Happy Friday Lady Code!
I am SOO excited to introduce you to Lauren Joy Baranowski, Miss Florida Nationwide 2015. I met Lauren almost two years ago through Vizcaya Swimwear. She has always been such an inspiring and ambitious woman, and I seriously don’t know why I put off featuring her for so long! Lauren stops at nothing to achieve her goals and recently placed first runner up to Miss Nationwide, representing her platform, Dress for Success. Keep Lauren on your radar because this chick is going places.
Tell us about yourself: I’m Lauren Joy Baranowski, 26 years young, your Miss Florida Nationwide! Goal Setter and Achievement Getter best describes my entrepreneurial personality. Having dreams beyond the horizon pushes me to work hard while enjoying the journey.
Hometown: Shark River Hills, New Jersey
Current City: West Palm Beach, Florida
Three words that sum you up: Motivation, Strength, and Openness.
Educational Accomplishments: Currently a student at Palm Beach State College majoring in Business Administration & Management. Graduate of Empire Beauty School 2007.
Professional Accomplishments: Professionally I work in the beauty industry. I started out as a nail technician and make-up artist, then became involved in management, marketing, branding, and product development. Currently I am modeling, representing my pageant title and continuing to build my brand.
Favorite Quote: Anything is possible if you have the courage to make it happen.
Favorite Movie: Eat Pray Love
Favorite Food: I ❤ Ice Cream with Sprinkles of course
Congratulations on winning Miss Florida Nationwide and placing 1st runner up to Miss Nationwide! How did you get involved in pageantry? Thank you! I was introduced to pageantry by the one and only Lisa Opie. I randomly signed up for Vizcaya Swimwear’s Spokes model search a little over a year ago. The competition was set up sort of similar to a pageant and when I met Lisa then I understood why…she was a gorgeous pageant queen! Pageantry seemed intriguing because it was somewhat relative to dance and gymnastics, which I grew up doing. I felt challenged to try it and with Lisa Opie’s encouragement I began. It was a little strange however that prior to meeting Lisa and entering in Vizcaya I kept meeting different pageant titleholders. It has always been around me but sometimes you need that opportunity of enlightenment to see it. I couldn’t be more grateful for this whole experience; pageantry has been such a stable platform to help build my dreams.
Tell us about your experience competing in the Miss Nationwide I was super excited to compete in Miss Nationwide because of the way it allowed all of us to really show our inner beauty and showcase our personalities. My two favorite areas of the competition were our on stage platform statement and the personal expression walk. The platform statement was 90 seconds long and allowed me to speak about my platform, women empowerment. Informing the judges and audience what I stand for and what I do to make a difference. The personal expression walk we chose any kind of outfit that fit our personality. I fell in love with this light pink gown that was huge allowing me to put on a show as I twirled it around on stage! After getting to know all of the other contestants over the weekend and lining up backstage, it was fun to see how everyone’s look fit their personality.
What has been the highlight of being Miss Florida Nationwide so far? Growing up in New Jersey in the snow in the middle of winter made me dream of moving to Florida. I used to say to my parents i am moving to Florida and I’m going to be Miss Florida. I had no idea what I was talking about I just wanted to be warm and craved adventure. Little did I know I would actually become Miss Florida Nationwide! What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. Miss Florida Nationwide has opened so many doors to tons of wonderful opportunities. Having an entrepreneurial mindset helped me because I am always strategizing new ways to get out in our community and make a difference.
Growing up, who was your inspiration? My inspiration has always been my Nana. From the time I was young I always wanted to be like her. Nana was a tall and elegant Russian woman who loved fashion and was a wonderful wife to my Poppop. The way she carried herself would make everyone’s head turn when she entered a room. For hours at a time we would play the piano, build puzzles, and watch my ballet dances. Nana would always strive to keep my mind busy and growing. Her classy manor was infectious; I know she’s watching over me as I make her proud.
