Receiving the title Miss Auburn University 2019 in her freshman year was an unexpected blessing for Lauren Bradford. Although she was surprised, she knew she had put in the work and did not let anything hold her back.
For Bradford, being Miss Auburn University was not just about winning a pageant. Bradford said it was a yearlong job of serving the Auburn community and students.
Bradford said Shine Prom was her favorite activity she was a part of. This was a prom for people with special needs of all ages in the community.
After receiving the local title of Miss AU, she was able to advance in competing for Miss Alabama. She competed in 2019 and placed third runner-up.
“This was a dream come true for me,” she said.
Bradford was content with her placement and did not get discouraged. She continued preparing to compete for Miss Alabama again.
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Bradford has since received the title Miss Jefferson County 2020–21. Representing Jefferson County for two years was not in her original plan.
Because of COVID-19, she gets to represent and serve the community longer.
When Bradford got the email saying the Miss Alabama 2020 pageant was postponed until June of 2021, she was shocked. She quickly had to reevaluate her summer plans.
“I am not in control of so many things, but I can make the most of what I am in control of,” she said.
In preparation for Miss Alabama 2021, Bradford said she hopes to continue growing her social impact initiative called “Unplug: The Digital Dining Plan.” She created this when she was 15 to “encourage and educate others about the overuse of technology and what it does to our relationships and mental health.”
Bradford encouraged Auburn University Dining and the Active Minds club to partner to make her idea happen. She plans to add family-style tables with a basket on top in dining halls.
“Students will have the option to put their phones in the basket while they share a meal with their friends,” she said.
If they choose to participate, the students will be rewarded.
Along with growing her initiative, she said, “I plan to do a lot of spiritual growth to make sure I am intentional with the time I have left at Auburn and participate in more service opportunities.”
Essentially, her main goal is to become Miss Alabama.
She said she wants to “show the world what Alabama is all about.” Auburn University has helped her continue reaching for that goal both professionally and personally.
Her title as Miss Auburn University has been passed down, but Bradford continues to represent Auburn and her hometown, Gulf Shores, Alabama, well.
Bradford is a finance major in the Harbert College of Business. She is a part of the college’s Executive Society where she takes prospective students on tours.
Bradford understands what it feels like to have so much hard work and commitment quickly taken away.
For any student going through uncertainty right now, she said, “always see an opportunity and not a lack of opportunity when things get taken away.”
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