Newly crowned Miss America Lauren Nelson has only worn the winning sash for two weeks and looks toward traveling some 20,000 miles a month as America's role model. And what keeps her going is her faith.
"I grew up in church," Nelson told the United Methodist Service. "I was baptized in the Methodist Church and have gone since I was a baby."
Nelson, 20, grew up in Lawton, Okla., and is a member of Centenary United Methodist Church. She has competed in pageant since she was 16, mainly aspiring to become a Broadway performer. After winning her local city pageant and the state pageant to become Miss Teen Oklahoma, Nelson generated scholarship money for college and went on to the Miss America competition.
"I watched Miss America as a little girl and never thought that I could be one of the contestants in Miss America, much less Miss America herself," she said, according to UMNS.
Nelson, who has taken one year off from school at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond to compete, has won a $50,000 scholarship and is now taking another year off, traveling 20,000 miles this month and the following months.
In the midst of the busy schedule she is anticipating, Nelson said, "sometimes I am going to doubt myself, but I have to realize that God would not have put me in this position if He did not know that I could handle it."
As Miss America, Nelson believes she is representing "a strong role model," which is what society needs. And she hopes her Christian faith will show through her actions and the choices she makes.
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