Grace Cockrell, Staff Writer
On January 12, ten beautiful, intelligent and classy women stepped onto the stage in Leone Cole Auditorium and gave it their all in the hopes of being crowned Miss Jacksonville State University 2018.
One contestant, Lauren Reaves, impressed the judges the most, not just in one category, but overall. Reaves won the talent portion of the pageant and was ultimately named Miss JSU 2018, following her predecessor, Camden Swatts.
The psychology major is very excited about her upcoming journey, but the road to her title required hard work.
Reaves’ philanthropy platform is Autism Speaks, a national advocacy organization that sponsors research and outreach for those affected by autism and education opportunities for communities, families and government entities.
“I plan to get my Master’s degree in Behavioral Analysis, so I can forever work with children that are on the Autism Spectrum,” Reaves told JSU. “My heart absolutely melts for people with Autism, which is why I love volunteering my time with my platform.”
Reaves’s winning talent performance was a Micheal Jackson rendition on flute. She describes winning the talent category as “so exciting and rewarding.” As a flute player since seventh grade, her work from the past years amounted to something magnificent.
“Winning the whole competition,” Reaves said, “was such a shocking moment. I had no idea I was capable of winning it all.”
Reaves also says how proud she is for being so prepared. For her stage question, she stayed informed with current events while developing her own opinions and articulate thoughts on political matters in order to fully and confidently answer the question that would be given to her.
Her biggest preparation was for the fitness category. She started working with trainer and she put herself on a nutrition plan. She said she continuously disciplined herself by making herself hit the gym even on the days where she did not want to go.
“The overall experience was overwhelming—but in a good way!” Reaves said.
Reaves’ advice to future contestants is to “go for the title. It can be intimidating at first, because of all of preparation required, but you learn so much about yourself, and the whole experience of just competing is so worth it.”
At JSU, Reaves is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and a JSU Ambassador.
Taylor Anne Beckham was named first runner-up; Kelsey Lenard was named second runner-up; Breanna Lucas was named third runner-up, and Courtney Williams was named fourth runner-up at the pageant.