Moon competes for Miss Alabama crown

Lauren Moon, at age 3, said in her “All About Me” kindergarten book, “When I grow up, I want to be a rock.”

At age 24, she wants to be Miss Alabama.

Representing Jacksonville State University, Moon will compete against 47 other contestants for the title at Samford University’s Wright Center June 9 – 12.

“This is my second opportunity as Miss JSU to enter, but my first preliminary for Miss Alabama was the Miss Shelby County pageant,” Moon said.

Moon grew up in Calera. “I began competing in local, state and national pageants when I was 3,” she said.

She credits the experience with teaching her how to interact socially.

“The number one fear among people is public speaking,” Moon said. “By competing in pageants, I’ve learned to be at ease while speaking publicly to effectively share my convictions.”

Her platform is promoting mental health awareness. Moon supports this issue because a close friend went undiagnosed for many years with the disease.

“I watched as my friend struggled for years with depression. People shy away from talking about mental illness, but it shouldn’t be a taboo subject. It must be addressed, especially among teens,” Moon said.

She targets an audience of young teens because she feels this is the most impressionable age. She speaks to them on a mature, peer-to-peer level.

“We must reach them before they get to the point of uncontrolled behavior. They get to make decisions and must have the resources to make good ones,” she said.

Believing pageant programs have been mislabeled as all about beauty, she emphasized talent and interview represent the majority percentage of the score. Though Moon has not won every pageant, she has earned $24,000 in scholarships.

Her parents, Lynn and Denise Moon, have been supportive in every pageant. Denise and Lauren worked on her community service scrapbook as we talked.

“Her father and I have watched Lauren grow into the beautiful young woman you see. Whatever Lauren does, she will have the confidence to pursue her dreams and will be a wonderful leader,” Denise said.

Moon looks forward to talent night when she sings Quando M’en Vo’ and presents her rising star, Alexis Schroeder, daughter of Shane and Cindy Schroeder. Alabama’s Rising Stars is a program of the pageant through which contestants mentor young ladies ages 7-11. They are introduced on-stage and perform a non-competitive group dance routine.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.