What started as a confidence-boosting photo shoot now has a Duncan woman close to making the cover of Inked magazine.
Following some health issues, Samantha Leaver treated herself to a boudoir photo shoot for a mental health day. Shortly after that, she saw on Facebook that Inked was conducting a contest for its next cover model.
“I thought, ‘Why not enter,’” she recalled. “I had a birthday coming up, so why not give myself the present of self-confidence?”
Leaver submitted a selection of photos to the magazine, and was put in a group of 25 women in the first round of voting, which opened on Jan. 19. On Jan. 28, the day after her 35th birthday, she made the top 15. On Feb. 4, she advanced to the top 10. She will find out this Thursday (Feb. 11) if she cracks the top five. So far she hasn’t been any lower than fifth in her group, and has been as high as third.
Leaver didn’t expect to make it this far.
“I thought I’d be out a while ago,” she admitted. “It’s quite exciting and [makes me] nervous at the same time.”
The first-place finisher in each group — Leaver isn’t sure how many groups there are — will advance to the semifinals. The overall winner will grace the cover of an upcoming issue of Inked and receive $25,000. She’s already decided how to spend some of that money of she wins.
“The first thing I’d do is take my two awesome boys to go watch a live Supercross,” she said on her contest profile page. “I would buy two goats and a pool for our farm. And then I would probably get another tattoo, or five more.”
Leaver’s first tattoo was a gecko on her toe, matching with tattoos that her mom and sister also got when she moved from Duncan to Calgary at the age of 16. She now has five pieces, and plans to get more.
“Being a mother, you kind of have to put that on the back burner,” she acknowledged.
To vote for Leaver, visit her profile page at cover.inkedmag.com/2021/samantha-leaver. Facebook users can vote once per day, and can buy additional votes with proceeds going to MusiCares, which provides critical assistance to people in the music industry.
Just as important as winning the contest, Leaver hopes to inspire other women to feel good about themselves.
“I want other women to feel the same way, to know that when they are down, there’s a way up, that nobody should be ashamed of their body, especially moms, and anyone can do it,” she said.