Move over Tyra Banks, Leah Hayes is in the wings

Leah Hayes, 7, has thrived in beauty contests and acting roles.

Seven-year-old Viera resident Leah Hayes has always loved to pose for a photo, with a self-confidence many adults would envy.

In January of this year, Leah decided to try her luck with the Little Miss Florida US Nation modeling pageant. Although a first-timer at this state level of competition, Leah took first runner-up and the title of Little Miss Melbourne US Nation.

She will compete next year in Las Vegas for a chance to become Little Miss Florida, and hopefully also snag the Little Miss Nation Universe crown.

Leah’s mother began noticing her daughter’s special talents when her daughter was around 4 years old.

“She would ask to put makeup on me,” Darline Love said.

The girl might be little, but she is a natural at walking the runway, an activity she does regularly across the country at different fashion events such as Super Chic New York Fashion Week and Super Chic Miami Swim Week.

The second grader at Viera’s Pinecrest Academy was in California recently to act in a Macy’s commercial and will be featured in an upcoming movie filmed in Orlando.

“She travels a lot,” Love said.

To hone her talent, the little girl takes acting classes via Zoom from the Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts in California and dance lessons in person at the Viera Dance Conservatory.

As part of her role as Little Miss Melbourne, Leah took part in a documentary to raise awareness about Green Gables, the historic Melbourne home. Since the film was shown at Cinema World, you could say Leah has already made her screen debut.

She has her own agent, YouTube Channel and Instagram followers and, at the moment, a career in modeling seems to be her focus, but that is for this week. Next week, it could be acting, since she is adept at memorization, a talent critical for success in that field. In the past, she wanted to be a chef, and she loves science, too, so the jury is definitely out on what career path she will choose.

Whatever life adventure she embarks on, Leah will do it with extreme composure and grace, and with her parents 100 percent behind her.