Episode 81: Demi Leigh Tebow, Attempted Kidnapping Survivor and Former Miss Universe
Demi Leigh Tebow
Former Miss South Africa and Miss Universe Demi Leigh Tebow is now on a mission to help women feel mentally and physically prepared for anything through her Unbreakable campaign, a self-defense program inspired by her own experience as an attempted carjacking and kidnapping survivor in June 2017. Demi shares her story of healing and recovery and how she shares her story to help others.
Where do I go? it only happened once. I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger and I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Can someone help me?
This is You Matter!, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Campus Safety.
Karen Ortman 00:36
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion, and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I'm your host, Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of campus safety operations at the Department of Campus Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional today I welcome Demi Leigh Tebow, former Miss South Africa, as well as Miss Universe, who is now on a mission to help women feel mentally and physically prepared for anything through her unbreakable campaign, a self defense program inspired by her own experience as an attempted carjacking and kidnapping survivor, in June 2017. Demi is here to share her story of healing and recovery, and how she shares her story to help others. Demi welcome to you matter.
Demi Leigh Tebow 01:33
Hi, Karen, thank you so much for having me. And I also just want to say, thank you so much for just all the amazing work that you do and everything that you stand for. And you know, kind of being in this fight somewhat alongside so many other people, women, main, even children in creating awareness for I think a conversation and a topic that does not get enough awareness. So thank you for that.
Karen Ortman 01:59
Well, thank you. Those are very kind words, and I really appreciate hearing them coming from you who is doing so much yourself. So thank you. So let's get started. So you were born in South Africa, what was your childhood like in South Africa?
Demi Leigh Tebow 02:18
You know, I kind of grew up in two amazing households. My parents were divorced when I was pretty young. And I meet my step- parents when I was ages three or probably five. And so I kind of grew up into just beautiful homes with the most amazing stepfather and stepmother than that any child could probably wish for. And so I kind of got it from all four sides there. I had four amazing people that spoke into my life at the same time, which I actually see as a very big blessing. And I know that that's not the situation for a lot of children out there. And I have sympathy with that. So very grateful for just my upbringing. My parents that have always cared very much. I was born just outside of Johannesburg in South Africa. And when I was about seven years old, my mom and my stepdad and I moved to a small little beach town called Sage field, and it's located in the garden roots in South Africa. And it literally is a Garden Route. It's probably one of the most beautiful places that I've ever seen in my life. And I had the privilege of growing up there and eventually graduating high school just outside of St. Shield our way. I was in boarding school, my whole high school career. I then went on to study business management and entrepreneurship in my dad's hometown. So I kind of had a little bit of best of both worlds.
Karen Ortman 03:50
Yeah, a lot of support. You're very, very lucky. And you're right. A lot of children don't grow up that way. So you have siblings?
Demi Leigh Tebow 04:04
No, I don't actually have siblings, I had a little sister. She was actually my and my husband's matchmaker. Um, her name was is Franja. And she was born with severe special needs. And she passed away in May, two years ago.
Karen Ortman 04:19
Demi Leigh Tebow 04:20
Her and my husband's foundation that's Tim Tebow foundation. One of their ministries is called Night to Shine, and it's a worldwide prom for people with special needs. So essentially what brought us together was a mixture of Night to Shine and my little sister. So really a match made in heaven.
Karen Ortman 04:38
Absolutely. And I'll tell you Night to Shine, that's an episode all unto itself.
Demi Leigh Tebow 04:43
So yeah, and you guys are in New York, we have 90 chives in every single state across the US. Last year, over 34 countries over 750 locations. So we need more churches to come alongside us and it's amazing evening.
Karen Ortman 05:00
It is amazing. It's a beautiful event. And I'll be in touch with you about that in the future. Yeah, definitely. So at what age? Did you start participating in beauty pageants?
