Confessions of a Beauty Queen
Lauren Lanning represents Houston as Miss Texas USA
A tomboy at heart, Miss Texas USA Lauren Lanning moved to Houston 15 years ago.
Architectural know-how in building forts as a child transformed into a distinctive eye for fashion as an adult. An affinity for running around with the neighbors has morphed into a disciplined work-out routine – and a sincere commitment to health. Lanning is the girl next door – approachable, amiable and energetic – yet this Houstonian is a bit different from your everyday neighbor: She’s competing to bring home the Miss USA crown on April 21.
Lanning started competing in beauty pageants about five years ago. Since then, she’s become quite the success story with a number of titles under her belt, including Miss Bay Area Teen USA, Miss Bay Area USA, Miss Houston USA and, of course, Miss Texas USA. “My family thought it would be really great for me and might possibly build up my self-esteem if I entered (a beauty pageant),” she says. “I entered my first pageant because my mom had a great opportunity through her hospital. All the contestants that entered had the opportunity to raise money for a charity. I ended up entering, and, much to my surprise, I won!”
After tip-toeing into the pageant limelight, the whole Lanning family jumped on the bandwagon. Incidentally, Lanning’s lovely younger sister, Taylor, is now part of the beauty pageant circuit, as well – she currently reigns as Miss Houston Teen USA and won third runner-up for Miss Texas Teen USA. Extremely supportive of her daughters’ pursuits, Dianne Lanning is always eager to help, waiting in the wings to let her girls have the light.
Shining a positive light on the Houston area, Miss Texas USA is proud of her home and honored to represent the city she loves so much. “The Miss Houston USA pageant is the largest preliminary pageant in the United States; it is a very difficult pageant to win,” she reveals. “I felt very proud to represent Houston at Miss Texas USA and ultimately bring the crown home to this great city!” Showing a true pride, Lanning divulges that her favorite Houstonian is actually the mayor. “I believe Mayor Bill White has accomplished so much while he has been in this leadership position,” she says. “He had many great goals for the city of Houston before he was elected, and it is nice to see him putting his plans into action. I really have a lot of respect for him and am very excited to see where he will take Houston in the future!”
Lanning’s future is as bright as the lights under which she competes. Spending thousands of hours volunteering each year, as Miss Texas USA, Lanning has served as a goodwill ambassador throughout the city and the state. “Most of the things I do are with the Shriners and the Masons, especially the Masonic Lodge of Sugar Land,” she says. “You will always find me at the burn center in Galveston, the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Ronald McDonald House in Houston, or the Shriners children’s hospital. I love kids, and I enjoy having the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.”
Not only that, but the Lanning sisters have founded a charity that benefits the Nellie B. Connally Breast Cancer Center at M.D. Anderson. “Coins for the Cure is a non-profit organization that I started with my sister to help raise money for the prevention, detection and a cure for breast cancer,” she says. “Because I have had four generations of breast cancer in my family, I really have a passion for educating the public about this disease – and I can really speak from the heart because I have personally seen the effects it can cause.” Regularly working speaking engagements about breast cancer and the need for early detection into her busy schedule of supporting the charities of the Miss Texas USA organization, Lanning truly believes that the cure for breast cancer is just around the corner.
Additionally, Lanning hopes to launch a career in public relations or broadcast journalism in the professional sports field. Studying communications with a specialization in radio and television, she should graduate from college in two years. “I just simply love sports! I understand them very well, and part of that is because my dad is a huge sports buff,” she explains. “I have just grown up around the sports arena, and I developed a love for them early on.”
Her everyday life is active, as well. Lanning works out with a trainer and at a gym to keep her body in peak form, but she tries not to take her diet too seriously. “I really just try to watch my intake of food, drink plenty of water, and I will have a protein shake or two during the day, as well,” she says of preparing for the upcoming pageant. “I will keep a positive mindset, surround myself with people who believe in me and support my goals, and continue to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Miss Texas USA truly believes in making a difference every day. “It is the most exhilarating feeling knowing that I influenced someone in a positive way, especially children,” she asserts. “I love kids, and can’t wait to have some of my own one day, but there is nothing better than helping them to feel good about themselves and telling them to follow their dreams.”