Local kid finds face on billboard



Article Published: Dec. 9, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Local kid finds face on billboard

Catch Leah's smiling face near Skate World on U.S. 421 South.

Photo by Rob Moore



lauren@mountaintimes.com

The High Country is home to a new celebrity.

Meet Leah Hampton: Model, dancer and Hardin Park School student.

She also answers to "Merita Bread girl."

"We're so proud of her," mom Ellen Hampton said.

Leah, who got her big break at the age of 5 when she was discovered at a beauty pageant and signed to Directions USA, has been modeling for more than two years.

Her credits include a Smart Source coupon and shoots for Hunter Douglas Line and Hearthstone Magazine. August gave her another opportunity to shine, this one unexpectedly local.

"She got a job in Charleston for Merita Bread, and they told us when we went down there it was a nationwide shoot, and we probably wouldn't see it," Ellen Hampton said.

This week, the Hamptons were driving toward Boone near Skate World on U.S. 421 and got a surprise. "We just found out there's a sign with her on it," Hampton said.

"It was really exciting," Leah Hampton said.

The 7-year-old, who, when she's not posing, dances for Boone's Studio K, loves being a model. "My favorite part is getting to do my hair and makeup," she said.

Her parents' favorite part? Her increasing college fund.

"She wants to be a veterinarian, so eight years of school, we need to do something," Ellen Hampton said.

But just because her future lies in medicine doesn't mean she's opposed to upping the modeling scales and acting. "Maybe sometime," Leah said.

Her mom believes she could do anything, and isn't surprised Merita Bread put her on a billboard.
"She has dark brown hair and blue eyes," she said. "She's just not your typical looking child."

With a polite way of speaking and a demeanor that's more mature than elementary school, Leah lives up to the hype.

"She's a sweetie," Hampton said. "She's a mess actually. It's probably why she does so good with the modeling. She's a ham."

But in a delightful way.

Leah Hampton's dad, Toby Hampton, owns Hampton Body Shop in Boone.

Catch Leah's smiling face near Skate World on U.S. 421 South.

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