Demi Leigh Tebow 05:16
Um, you know, Karen, I don't necessarily want to say that I ever, you know, started participating in pageants. It was kind of one of those things where we we wore school uniform, I was in public school and South Africa, most schools, public or private, usually wear a uniform in South Africa. And so, you'd have those are days like first day of spring, where everyone could dress up or Valentine's Day. And I always had a friend here or there that would secretly nominate me for the Miss spring, whatever, little school pageant, and I remember participating in my high school pageant, which was really fun. But you know, I think South Africa has a little bit of a different approach to pageantry, which I really appreciate. And I think that's probably one of the biggest reasons why pageantry was something that I wanted to pursue. I think South Africa's approach to pageantry is not just all about dresses and bowl counts, but it's more of an ambassadorship, a spokesperson role. It's elevated, so many women's lives, it's elevated their platforms. And I grew up looking up to former South Africa's as some of my biggest role model really, you know, impact that they have been able to have in their own communities. And essentially, our country, is so tremendous. You know, they're all such a well esteem business women, business owners, mothers, entrepreneurs, and women that I have really looked up to in in a big way. So I wouldn't necessarily say that I've always wanted to be in pageantry, but I kind of knew that I always wanted to be a miss South Africa type of woman. And those are some of the characteristics that I just explained. If you know, a woman that is a leader, that is a role model that makes an impact in her town, city, community, country.
Karen Ortman 07:16
Well, those women are, I'm sure, very honored that you speak so highly of the role that they played. And that's great that you had that sort of mentorship. You know, growing up. So ultimately, you became Miss South Africa in March 2017. Can you can you describe the moment that you learned you won the title?
Demi Leigh Tebow 07:39
I guess that's probably the golden question. You know, how did you feel in that moment? What was through your mind? Um, you know, Karen, I think it was the same way when I won Miss Universe, I think I had worked so hard. When I decided to enter Miss South Africa, I said, You know, I want to do this one time, and I want to do this well. And I want to be able to look back at this journey, whether I win or not, with contentment, that I gave this, during my everything. That I was well prepared, that I don't have any regrets, looking back, whether I win or not. And I just remember, you know, standing there with one or two other ladies, you know, waiting for your name to be pulled out. And just thinking that I have done everything in my capability to be in this moment to get myself to the, to this situation and as a Christian and as a believer, you know, I believe that God has amazing plan and purpose for each of our lives. That was, you know, his plan for my life, I would have been so honored and so grateful and so happy. And if it wasn't, I was content, knowing that I had done my part, and the rest was up to him.
Karen Ortman 08:55
So you spoke of winning Miss Universe, prior to winning that title and after winning Miss South Africa, you experienced a traumatic event. If you could speak to that day, when you were stopped at a traffic light. What happened?
Demi Leigh Tebow 09:27
So Karen, I won Miss South Africa in March, as you just mentioned, and about three months later, in, I believe it was the seventh of June a Wednesday afternoon, half past five in the afternoon, broad daylight. Our traffic on a big Avenue was about you know, four lanes each way, kind of, like Sixth Avenue in New York, right? A really big Avenue, lots of traffic, lots of people. On my way to an event as the reigning Miss South Africa, that particular event was just literally two blocks away from my home where I was saying and so I drove myself and my brand new vehicle, that was a part of my gift package winning the South African title, and I remember remember it stopping at the rate traffic lights. I was about three cars from the front of the of the line and a little side note in South Africa we drive on the other side of the road so that means we sit in the other side of the vehicle, the right hand side of the vehicle drive on the left hand side of the road. I'm stopped at the traffic light and there was a I was about to turn into the parking lot and there was a barrier on my left hand side and like I've mentioned peak hour traffic so cars you know pretty much boxing me in and you got to understand in South Africa peak hour traffic there's so many people walking catching a taxi and a lot of vendors selling things on the side of the road especially in that time of day and so waiting for the traffic light to turn green I noticed four men approaching me from my left hand side and you know I thought, oh no they're just you know, they're just kind of walking home they're just on their way home from work not a big deal but I just felt very restless and you know my heart was just kind of pulsing and I just kept telling myself it's okay they're just walking home trying to catch a taxi whatever. I'm like well hang on, what if they are coming from me, then there has to be someone approaching me from my side of the vehicle, and I'll tell you in a little bit why I had that knowledge, and I sure looked at my right, I saw a man approaching me on my right hand side and I felt very uncomfortable I tried not to make eye contact just praying for this light to turn green so that I can go and the next moment my car was surrounded by five armed men, the guy on my side of the vehicle knocks on the window with a gun pointing to my head as well as from the other side of the vehicle.
