SB: Normally you’re on the other side of this table for KTAL Channel 6. What’s it like finding the balance?
It’s tough. You don’t want to be the news all the time. I keep odd hours. This is what I do in my free time. To me, this is fun. This is life. This is living — accomplishing something and working toward goals.
SB: How did you get introduced to pageantry?
I was planning to go to LA Tech for soccer, then injured my knee and couldn’t run. My identity was wrapped up in sports. At that point, I decided I would just say yes to everything and compete at Miss Tech. I didn’t do very well, but I kept going. A few years later I got lucky at Miss Louisiana America and placed in top 5. It was a transformation from this 19-year-old girl that wasn’t really sure of life to being an independent, female warrior woman.
SB: We know you’re pretty stylish. Who are some of your favorite brands and designers?
I love Ralph Lauren — it’s clean and classic, and I’m actually named Lauren because of that brand. Christian Siriano — I am major Project Runway addict. Brandon and Kentaro (from this season) are my mom and I’s favorite. Ayana, too. I love her stuff.
SB: What do you think secured your win?
Authenticity. It was my fifth time competing and I went into it knowing I will never compete for this title again. It was a now or never moment — and I think that came across. Every time I was on stage I was living for that moment.
SB: What’s your biggest piece of advice you’d give to your 19-year-old self?
Just do it. Impossible is nothing — that’s become my motto. If you can’t accomplish it or you’re not smart enough or not talented enough, it’s possible. Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Fail? Get up. I’m 27. I have a whole life to live. I feel so lucky. You don’t know what’s going to happen. At 19, if I could have seen this, I don’t think I would have believed it.