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This racing celebrity was rocked by a nude photo scandal, but a comeback was just around the corner

Paige Duke's Story

I was NASCAR’s Miss Sprint Cup. My job was to make sure I was right behind the driver in the camera shot in Victory Lane, with a smile on my face, covered in Gatorade, Coke, beer and champagne.

I loved interacting with the fans, the traveling, the sport, the “family-like” relationship with everyone in the garage. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else at that time.

Then in June 2011, an embarrassing part of my past wrecked my life -- or so I thought.

Naked and ashamed

In 2005, as a Clemson Freshman, I had emailed several nude pictures to my first real boyfriend. I thought I was in love with the guy, and I was willing to do whatever it took to have him in my life. The pictures then had found their way to an online bulletin board.

I was immediately terminated. I couldn’t be the face of a Fortune 500 company with these pictures of me out there.

Worse, I felt violated, as if hundreds of thousands of peeping Toms had looked in my window. I thought, ‘I’m such a bad person. I don’t deserve anything good to ever come of me.’

A new relationship

I had met Jesus in a Southern Baptist church and was baptized at 12, but I did not have a day-to-day relationship with God.

When the pictures became public, in my mind I felt I was a victim, and it wasn't fair that I was getting "punished" and having to ask for forgiveness for something someone else did to me. When I prayed, it was just asking God "why did this have to happen to me?”

But as the months passed, I slowly started to deal with my emotions and work on my relationship with God. I started desiring to be a better follower of Jesus, and I made NewSpring services a priority in my life. God was slowly working in my heart and taking away the anger and injustice I felt.

Restored by Jesus

I now feel God’s presence with me everyday and have such peace in my heart. I read and study the Bible. I pray with intention, and I trust God. He gave me the strength to get through this, with the help of my family and my friends.

I realize I have a bit of a voice and can touch peoples lives, especially young ladies. If I had only known my value and worth and seen myself the way God sees me — as a daughter of the King — I would never have been in this situation in the first place. I would never have given my heart and thus my body to someone at 18 out of fear of losing him.

I see sex now the way God intended: for married couples. I would have waited for a Godly Christian man who respected and honored me and my body and led me closer to Jesus.

If this embarrassing incident hadn't happened to me, I’m not sure I would have come to this realization on my own — and I could very well still be on a dangerous destructive path with relationships in my life.

Moving forward

It is now 3 years after this incident. I am 27 years old.  I have been hired for three amazing jobs, only to lose them once they found out about the pictures. I have learned now to be upfront as soon as I have my first interview, instead of going in with the mindset "hasn't it been enough time?” and "when do you stop bringing it up?” 

But for every job I may have lost, God has brought me many others in return. I know I am going to be taken care of. It feels so wonderful to feel this peace no matter what I may be struggling with.

God has blessed me beyond measure and continues to bless me. Instead of just giving up and letting the past control my life, I keep moving forward and keep the faith that God always has something better for me around the corner.

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