Karen Ortman 12:08
so excuse me for one second, so you're in your car you have somebody approached you point a gun in the direction of your head on both sides the passenger and driver side?
Demi Leigh Tebow 12:22
Karen Ortman 12:23
and are they saying anything to you?
Demi Leigh Tebow 12:26
my windows were rolled up but I mean I I kind of knew what they were indicating was for me to get out of the vehicle and to hand over my vehicle to they might tell the same not 100% sure you know what their specific intentions were that was purely to get my vehicle or to get me I had these men you know surrounding me I immediately put up my hands, surrendered, took off my safety belt got out of the vehicle but the moment I stepped out of the vehicle the guy on my side of the car grabbed me pushed me back into the vehicle, to get in you're going with us and and I told him take everything it's you know, it's materialistic, my car, my handbag, my phone that can be replaced but just please leave me alone. I'm the guy pushed me back into the vehicle. you know, I don't I didn't unlock the doors, it's kind of when you open your door it automatically unlocked so the rest of the doors were still locked, I believe so the other men was not able to get into the vehicle. Long story short, I just remember two things in that moment. And one thing was do not go to the second destination. And the second thing was the throat. It is accessible, it's lethal, to any woman. Obviously, this is not something to take lightly or to try at home. This was in a life threatening situation, where I had no other way out. I knew I was either going to do nothing, try and fight my way out of it, or get shots. And quite frankly,the other two options, weren't an option to me. I was going to try and fighgt my way out of it. I wasn't going to go with him, because I'm pretty sure you know, somewhere downtown in some dark alley with 10 other of their friends. It wasn't going to get any better than it was, engaged in a big avenue. Yeah. So I grabbed onto the steering wheel and I remember kind of trying to punch the guy as hard as I could in this throat and he kind of choked enough for me to push him off of me to get myself out of the vehicle and to run away, in six inch heels might I add because I was on my way to the event as the reigning Miss South Africa I remembered running up that big Avenue, past, you know, up to the next traffic lights. As I said this was peak hour traffic's a bumper to bumper traffic of families, women, males, who were ever driving
Karen Ortman 15:09
so people had to be witnessing what happened to you?
Demi Leigh Tebow 15:12
Oh for sure. I mean there were vehicles all around me, it was broad daylight you know. I remember running not knowing where I should even run to. Knocking on probably 30-40 I'd even say 50 car windows I mean I ran all the way to probably the next traffic light and no one would stop for me, caring and you know, I think that's probably one of the most traumatizing parts of this whole story, it is not getting any help, you know, having anyone even roll down their window and ask if you're okay, right?
Karen Ortman 15:48
Demi Leigh Tebow 15:50
It is shocking, in a way it's just very sad because I think our society has been conditioned to believing that people will, and this does happen unfortunately, so you know, in a big way I can't even blame them, but you know, I think our society has been conditioned that you know, put your own safety first. might be trapped into a situation and those things unfortunately do happen. Yeah, you know, not to be oblivious to that, but I mean, I was well dressed. I didn't even have any pockets with me. People had their car windows open. I was yelling at them please help me I've been carjack. please help me, please help me, and I just remember people rolling their windows up, shooing me away. said get away from my vehicle.
Karen Ortman 16:35
Demi Leigh Tebow 16:37
you know that was just that was just so sad that so many vehicles, four lanes of traffic, no one would stop, no one would even you know pick up their phone to call the police or, you know, anything to that extent
Karen Ortman 16:51
Meanwhile where are the men who attempted to commit this crime against you?
