Beauty Queen Gets Busted, Finds Breakthrough

“My father was there, but he wasn’t there. He was an alcoholic. He worked very hard. He owned his own interior decorating business but he was in and out the streets.”  Growing up, Tiffany Love Harden knew her father loved her…but she was missing his time and attention.  “I can remember as a young girl wishing that my dad would stay home but when he came home, that meant arguing; that meant violence; that meant seeing my mom get abused for no reason at all.”

In her teen years Tiffany was an over-achiever, admired for her performance in academics and sports, especially track but the approval she hoped for never came.  “I was missing the affection. I was missing that you’re beautiful.”

Then while in college on a track scholarship, Tiffany was introduced to the world of beauty pageants. She says the community service and scholarships drew her in. “Part of having a platform was to be able to discuss issues that women face and it gave me a healthy way to express myself.”

But after winning a couple titles, her focus began to shift. “Once I started feeling myself, I was like ‘Oh I’m cute!’ If a guy knew you won a pageant, it was like you were a trophy on his arm. I looked for the most statuesque men, the men with the money, the cars, and I would use those titles to get what I wanted. I was enjoying the feel of a man for affection.”

One of those men was an older, seemingly wealthy man she married while in grad school.  Her identity became wrapped up in her life as a wife, a professional and a beauty queen but as the marriage fell apart, the façade started to break.  “I was afraid that people would look at me. See I’m the role model in these girl’s eyes, in these parents eyes. And people are looking at me like she has it all together but I was so messed up at home. I would compete in another pageant and before you know it I’m staying another year in the marriage because you had to stay married to do the Mrs. Pageant or you couldn’t compete and it came to the point that he was doing his thing. I was doing mine.”

She started connecting with men online and traveling to different states for sexual encounters.  “They were giving me their money and I was a player and I was enjoying it. I got a high from it. It made me feel good about myself but when I got to myself in my silent moment I could hear God telling me, you know, ‘What you’re doing is destroying yourself. It’s not right. Your body is the Lord’s temple.’ I was in my full time career of being a licensed master social worker and that’s what I did. I talked to people about their problems but I couldn’t help my own self out of it. This beautiful, intelligent, educated woman gets trapped behind the bars of her own mental thinking. I couldn’t free myself.”

Then at age 31 tiffany was at a community service event when a friend introduced her to Ahmad, who was a Christian.

“There’s something different about him. He didn’t have that player mode. He wasn’t trying to impress me with his riches or what not. And I got attracted to how he made me feel as a person. He really thought a lot of me. And I wanted to keep that. “

She told Ahmad about her divorce, but not about the other men.  One day, Ahmad was over Tiffany’s when an unexpected visitor knocked. “And he’s like, ‘Who’s at your door?’ And I was like, I don’t know who’s at my door. I look out at the peephole, and it’s the other guy that I was messing with from another city. He knocks on the door with roses in his hands. He says ‘Who’s in here?’ and Ahmad peeps his head out and they instantly start arguing and it got really crazy.”

Tiffany was forced to come clean about her secret life.  “And I remember Ahmad just had the most disgusting look on his face. He says, ‘So you mean to tell me you’ve been doing this all this time?’ I couldn’t even say anything. I felt awful. He says ‘You disgust me.’ He was ashamed for me, He says, and ‘You disgust me.”

Both men walked out on Tiffany. She was left alone to face the woman she had become and the thought was unbearable.  “I literally just broke down crying. It all hit me at once. Every city I’ve been to, hit me. Every guy that I laid with, hit me. It just hit me all at once. As educated and accomplished as I was, I felt like the scum of the earth. The Lord used that moment to save me because I could have continued that lifestyle. Right then I found Christ. I rededicated my life to Him.  I said Lord, if You would just forgive me, I will change my life.”

A few hours later, Ahmad called Tiffany to say he had forgiven her. The two began attending church together  “Just realizing that I had to face it with Christ, and no more blame game, no more saying because I knew up in an alcoholic environment, this is why I am what I am. No, really face it and say this is what I’m not going to be. And I thank God for Ahmad because He showed me that.”

Now, Tiffany and Ahmad are enjoying life together as husband and wife and Tiffany’s relationship with her father has been restored.  Through her non-profit ‘Beauty Behind Bars’ she’s telling others how she found true acceptance in the love of Jesus Christ.

“We travel the world teaching women girls men boys about the importance of freeing yourself from mental incarceration and self-imprisonment. I wasn’t truly free until I let everything go and gave it to Christ because who the Son sets free is free indeed.”

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