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Saturday was her 18th birthday, but Lauren White didn’t spend it with her family has she had in the past. This year, she was on a stage in Lexington, competing in the state Junior Miss competition.
Although she couldn’t spend time laughing and talking with her family, they were in the audience while Lauren was on stage. She said it was a different birthday experience for her, but one she will not forget.
Being on a stage in front of a large crowd can make anybody nervous, and Lauren said she thought she was OK, but her nerves did play a role as the event began.
“I think the nerves hit me right before I went out on the stage,” she said. “I loosen up a little bit after I get out on the stage, but it’s that waiting period before I go out there that really gets me.”
She had no reason to be nervous because there was an audience with family, friends, and even competitors from the local Junior Miss contest in the crowd to cheer her on Friday and Saturday. She said some of the girls from the local contest came to support her, and that meant a lot as she represented her community.
“A lot of people came on Friday, and a few came on Saturday. I was so blessed to represent our county, and I am so thankful for all of the support the girls gave me, and for all the gifts, cards and flowers the community sent throughout the week.”
She competed proudly, but White did not advance to the finals of Saturday night’s competition. Still, she was unfazed, and looks back on the event with pride and a week’s worth of unforgettable moments.
“I learned a lot from my experience, and I think more than anything I learned that I can take on a lot more of a workload than I thought I could,” she said. “We worked so much this week on our routines, and all of that got thrown at us in a short amount of time, but I discovered I could do it. I had a great time, and I made a lot of wonderful friends and had a great time representing Washington County.”
She has said in the past that she doesn’t think of herself as a pageant girl, and following the state competition, that had not changed. Still, Lauren said she doesn’t think she would want to be in another pageant.
“I don’t think so,” she laughed. “I loved being there this week. It’s a great program, and it was so much fun, but I don’t think I could be a pageant girl on a regular basis. This was not a normal pageant, though. This was all for scholarship money, and scholastics is one of the major components of Junior Miss.”
She may not do it again, but Lauren did say if she has daughters some day, she would want them to be a part of the Junior Miss experience.
“If I ever have daughters, I would want them to be a part of it. It’s not for every girl, and I didn’t think it was for me until I got into it, but I would love for my daughter to be in Junior Miss. You learn a lot about yourself, and it’s a great opportunity.”
With her pageant days behind her, Lauren will focus on her studies and maintaining her 4.0 grade point average as a senior at Washington County High School. She plans to attend Western Kentucky University and is considering a career as either a journalist or perhaps a teacher, like her mother, Donna.
“I’m leaning toward English, and I would use that to teach in high school,” she said. As for her mother’s influence, she said that has also played a role in her options. “I think about how many lives she’s touched and the people she has influenced. I love English, reading, and writing, and I couldn’t think of a better job than to teach that to other people and have an influence on children.”