Demi Leigh Tebow 16:59
I kept running, kept running down that avenue, I remember looking over my shoulder once, maybe twice, you know not knowing if I'm going to be shot in the back, not knowing they're running after me. Someone else you know waiting down the road that might grab me just having no idea of what might happen. I don't want to speculate on what their purpose was. I remember looking over my shoulder and just seeing them trying to get into the vehicle the rest of the vehicle the car doors were locked. My key was placed in my handbag under my seat. So I don't think they knew where to access that. And eventually, Karen, going down that avenue, I kept running eventually this old little car, kind of swept over a couple of lanes and stopped and this young girl, she was 19 years old at the time, leaned over and rolled down her window, was really old car so he said hold down the window and she's like are you okay? Do you need help? And I just remember looking at her just was such a sigh of relief saying no I'm not okay please please let me enough being carjacked. And she leaned over and she pulled up the little lock to let me in and she let me in and like me to safety and we have unfortunately not been able to catch the perpetrators yet, had fingerprints taken and the whole thing but unfortunately not been able to track them down which is which is really sad because you don't want that happening to no one else. I would I hate for any, any other woman, or man to find themselves in in a situation like that.
Karen Ortman 18:50
So let me just say, thank God for the 19 year old who drove up and was willing to help you. ultimately, did the police respond or did this person take you to the police station?
Demi Leigh Tebow 19:05
Well, I mean they had taken my phone in that moment I was very close to were I was carjaked like I said I was training into the parking lot of the event and my managers and some team members of the South Africa organization was joining me at the event and so that was the closest safest place I knew of going to get help. We drove in there I found the rest of my team members and we called the police from there on and they meet us actually in the shopping area, the shopping center, if you may, and we gave the affidavit and and you know, the guys actually did not end up leaving with the vehicle. So you know who knows what their intent was. As they didn't leave with the vehicle and have taken my belongings, but the vehicle was stationed. You know, I'm guessing it's because they're showing five key which was hidden under under the seats in my in my handbag.
Karen Ortman 20:10
so you were able to to retrieve your your personal belongings your handbag and your car?
Demi Leigh Tebow 20:18
Yeah, some. pretty much my handbag, the rest was pretty much taken. Okay.
Karen Ortman 20:26
So let's go back. I think this is an important conversation to have when we talk about following our intuition that sixth sense, where we feel something, we don't know why, but we need to listen to it. You spoke about being seated in your car and seeing four men approach and then an additional man approach on the passenger side. And your heart started beating. Can you talk about... what was going through your mind at that moment? what was your gut telling you?
Demi Leigh Tebow 21:13
To get away from that situation. You know, I do think we have a sixth sense. And I think, you know, so many times, as women were told oh don't make a fuss about it, it's not that big of a deal. Don't make a big deal about it. But you know, sometimes we do need to make a fuss and sometimes we do need to make a big deal about it. Sometimes we need to get out of that elevator or not take that elevator in the first place. If we feel uncomfortable, sometimes we need to get off at the lobby floor instead of going to the floor that you might be staying on, sometimes you need to park in front of the store where there's lighting and a camera. Or sometimes you need to ask the store manager to walk you to your vehicle if you feel unsafe. And you know, sometimes that might be embarrassing to someone else. But I think that this situation has really taught me not to stay quiet so that someone else can be comfortable. This situation has you know, made me aware not to be paranoid and not to live in fear but to live with knowledge that there are bad people out there that not everyone has good intentions and that it's okay to look out for yourself and that it's okay to ask for help and asking for help does not mean that you are weak. I think that is one thing that the situation really taught me.
Karen Ortman 22:37
Regarding these five men just out of curiosity you did not know them you never saw them before?
Demi Leigh Tebow 22:46
No I did not.
Karen Ortman 22:48
And as you're approaching the stoplight where you said you were three cars behind the line prior to to these men approaching, did you get the sense that you were being followed?
Demi Leigh Tebow 23:06
No I did not get the sense that I was being followed, because they approached me from the from the side and from the front. You know a big part of it makes me think that I was woman alone well dressed in a brand new vehicle, somewhat making me have a you know, an easy target I was boxed in, there was a barrier there was cars around me so. I don't know if they knew who I was at the time. I don't know if they had planned this and you know it was the road that I regularly drove on?
Karen Ortman 23:39
Demi Leigh Tebow 23:41
I hate speculating. I don't know what their intent was.
