mstennNASHVILLE, Tenn. (7/2/14) — 2014 Ms Tennesee United States and Madisonville native Lauren Wallace will arrive in Washington, D.C. today for the Ms United States Pageant.

“I don't think I'll ever feel prepared. You always wonder, 'Did I do enough? Did I prepare enough?'” Wallace said. “I'm trying to have as much confidence as I can.”

Still, Wallace is optimistic.

“I think once I get there tomorrow, everything will be fine. I'm sure I'll make lots of new friends. It'll be a great experience for me,” she said in a Monday evening interview.

According to Wallace, pageants are much more difficult than most people would assume.

“It's so much more than just putting on a gown or a swimsuit and walking on stage. I've prepared so hard for this. It's emotional, mental,” Wallace said. “You have to educate yourself with current events. The interview process is stressful.  It's hard work. It's like working two jobs.”

Wallace's first job is as a nurse in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

“It's a tough job to have, with sick, sick, sick kids.,” Wallace said.

The two jobs did collide when Wallace had the opportunity to volunteer at the hospital as Ms Tennessee.

“They have a Queen for a Day program, and we're there as queens and the kids can dress up as princesses. It was so much fun to interact with them not as a nurse,” Wallace said.

Though she enjoys the work she does as Ms Tennessee, Wallace remains grounded.

“I've never been a pageant girl,” Wallace said. “I've been an athlete and never really had any interest in it until my mid-20s, until a family friend encouraged me. She said I had the look for it. I got to a point in my life where I was feeling stagnant, and I wanted to try something new.”

Since becoming Ms Tennessee in April, Wallace has given her time to charity and volunteer work.

“We have a platform that we promote. My platform is raising awareness for human trafficking,” Wallace said.

It was a mission trip to El Salvador that first brought her in contact with victims of human trafficking, Wallace stated, but her cause is closer to home.

“It's not just in other countries. It's right here under our noses,” Wallace said. “In Nashville, I became involved with End Slavery Tennessee. I'm trying to get donations. We put together survivor kits. The first day they get off the street, they have nothing. The kits have hygiene items, food, all the things they need that first day and first night.”

One of Tennessee's most prevalent human trafficking areas is on the route from Nashville to Madisonville.

“Clarksville has one of the highest rates in Tennessee because of the Army base,” Wallace said. “You don't want to think about our soldiers being involved in this. You don't want to think that it's our teenagers and runaways being sucked up into this life. It's hard to get out of once you're in it. It takes a lot of work.”

According to Wallace, the support she has received from her hometown has been great. She grew up in Madisonville and graduated from Madisonville North Hopkins High School.

“Madisonville has been my biggest support through this. It's amazing to see how many people from my childhood give donations and write the Facebook comments and support me. It's just so wonderful to have those people behind me. Nashville's a bigger city, obviously. I have support here. But the people from my childhood, the people I grew up with, are my biggest support,” Wallace said. “It's been great to reconnect with people. It's great to be from a town that continues to care for their children no matter where they go on to in life.”

Those who want to support her should consider voting for her in the contest for the most photogenic contestant, Wallace stated.

“I have my own Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/mstenneseeus. They can go there, click on the picture, and it should take them right there, and they can click 'vote,” Wallace said.

The public can also vote through the pageant's official website, www.missunitedstates.com. Voting will end July 5.

Ami Clayton
SurfKY News Reporter

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
1 DOW 17,826.30
-279.47 (-1.54%)    
2 S&P 2,081.18
-23.81 (-1.13%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,931.81
-75.98 (-1.52%)    
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 13, 2015 6166

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 4865

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 4140

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 16, 2015 3351

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 11, 2015 2971

Juvenile Injured When Struck by Vehicle

by Madisonville Police

Most Read This Month

March 18, 2015 10052

UPDATE: Hanson Man Located in Henderson, Taken to…

by Trooper Stu Recke
April 02, 2015 8437

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 17, 2015 4140

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 18, 2015 2523

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 17, 2015 1121

Madisonville Police Reports Released

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 17, 2015 1076

Two Charged in Connection with Powderly Firearms…

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 958

Police Officers Building Up Community by Helping…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 863

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 593

'The Bidding is On' at Annual Library Auction

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 532

Free Seedling Plantings Available While Supplies…

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 524

Brown Pitches Baseball to Series Opener over…

by UK Athletics