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NKY’s Leah Baker competing for Maxim Covergirl title; she’s in Top 10, next round voting ends tonight

By Alexia Dolan
NKyTribune intern

Balancing a full-time job, being a single mother to a four-year-old daughter, and exploring a part-time world of modeling, Leah Baker does it all while looking and feeling her best and competing to become the next Maxim Covergirl.

Raised in Independence and currently living in Covington, Baker discovered the Maxim Covergirl contest through a friend on Facebook, inspiring her to enter this year.

“It was on a whim because I didn’t know much about it, but I thought I could try because my friend did,” Baker said. “I honestly didn’t think anything was going to come of it after I entered, but it all started when Maxim emailed me a month ago.”

Leah Baker

Maxim, an international lifestyle magazine, held the first round of eliminations and Baker made it into the top 10 out of 20 women chosen for the contest. The next elimination round is today and contestants will compete until the winner is named on August 18. The winner receives a $25,000 cash prize, as well as a trip to Paris for a cover shoot.

“It’s an avenue for women to celebrate themselves and their accomplishments because it’s not just about the pictures, that’s why it’s voting-based,” Baker said. “People vote based on what you look like, I assume, but also what your secret talent is, what you think is important to you, and what you would spend the prize money on.”

Baker lists her three secret talents as: being able to fold her tongue into a four-leaf clover, saying the alphabet backwards in ten seconds, and being a rockstar at crisis management.

“My family had some bumps in the road and when those things happen, some people crumble and retreat,” Baker said. “I go into solving mode by getting everyone on the same page, like a coordinator.”

Leah Baker

Graduating from Hanover College in 2012, Baker majored in theater and philosophy. She says her experience there formed her values and allowed her to express herself.

“Although what I studied didn’t translate into a career, I learned that I really value compassion,” Baker said. “I pride myself the most on being able to empathize with others and putting myself into their shoes.”

Currently a paralegal at Darpel Elder Law firm in Crestview Hills, Baker spends most of her time outside of work with her daughter, reading, and now paving her way into the social media and modeling world.

“My daughter loves art and reading, her main goal in life is to get as much activity in as possible, with as little sleep as necessary,” Baker said. “Being a single mom with a full time job, I don’t have as much time or availability to get out and meet people. Social networking is the only way to accomplish that for me and in the future, I see myself doing a brand sponsorship or representation deal.”

Juggling three different roles is tough on anyone’s mental health so Baker keeps herself in check by utilizing therapy and practicing mindfulness techniques, when life seems too much to handle.

“I try to stay present when I have a lot of things going on, because it adds so much pressure to think about all of them all at once,” Baker said. “I found that, if I only think about what I am supposed to be doing at this moment in time, it makes stress levels much more manageable.”

Anyone can vote by visiting the Maxim website. Each vote has a $1 minimum and all of the proceeds go to Homes for Wounded Warriors, a non-profit organization that helps build and remodel handicap accessible homes for disabled veterans.

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