Karen Ortman 23:45
Demi Leigh Tebow 23:45
I dont recall ever seeing them before. But you know, Karen, I did attend a couple of safety driving courses, woman empowerment courses, prior to this event. And I think those things really helped me to help manage and get away from that situation as fast and as safe as I possibly could. You know, I think going for a self defense course is amazing and it might teach you a couple of skills, but specifically focus on martial arts. I don't think you know, if you don't practice certain moves daily in a dramatic situation like that you might not be able to remember
Karen Ortman 24:23
Demi Leigh Tebow 24:23
and like the two things that I did remember that I was taught in various safety driving courses, self defense courses, woman empowerment courses was don't go to the second destination, because it's not going to get better than the first. Whether that is your driveway whether that's a big alley, whether that's a shopping center home, do whatever you can not to get to the second destination. And the second thing that I remembered was the throat and yeah, those are the two things that I remember remembering in that situation. You know, it goes by so fast and I'm not you know, I'm not expert in this field I have absolutely no background in, in law enforcement or self defense. But, you know, I know that those two things have worked for me, they, they helped me to escape out of that situation, unharmed. I had not even a scratch on my body, which I was so grateful for. But of course, you know, the trauma that I had experienced that definitely stayed with me, and probably will stay with me for, you know, the rest of my life, but I've decided to use that and not be controlled by that trauma, but let that trauma inspire me to help people around the world. And you know, I think that brings us to the conversation of human trafficking. I never want to victimize myself, I never want to speculate on what these guys intentions were. But this situation, you know, after going through a healing process, going for therapy, which was extremely helpful. You know, it led me to doing much more research on the topic of human trafficking. It opened my eyes to that conversation, which I did not even know was a real thing in the year 2017. At the time, I had so many mothers, daughters, young women reach out to me after that incident. I like I said, I was in South Africa, and I had a pretty decent following at the time, reach out to me after that incident, you know, saying, Dimi, where did you learn these things? How did you know what to do? Please let us know, can you introduce us to the Self Defense course, or the safety driving course. I want my daughter on that. And I was just, you know, my eyes were just so open and my heart was broken for women, but men and children as well.world wide, that situations have not turned out the same way it has for me, you know, there's estimated 40.3 million people trapped in human trafficking today. And I personally believe that it's one of the biggest evils that we as humanity are facing. an estimated 40.3 million people around the world do not have the freedom of living freely. You know, my husband and I are both in this fight very heavily. We're actually running a birthday campaign. My birthday is coming up soon.
Karen Ortman 25:46
I know tell me about that.
Demi Leigh Tebow 27:30
Yeah, yeah. So this, that incident, let me backtrack a little bit, the car jack lead me to starting a campaign in South Africa called Unbreakable, which was aimed at enabling and empowering young women, mothers, women all around the corners of the country, with the same tools and knowledge that I was empowered with, on how to one; be aware and be able to do your best prevent unwanted unsafe situation from happening. And secondly, if a situation like a carjack or abduction, or whatever it might be, might happen, how to manage that situation in the best way possible. So that was Unbreakable. And Unbreakable, just kept growing and growing. And we managed to host workshops all around South Africa and reach 1000s of women. When I won Miss Universe and moved to New York City, and then Miss Universe organization really helped me to bring Unbreakable to the US. And we had workshops hosted all along the east coast. In the US, we had a workshop in Mexico, we had a workshop in Indonesia, which was amazing. And once again, just, you know, let you know the power, that platform like Miss South Africa, and Miss Universe has
Karen Ortman 28:51
Demi Leigh Tebow 28:52
to be able to affect people to be able to motivate and inspire people all around the world. You know how bad has helped me really innovate my voice by not only reaching women in my community, but women around the world, which I'm very, very thankful for.
Karen Ortman 29:07
So can I ask you how does unbreakable this campaign that has grown exponentially? How does that intersect with your human trafficking advocacy?
