “What’s in it for the people of Barbados?”
The drive behind her local television show “Passport 246” is linked to her wanting to bring the Barbadian viewers along with her on a journey to experience new countries and cultures. She has taken us behind the scenes at the BET Awards and the Miss World Pageant and without a doubt this is just the beginning.
This young woman is determined to create a legacy so that others may build on her success and attain even more success than she has. For someone who seems to have it all, Leah admits that she is plagued by the same universal challenges and one of her pet peeves are persons with bad manners who do not respect and treat others as equal.
She always wanted to use her profile for something positive and the opportunity arose with the launch of The Love Campaign, an HIV/AIDS awareness food bank which has received tremendous support over the last year. This initiative also received a National Youth Award in 2009.
There is a certain passion that emanates from her – her confidence is not overbearing, and Leah is “the girl next door”, who just happens to be absolutely beautiful and one of the most successful Barbadian representatives at the Miss World 2009 pageant.
She placed consistently in the top twenty in the various categories such as Beach Beauty and was awarded the “Miss Continental Queen for the Caribbean“. The bookies had her as a favourite to win, or at least place in the top three of the competition.
Although this did not happen, Leah did gain the support of the “People’s Choice Award” on the Missology.com chart which is synonymous with choosing the real winner of the competition.
While she has already achieved more than the average person – Leah still holds a passion and excitement for discovering new things. As she relates her joy in seeing white lions and giraffes in Africa, or her experience of the cosmopolitan vibe of the Emirates, it is clear that her mantra is “Live, Laugh Love“.
This certainly has not failed her in her journey as model, host, producer and law student – and there is a quiet confidence that Leah Marville will accomplish everything she sets out to do.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.