NEW HAVEN — A New Haven woman will be among the 20 contestants vying for the title of Miss West Virginia this weekend. The pageant will begin Sunday at Fairmont State University and end with the crowning on Tuesday.
Lauren Roush, a 19-year-old West Virginia University student, will be one of the youngest in the competition. She is the daughter of Jamie and Becky Roush, of New Haven.
Although the actual competition does not start until Sunday, Lauren left for Fairmont on Tuesday morning. She said the days leading up to the pageant will be spent learning various production numbers. The talent competition will be held Sunday, the swimsuit competition will be Monday, and the event will climax Tuesday with the crowning.
Lauren earned a spot as a contestant by first winning the title of “Miss Mountain State.” She is quick to point out that the Miss West Virginia pageant is not a beauty contest.
“A lot of people think pageants are just beauty contests, but they aren’t,” Lauren emphasized. “The Miss West Virginia pageant is a scholarship organization and the winner, after taking a year off school for public appearances, gets her schooling paid.”
Lauren said a lot of time and preparation goes into a pageant, plus a lot of money. She said just the bathing suits for the swimwear portion of the competition can reach $500. Lauren said she was fortunate that her swimsuit was sponsored.
Evening gowns and talent competition attire are required at the pageant, as well. Lauren took three evening gowns tailored just for her, as well as a specially designed mountaineer outfit that she will be wearing while performing her talent.
“Talent accounts for 35 percent of the competition,” Lauren said. “While most of the girls are singing or dancing, I will be rifle twirling.” She was recently chosen as a member of the WVU Color Guard.
Lauren’s platform is “Donate Life: Give So Others Can Live,” and it holds a special place in her heart. Lauren wrote in her platform essay (in part): “My life has been personally touched by the generous gift of organ donation. On April 14, 1998, my aunt Rachel, who suffered from a chronic autoimmune disease, underwent a liver transplant that saved her life. I was an infant at the time, and would have never known Rachel if not for the extraordinary generosity of the anonymous donor and her family. It is because of them that my aunt has had the opportunity to lead a productive and healthy life, and it is because of them that I was blessed with growing up having her as a part of my life. Rachel has been with me for every milestone in my life for one simple reason: the remarkable gift of life through organ donation that was given to my family.”
A 2013 Wahama High School graduate, Lauren is majoring in secondary education at WVU, where she is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. With many accomplishments under her belt, Lauren has most recently been modeling. She is in the current edition of Pageantry Magazine, Fashion Showcase Edition; is a print model for JVN by Jovani; and has been a runway model at various events.
Lauren will have her own cheering section at the Miss West Virginia pageant, including her parents; grandparents Donna and Gary Northup and Sonya Roush; great-grandmother Mary Cook; aunt Rachel Tyo; college roommate Teirria Duffy; Wyatt Zuspan; and cousin Kaylee Maynard, who will participate in the Monarch Miss mentoring program at the pageant. Anyone wishing to attend can purchase tickets at the door.