Person 2 Person: Miss Utah 2016, Lauren Wilson

Miss Utah 2016 with crown.jpg
Miss Utah 2016 with crown.jpg

(KUTV) Lauren Wilson is the current Miss Utah. She will give up her crown to a new title holder on Saturday, June 17th.

"It's nothing I ever saw myself doing," Wilson said of her reign as Miss Utah. "I was never the little girl that aspired to be a princess when I grew up."

She decided to compete in the Miss Pleasant Grove pageant last minute, and competed three times before winning the title of Miss Utah.

But getting into pageants wasn't natural for Wilson. She had to practice walking in heels, get make-up lessons, and more.

"I had no idea what I was doing," she said.

Wilson is a dancer which she says is "one of the girliest things you can do." But she is also a self-proclaimed "tom boy."

Outside of dance, she was always in t-shirts and jeans, grew up with two brothers, and was surrounded by sports.

Once Wilson decided to compete, she had to pick a platform.

Two days before her first Miss Pleasant Grove orientation, she lost her best friend to suicide.

"It completely threw me for a loop," she said. "It was something I never expected I would have to deal with and something I didn't know a lot about."

So she decided to make her platform all about suicide awareness and prevention.

"That truly has been the most rewarding part about being involved in pageants is having the opportunity to educate those on warning signs, the resources that are out there, and really just share why I care so much about suicide prevention and hopefully helping people along the way," she said.

Along with being Miss Utah comes the opportunity to compete in the Miss America pageant.

"It was very long, it was very tiring," Wilson said of the competition. "But nothing has ever compared to walking out onto the Miss America stage for the first time."

When she walked out onto that stage, she felt the huge responsibility of representing the state of Utah.

"It was at that moment that I decided I need to do the absolute best I can," Wilson said.

There is also a lot of pressure that comes with just wearing the crown associated with Miss Utah.

"You just don't realize how many people are actually watching you, especially little girls, those little girls that do want a tiara and do want to be a princess one day. And you have to keep that in mind that you are an example to them," she said.

Wilson will soon be giving up her crown on June 17th.

"I'm at the point where I've been competing for so long, this is just a part of who I am," said Wilson of the end of her reign. "But I am ready to kind of start moving on with normal life again and being able to make decisions for myself on my schedule and things like that. So it is very bittersweet, but I would definitely say more bitter than sweet."

So what's next for Wilson?

During this last year, she has come to love speaking in public.

"I love being put on the spot and seeing how I handle tough situations and talking to people, so something in the public eye I would love to do," Wilson said.

Miss Utah week kicks off Monday, June 12th. There are events going on all week. For more on the Miss Utah pageant, visit its website.

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