What projects do you have going on at the moment? This week I have gone to a few castings for different commercials and print work in Miami. I just cleaned out a storage unit with my charity Dress for Success to set up for our rack sale at the Palm Beach outlets Oct 2nd– 4th. Currently a student I am also studying and working toward my business degree. I’m excited to announce I will be competing in the pageant for Miss Florida Ice coming up in October to represent The Florida Panthers ice hockey team at the BB&T center. Right now it is all about preparation.
You are a very busy girl, what is a typical day like for you? Each day is exciting, challenging and completely different. Some days I get up and run to a casting or shoot and others I spend doing homework. I usually cram in my boxing class at Title Boxing, as this is my new workout obsession. I try to create a balance to get everything done but now is the time in life to push ahead! Luckily I have amazing friends and a very supportive family.
What are some challenges that you faced on your journey to success, and how did you overcome them? Moving to Florida not knowing anyone was a challenge, the only thing I had was a job. I was so determined to make a life in Florida and grow so I persevered. Finding a place to live, getting a car, making friends, and being able to make enough money to survive was tough. It really tested my strength and several times I considered moving back but that would be too easy. Never, Never, Give Up! I’m glad I didn’t, because as I pushed ahead the doors started to open, that’s when I entered into the pageant world and opportunities began to manifest.
Speaking of challenges: Being in the public eye can make you an easy target for cyber bullying and criticism. How do you react to the negativity? I always remind myself of how hard I have worked to get here and how I was raised. I wont let anyone take that away from me! Being in the public eye you have to mentally prepare yourself that this comes with job and never to take anything to heart.
Do you have any advice for our readers who may be victims of bullying? From experience, always stay positive. Take it as a compliment, if someone takes the time and energy to speak badly about you its only because of their own insecurities. Nothing can hurt you if you don’t let it in! Unless of course if someone is trying to harm you then make sure to tell someone and never be afraid to ask for help.
Tell us about your involvement with Dress for Success: Dress for Success provides mentoring and interview attire for disadvantaged women who are ready to enter into the workforce. I am also on the committee of Yes! Palm Beaches (Young Executives For Success), which raises money to directly, benefit Dress For Success. We set up fun networking events for women to come network and make powerful connections with one another. All of the proceeds we raise at these events go to Dress for Success. By doing these kinds of events not only are we able to raise money for the charity but we also are able to accept clothing donations, connect women together and provide new volunteer opportunities. Coming up in October we are having our rack sale at the Palm Beach outlets, then our annual Havana Nights fundraiser in November.
What inspired you to get involved? When I got involved in pageantry it introduced me to many different charities. I wanted to be able to give back but to a cause that I was passionate about. Women Empowerment is my platform and I wanted to find a charity relative. My Miss Florida Nationwide director Michelle Cooper gave me the suggestion of dress for success. Right away I knew they would be perfect. I picked up the phone and I was given a warm welcome. Although I am giving back to our community and improving the lives of many women I cant even begin to tell you how much being involved has given to me.
What can Lady Code readers do in their communities to get involved? Lady Code keep on empowering and sharing support for each other. Dress for Success has 138 affiliates in 18 countries and 6 in Florida so no matter where you might be located you can still get involved. Just contact your local DFS!
In your free time, what do you enjoy doing? Free time????…. Just kidding! I’m always up for an adventure to see new things with my family and friends. The world has so much to offer get out and see it. Although, I do many girly things I could always get on a surfboard, skateboard, or spend the day at a waterpark.
Can you tell us about your 10-year plan? Everything I’m working on now is setting my 10-year plan in motion. I ultimately want to create my own beauty brand. Business, marketing and building a brand from scratch to empower women is what drives me. I aspire to be a successful CEO creating jobs and contributing to the rise of our economy. Most importantly I would wish to have a loving husband and beautiful family.
What motivates you? When I can accomplish something and see how it inspires someone else, it motivates me. I have watched my parents and family work so hard for many years. I want to be able to make them proud and provide them with a nice life they can retire to.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Someone said to me few years ago, “Lauren, when you reach a fork in the road you have to decide whether to continue on the path you know well that is most comfortable or you can venture down the path you aren’t familiar with that could possibly lead to immeasurable success.” From that moment on I applied this to all of my decisions.
Keep up with Lauren:
Facebook: Lauren Joy Baranowski