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Living My Best Life Tour: By The Way, I'm A Pageant Queen!

You read it right. I, Calynn M. Lawrence, decided to give the pageant life a go. After being encouraged to try it for over a year by a dear friend, La'Sonya Alexander, I finally was convinced that it was something I was worthy of. All this time, I had thought of myself as the girl who stood on the sidelines and cheered everyone else on, while I had my own successes behind the scenes. Given, I do get a lot of press from being a media personality, but I never quite thought of myself as the Barbie Doll, Perfect Patty, cookie-cutter stereotype who wins a pageant. And, guess what? I'm still not. I may be a new pageant queen, but I'm still just as real, just as fun, just as ME as I ever was, and that will change for nothing.

I currently hold the regional title Ms. Northern US 2019 in the American Elegance pageant system. At the end of October, I'll be competing at Nationals for the national title, Ms. American Elegance 2020. This pageant system is very unique, so unique that it was enough to convince me that I wouldn't just be judged on how my appearance measured up to a supermodel or how "good" I look in a swimsuit. Rather, I would be judged on who I am inside and what I do for others. That's a far fetch from your stereotypical "beauty" pageant, and I LOVE IT! Thank you to them for providing such a great opportunity for women like me who are passionate about the mark they leave on this earth with their service.

What's my platform? My platform is very much in line with what I've always stood for and believed in. I am advocating for more creative-arts education and career training opportunities for the nation's youth. Why? Because this will help the world in several areas. If we do this, we can reduce the college drop out rate because students won't be enrolling in university (or a program at university) that they don't truly want to pursue. It will better the economy because it will lower the amount of student debt (and people not being able to pay it from dropping out or lack of jobs), as well as open up the opportunity for more job creation and more small businesses. It will result in a happier adult population because more people will be doing what they love, and not what they're told they should do. These are some of many reasons that I've chosen and stand by this platform mission.

I've already begun my service work as a regional titleholder. So far, I've completed two service missions. The first was a volunteer experience with Ronald McDonald House Charities near Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. I purchased, packed and donated 20 bags of art supplies for the families to enjoy. Everything from pens, pencils, crayons, markers, paint, paintbrushes and large canvases was included! As a mixed media artist, I wanted to provide them with options. We had a great time with staff, George. Their Regional Marketing Director, Julie, is also great! I look forward to working more with  Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

The second service project that I completed was donating two bags of books to The Bridge Teen Center and their store The Bridge Thrift Store. I went to three different stores purchasing a bunch of Young Adult Best Sellers that I thought the teens would enjoy! This included some of my old favorites like "Pretty Little Liars" series, "The Clique" series, "Hunger Games" series and "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series and more!

So far, I am loving this adventure! I can't wait to see what other grand opportunities for community service and partnership will arise from my reign. As you guys know, making a difference has been a huge part of my bucket list forever. I think this will truly help me continue in my work to contribute to positive change. With anything, you guys know I'm gonna give it my best shot! Talk about a grand addition to my Living My Best Life Tour!

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