Ball Gowns & Crowns
Lauren Hughes Talks Mrs. Indiana International & Competing for the Mrs. International Title In July
Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Lauren Hughes is suddenly finding herself in a world full of gowns, sparkles, glitz and glamour. The beauty has all the makings of a pageant queen. She’s tall, fit and trim, she has long, beautiful chestnut flowing hair and perfect makeup. But as glamorous as she is, it’s obvious after spending just a few moments with her that she’s much more than ball gowns and crowns.
Hughes, a Carmel resident, didn’t grow up being involved in pageants all her life. She actually stumbled onto it one day after she and her family moved to Indiana. Born and raised near Toledo, Ohio, Hughes left the Buckeye state to go to school at Arizona State University. She went to school, met her husband there, they started their family and stayed 15 years. They moved back to the Midwest when her job as a Client Relations Manager brought her here. Her husband’s job also fell into place in Indiana.
A very social person, Hughes was eager to meet people. Since she was a cheerleader when she was a child, she had the idea to try out to become an Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader. During the audition process, she noticed articles on the bulletin board about women in pageants. She decided to give it a closer look. After doing her research, she found Mrs. Indiana America, and that’s where she started.
She found that the pageants truly celebrate married women and their accomplishments personally and professionally. She also noticed that a big platform of the pageant was community service. That’s how she got connected with the American Heart Association (AHA).
“It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Hughes says. “My family, on both sides, has a history of heart disease, including my mom and dad.”
She volunteers at many of the AHA events, and she serves as a Social Media Ambassador.
Recently, Hughes was named the 2019 Mrs. Indiana International. Through that pageant, she went through personal interviews, a swimsuit competition, an evening gown competition, and on-stage interviews. From there, she entered the Mrs. International competition, promoting her platform of heart health and healthy living.
“Both the Mrs. America and Mrs. International pageants promote and empower women’s interests,” Hughes says. “I’ve been blessed to meet so many positive women who’ve become my closest friends. It’s about more than just competition. We support and encourage one another. I’m honored to be part of it.”
One thing stands out about the Mrs. International competition, and that’s how the pageant incorporates family. The system promotes married women and their accomplishments, and through that, it celebrates the commitment to family and marriage. The competition’s website emphasizes how the pageant gives the women the opportunity to work with their husbands and families to become positive role models. Hughes engages her children in the cause as well.
“My kids get involved in the Go Red for Women for the AHA, and they have to commit to drinking no sugar drinks,” she says. “They’ve raised lots of money getting donations from friends and family. Employers match the contributions too. The best part is how my son has started asking about healthy foods and why it’s important.”
The Mrs. International Pageant takes place the week of July 15 in Charleston, West Virginia, at the West Virginia Culture Center and State Museum Center. During the week, Hughes will have the opportunity to meet more than 70 women from over 12 countries and learn all about their culture and customs. Contestants will go through interviews, a fitness wear competition, do an opening number and the evening gown competition. The ladies will also attend a tea at the governor’s mansion where they will present a gift to the governor that is representative of their state.
Even more meaningful is how husbands are included in part of the show. They proudly escort their wives on to the stage during the evening gown competition. The winner of the title makes her husband the lucky winner too because he gets to crown his wife. Not only will Hughes’ husband be with her during the pageant week, but their kids and her sister-in-law will be attending.
“I couldn’t do this without my husband,” she says. “He’s my best friend and he’s so supportive of this whole venture.”
Also supportive of Lauren’s venture are her generous sponsors.
“I can’t thank my sponsors enough for believing in me and making this all happen,” she says.
Some of her sponsors include Stirling Capital, Ltd., Nutrient Rich Life.org, stylist Jen Allen w/ Stella & Dot, Lorena Somers Makeup and Jason Gaskins Photography.
The preparations will have Hughes busy all the way up until the July pageant. She’ll continue to work as a Client Relations Manager and continue her work for the AHA. She’ll be making platform videos and platform handouts that incorporate her message of heart health too.
For example, one of the videos will demonstrate a comparison of the salt content in different beans. She’ll also be engaging the help of her make-up artist, stylist and dietician.
“My dietitian is one of my sponsors,” Hughes says. “Together we want to spread our message about eating healthier and using healthier ingredients to cook the same foods you love to eat.”
Whether she wins or not, Hughes is committed to continuing her work with the AHA.
“After that year, I’ll stay part of the group, going around the circuit doing speaking engagements encouraging people to take control of their heart health, learn CPR and volunteer,” she says.
Follow Lauren’s journey and send her well wishes on Facebook, Twitter at @MrsIndyIntl2019 and Instagram at @mrsindianainternational2019.