A dream she once thought was out of reach for someone “like her” was now a reality all because she went for it.
Lauren, a 25 year old college graduate from the University of Texas was experiencing a low point in her life. She lacked self-confidence and felt no sense of accomplishment.
“I don’t like the law school I’m going to and I feel really sad. I feel like a failure,” Lauren cried to her mother, father and sister at the dinner table.
“You’re not a failure. You’re young. You have the rest of your life to live. Don’t be embarrassed- it’s just not your time to go to law school. You’re destined for greatness. Things are meant to happen when they happen,” her parents comforted her.
Those words from her parents resonated deep within Lauren. Why was she in such a rush to finish law school right now? She wasn’t enjoying it. Her parents were right and she knew it. She left law school and started searching for a job. She started taking care of herself more intently by going to the gym on a regular basis and watching the kinds of foods she ate. Lauren was beginning to feel better about herself and landed a great job at a courthouse as the youngest court clerk hired. This new job made her feel important and gave her a bit of that confidence she was wanting, but a wish she once had as a little girl was tugging at her heart.
“As a kid, I always watched Miss USA, Miss Universe, Miss America. And I always thought to myself, ‘Those girls are so confident. That beauty is so unattainable. I could never do something like that,’” Lauren remembered but secretly wanted to try.
One day she just decided she was going for it and found herself wearing glamorous makeup, big hair, a beautiful gown and stilettos on the stage of Miss Houston, Tx USA Pageant. With no practice or training, Lauren walked off the stage without the title, but a lot of pride.
“I didn’t know what I was doing. I just did what I thought looked good. I was so scared but I was excited. It was a really good experience,” said Lauren.
She had found this amazing, glamorous new hobby and was on a mission to win a title. She continued working out, watched youtube videos on pageant walking, got an interview coach, a walking partner and competed in more pageants. She also decided to enroll in the online program for Criminal Justice at the University of Houston and move to Austin, Tx.
“You look way more confident. I can tell there’s improvement. You’re changing,” her mom said to her after a pageant.
It was Lauren’s fourth pageant, and on her way to the pageant’s interview session, she saw red, white and blue lights flashing in her rearview mirror.
“I wasn’t even speeding. Well, I felt like I wasn’t speeding,” protested Lauren.
She thought about turning around and forgetting about this pageant. She was flustered and obviously not feeling her best – as you can only imagine.
The following day, October 23, 2016, was the Miss San Marcos, Tx Latina Pageant show and things were not running as planned. Lauren and the show’s director were running late (Lauren wasn't going to speed), the dress rehearsal ran past schedule and Lauren had five minutes to get her glamorous makeup on. It didn’t happen.
“Lauren, it’s not all about looks. It’s about how you rock it on stage,” her pageant sisters encouraged her.
“Guys, it’s a beauty pageant! I know I can rock it on stage, but I don’t even feel confident. I’ve never competed in a pageant with no makeup on,” Lauren panicked.
Lauren had enough time to put on the basic everyday makeup routine of foundation, minimal eyeshadow and bright red lipstick. She was pretty certain the title would not go to her.
“And the winner is Lauren Carrion,” the announcer said at the end of the night.
“I just started crying and I couldn’t believe what happened till the next 20 minutes. After everything that happened to me that weekend- to come out a winner. I was like there’s no way this is happening,” Lauren recalled her emotions as she was crowned.
As Miss San Marcos Latina, Lauren has the opportunity to confirm that dreams do come true and be a role model in the community. She encouraged students an elementary school with a 90% Latino population and plans to encourage more youth with her hard earned title.
“There is hope for a better future. You can do anything you want to do. It just takes hard work and time. Although there may be setbacks, don’t let those setbacks affect you in such a way where you can’t accomplish your goal,” Lauren said to third, fourth, and fifth grade students.
Photo Credit: Miss San Marcos Latina TM Facebook page