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Ex-Drug Addict Turned Her Life Around And Is Now Successful Model Earning £99k-A-Year

Ex-Drug Addict Turned Her Life Around And Is Now Successful Model Earning £99k-A-Year

An ex-drug addict who had tried most drugs by the time she reached 18 turned her life around to become a successful model earning $120,000 (£99k) a year posting pictures on Instagram.

Heidi Lavon started smoking weed when she was just 12-years-old, leading to her experimenting with mushrooms, ecstasy and on to harder drugs even trying crack cocaine.

After suffering violence and abuse, the tattoo model vows never to return to her drug-addicted past and has cleaned up to become a successful model.

Heidi is now a successful tattoo model. Credit: Jam Press
Heidi is now a successful tattoo model. Credit: Jam Press
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Heidi who was born in Arizona but raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, says her dark, cold and remote Alaskan adolescence nudged her towards a life of substance abuse.

She confessed: "Nothing good ever comes from growing up there or even staying. There was only one tattoo shop in my small town - it's ten years behind everything else."

That boredom prompted the young Heidi to experiment. She said: "I started smoking weed when I was 12. It was easily accessible, and my friends' older brothers and sisters always had it."

Heidi before cleaning up. Credit: Jam Press
Heidi before cleaning up. Credit: Jam Press
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Nowadays Heidi has over 800k followers on her Instagram account @heidilavon. She is able to work with brands as both a photographer and model and collectively her internet savvy way of working now earns herself around $120k a year.

Heidi can charge brands around $300-$600 (£250-£500) per post, with some also paying her a monthly salary of between $2,000-$4,000 (£1,650-£3,300) to post randomly to any of her social platforms.

She also sells fully retouched photo sets to brands and magazines for their editorial and promotional use for between $1,000-$1,500 (£825-£1,200).

"It's really beneficial for me to be as independent as I am. I don't have to ask the permission of any photographer to use my own photos as I wish. My fiancé shoots them and I retouch them and finish the business deal."

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Heidi says she was a 'beautiful disaster'. Credit: Jam Press
Heidi says she was a 'beautiful disaster'. Credit: Jam Press

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Heidi treats her IG fans to photos of herself and her tattooed veteran husband James - but she wasn't always in such healthy shape.

"My friends would take alcohol from their parents' liquor cabinet, then refill the bottle with water. That quickly escalated to mushrooms, then ecstasy. Then meth, and coke, and krank - krank being the dirtier, grosser version of meth.

"I even tried crack, which was disgusting. It tasted like car parts and engine fuel. This was all by the age of 18, by the way."

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And as time went on, Heidi inevitably found herself 'in a very horrible and abusive relationship', enduring physical, mental, and emotional abuse.

After roughly six years of using drugs and suffering 'horrible things - torture', not to mention two serious DUIs which led to a one year driving ban, Heidi decided of her own accord to clean up.

Heidi decided to clean up after getting into trouble with the police. Credit: Jam Press
Heidi decided to clean up after getting into trouble with the police. Credit: Jam Press

"I was sick and tired of seeing my friends die, or go to prison. Sick of being sick, sick of being broke, sick of the disappointment from my friends and family. I used to shove anything I saw up my nose. Quitting is the best thing I could have done for myself. I have so much clarity now."

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Part of her recovery also came in the shape of boyfriend James, a US Army veteran who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan before losing part of his leg - and himself going on to become a tattoo model.

"We actually met because of a photoshoot," gushes Heidi about her man. "I was living with a photographer friend at the time and she mentioned shooting with a male model. I was totally nervous and freaked out, especially when I saw how good looking he was!"

Despite both being tattoo models, Heidi insists there's zero competition between the pair of them.

Heidi and husband James. Credit: Jam Press
Heidi and husband James. Credit: Jam Press

She's now doing much better as a model, since getting clean, explaining: "My skin is better, my endurance, my body and mind. I have actual muscles now."

Happy to put the past behind her and move on with the model life, Heidi still thinks about the past ruefully comparing herself to 'a beautiful disaster', but she is delighted to be where she is in life, and building towards a happy future with James.

Featured Image Credit: Jam Press

Topics: Inspirational, Community

Rebecca Shepherd

I'm Becky - a journalist at LADbible. I graduated with a First Class BA in Journalism before going on to cover criminal court cases, medical tribunals and breaking news for the national media - which inevitably and eventually became as glum as it sounds. Can often be found rocking a bag for life - which I made a 'thing' way before Rihanna. You can contact me at [email protected]