Demi Leigh Tebow 29:17
Yeah, well, I think you know, it all kind of goes hand in hand. Now fast forward four years. I'm a board member of Her Song, which is the anti human trafficking Ministry of the Tim Tebow Foundation, specifically focused on survivor care here in the US. My husband, Tim and I are very heavily involved in the fight against human trafficking worldwide. And right now, like I said, my birthday is coming up and I think birthdays can so often be focused on us and how we can celebrate, you know, our life and our next year and our accomplishments and, and that's fun. I love birthdays and get me wrong. It's one of my favorite things.
Karen Ortman 30:00
Demi Leigh Tebow 30:01
But sure, I decided to use my birthday to shed light on people who don't get to celebrate their life because they don't get to celebrate their freedom, I've decided to raise funds for Her Song, which is a holistic care program for human trafficking survivors. One of the things that I love so much about Her Song is that it's not just a, you know, a quick program, it's not just a shelter, but it's a holistic care program, a curriculum that the survivor has the choice of following. And the team members that Her Song really walk with the survivors, from the first day that they walk through the her song doors to the day that they graduate the program, and even afterwards, keeping up with them, following up with them, just really welcoming them into the Her SOng family, and being able to encourage them. I'm going to help get them back into society by applying for jobs, by studying a degree perhapds,by buying their first car or first vehicle, and I think that's one of the things that I love so much about this program is that it really focuses on a holistic healing process.
Karen Ortman 31:19
For survivors of human trafficking. Right?
Demi Leigh Tebow 31:21
Karen Ortman 31:22
And how does one access resources associated with Her Song? How does somebody obtain additional information about Her Song?
Demi Leigh Tebow 31:32
Well, you can go to the timtebowfoundation.org, we have a section on the website, that is called the Rescue Team. And what we have done is, well, what the Tim Tebow Foundation has done is put together resources that enable you to be educated because I think knowledge is power. So educate those around us so that we can have educated conversations with our family members, or colleagues or fellow students on this topic that needs so much light to be sprayed on it. And it's not a comfortable conversation. It's not an easy conversation, but it's a needed conversation. Because there are an estimated 40.3 million people around the world that need someone to speak up for them, that needs someone to help them. Get out of that situation. So yeah, so the timtebowfoundation.org there's a lot of resources that you can follow with Her Song, and you can go onto their website. And you know, Karen, I think so many people, like you just ask, how do you get more involved, I think so many people want to help so many people want to do good, but they think that they need to do something extravagant, to make a meaningful difference. I don't think that is the case. You know, it can be as easy as supporting an existing organization.
Karen Ortman 33:01
I also think that there are many people, surprisingly, who are not aware of the degree to which human trafficking is a problem. And, the degree to which it it affects people in this country alone, let alone around the world. So the information that you are sharing is can be life saving for some people.
Demi Leigh Tebow 33:27
And Karen, I would also just add that, you know, we, we live in it in the day and time and age where we really don't have an excuse. Human trafficking is not just people that are being sold for sex, slavery, but it is also labor trafficking. So as consumers, what choices are we making and making sure that we are supporting ethical fashion, ethical beauty products. That is one thing that I have really tried focusing on and let me tell you Karen, it's hard. It's hard to fully track down the production and sourcing process of companies because it goes so deep and so far, but we can do our part, do our best to make the best decisions that we possibly can and listen, I'm probably going to fail. In certain you know, choices that I make, I'm probably going to buy a product that might not have been ethical somewhere. But I going to do my best to do as much research as I possibly can and not supporting unethical companies.
Karen Ortman 34:35
Before we close, can we speak to the resources that you either sought or would recommend somebody seeking who suffered the trauma that you did, following your incident in South Africa?
Demi Leigh Tebow 34:53
Yeah, for sure. Karen my step-mom is actually a clinical psychologist with her PhD in neuro psychology. And so, you know, I met her when I was three years old and have grown up with pretty much a psychologist in my household and not necessarily noticing how much therapy I'm getting done on this side, because I just had conversations with my step mom, amazing conversations with her. But you know, she really encouraged me to go for trauma counseling. Yeah, I think it's called EMDR, I'll get the right word to you. But it's pretty much a tapping therapy. And I believe it might have actually been developed here in the US if I'm not mistaken. That is a trauma therapy that has really worked for me helped me work through that situation, you know, I remembered after to that situation, I did not want to go back to my house, because I wasn't sure what these men's intent were? If they were out to get me, are they going to come back for me?
