OU junior reaches top 10 of Miss USA pageant, says dance taught her discipline
OU junior and former Miss Oklahoma Lauren Lundeen placed in the top 10 in the June 3 Miss USA pageant. Lundeen said studying dance at the university taught her discipline in her life.
Lundeen said she has learned a lot during her journey from Miss Oklahoma in November to the Miss USA pageant in June.
“With being a full time student and going out and doing appearances while also training for the pageant, I learned a lot about time management,” Lundeen said.
Through duties that come with being Miss Oklahoma, Lauren found there were certain things she had to let go of in order to keep her education and training as priorities.
“I couldn't quite do the things that most of my friends were doing like date parties, OU athletic games or be involved on campus like I was last year,” Lundeen said. “Every incredible blessing and opportunity comes with a sacrifice, but I knew it would be one worth taking.”
Lundeen is a human relations and modern dance dual major. Dance played a major role in shaping her into the woman she is today, she said.
"Dance has taught me discipline in every area of my life,” Lundeen said. “(OU dance professors) Austin Hartel and Derrick Minter are valuable people in my life who not only taught me dance steps but how to be an extraordinary person both in the dance studio and outside of the studio.”
Jack Renfroe, health and exercise junior and Lundeen's boyfriend, said she impacts people she meets.
“If I had to describe Lauren in one word, I would have to pick understanding,” Renfroe said. “I think it really shows the person she is because she is non-judgmental and open to other people and ideas.”
The effect she had on people became clear after the Miss USA pageant.
“I got to see her after the pageant,” Renfroe said. “People from backstage and security guards kept coming up to her and saying, 'You are incredible, you changed my life.' Literally 10 to 15 people came up to her and did that. She got know them on a personal level.”
Karen Renfroe, Jack's mother and Lundeen’s mentor, said she's very proud of Lundeen.
“Lauren embraces life, and she does it one person at a time,” Karen Renfroe said. “Her roots are deep here, and she takes great pride in being an Oklahoman.”
Though the pageant is over, Lundeen will stay busy for a while, Jack Renfroe said.
“A bunch of different organizations asked her to do appearances,” he said. “I’ve watched her speak in front of 2,500 people before, and it was so cool for all these girls to look up to Lauren. It’s right for girls to look up to Lauren.”
Karen Renfroe said Lundeen is the perfect role model for kids today.
“She is quietly showing them that beauty and strength come from within," she said. "She is teaching them to put others first, and she is inspiring them to take action.”
Lundeen said she's leaving her plans open for the future.
“Nothing is set in stone,” she said, “but I am willing to walk through whatever door God opens for me when that time in my life comes.”
“If I could give one piece of advice to young women, it would be to never change who you are for anything or anyone. It is never worth it to lose sight of yourself; too many people love you for that to happen. God made you YOU for a reason."
— Lauren Lundeen, OU junior and former Miss Oklahoma