Karen Ortman 35:56
Did you ever have any reason to believe did any information develop that you learned that they were seeking you specifically?
Demi Leigh Tebow 36:06
No, but I had personal items in my vehicle that would have made it easy for them to track me down, such as housekeys. So you know that and various other items, a work phone and a personal phone, you know,if they were able to kind of crack that code, they wouldn't have been able to, you know, see my previous locations that I've been to, on my Google app or my other apps, so you just don't know, I didn't know, what their intent was, how skilled they were. And I'd rather be safe than sorry, yeah.
Karen Ortman 36:50
Do you still have post traumatic stress related to that event?
Demi Leigh Tebow 36:57
Um, no, I wouldn't say that I have, but I'm very careful of what I allow myself to watch and consume such as, you know, scary movies or whatever that might be. I tried to feed myself and I think that goes for us generally, you know, I tried to feed myself with positive information, positive content. I think that is so important because nowadays, you know, you can just get on a Ron's, I know so many teenagers are using Tik Tok and you can just keep scrolling, scrolling and scrolling and get fed information, after information that might not be as positive and that's a whole different conversation. and positive choices of what I allow myself to consume, I allow myself you know, just to be around positive people. And like I said earlier, that situation, I did not want that to let me live in fear. But to live with knowledge and to live with awareness
Karen Ortman 38:02
Demi Leigh Tebow 38:03
because those things are important of being you know, we should not be a gullible to believe that there are no bad people with no bad intentions out in the world because I have experienced that they are. and the work in human trafficking that we are very involved in, you know, and I'm sure that with your law enforcement background, you will know that there are unfortunately people out there with evil intent and I've not allowed myself to live with fear but just with awareness
Karen Ortman 38:38
who inspires you?
Demi Leigh Tebow 38:41
Oh, I have so many people that I think I look up to like I said to you all the previous Miss South Africa's, my parents inspire me, my husband inspire me the, the team at the Tim Tebow foundation with Her song and the amazing work that they do daily, the you know, things that they endure daily. The heartbreak that they get to work with and still get up every day with a positive attitude and motivation and goal in mind focused and determined to help people that can do absolutely nothing for them in return. know those are people that really inspire me and that I look up to so much, and I will always say, thw president of Her Song, her name is Rachel and our Vice President of ministries at the Time Tebow Foundation. I say our because I feel so involved in the foundation. Her name is Brandy. They are two of the most inspiring women that I've ever met. I don't always tell them, Randy and Rachel one day when I'm big, I want to be you. I want to be you. So you know those are people that really inspire me. My husband, who I get to do life with,his fight for helpong hurting people all around the world inspires me daily.His education and his strive to keep fighting for people around the world that can't fight for themselves. that inspires me so I can keep going on. There's people that inspire me that I get to work with daily on a very close basis.
Karen Ortman 40:27
You inspire me. Oh, you're so sweet. hahaha You're you do amazing work, as does your husband, and especially for those who who can't do it for themselves. It's awesome. Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you would like to share?
Demi Leigh Tebow 40:50
Oh, I feel like we've had such a great conversation. I've got to touch on so many kind of points. But, Karen, I just like to thank you for, you know, shedding the light on this topic. And, I think like I said, education is power, knowledge is power. And the more people can be educated, the more people have knowledge, the more we can actually act and change the statistics one life at a time.
Karen Ortman 41:20
Yeha, I'm so honored that you came to talk to me today. And my hope is that at some point in the future, we can have another conversation about all the work that you and your husband are doing. So thank you, to my guest here
Demi Leigh Tebow 41:36
I appreciate it. Thank you.
Karen Ortman 41:38
So thank you once again to my guest, Demi Tebow and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You Matter. If any information presented today was triggering or disturbing. Please feel free to contact the wellness exchange at 212-443-9999 or NYU's Department of Campus Safety and their Victim Services Unit at 212-998-2222. Please share like and subscribe to You Matter on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or tune in.