Miss Virginia USA 2007

Lauren Barnette

In the Fall of 2008, Lauren moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in Acting, Television Hosting, and Modeling. She loves California and is doing great!

Graduate of Virginia Polytechnic and State University
Degree in Communications with a concentration in Psychology

Lauren is from the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia, and has lived in Wise all her life. She has two older brothers and an enormous extended family with more cousins than she can nearly count. Having such a large and supportive family has been a great encouragement and blessing in Lauren's life, not only in her pursuit to become MISS VIRGINIA USA® and soon MISS USA®, but in her career and life goals as well.

Lauren's genuine love for interacting and connecting with people lead her to naturally choose Communications as her major study at Virginia Tech. Studying Broadcast Journalism and Psychology has developed a broad awareness, understanding, and an ability to communicate with people from all walks of life.

She is a member of The National Scholars Honor Society, active in the Virginia Tech Leadership Program, PRSSA- Public Relations Student Society of America, Best Buddies VT Chapter, and is a member of flag football and dodge ball intramural sports teams. Lauren also assists Coach Frank Beamer with football recruitment activities.

"During my leisure time, I sincerely enjoy modeling, parasailing, snorkeling, travel, volunteering, and spending time with my family and friends."

"I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of people everyday, and I believe that it is paramount that my actions speak as loudly as my words."

Creating a positive impact for Virginia through volunteering, Lauren has spent many hours supporting the following organizations.

• Best Buddies Virginia
• Best Buddies: Virginia Tech Chapter
• National Kidney Foundation
• RAM – Remote Area Medical Program
• CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates
• Beth Foundation
• Safe Kid's Coalition

Lauren's personal story of tragedy and ultimate triumph has been a motivating factor in her desire to make a difference through volunteering, especially with children.

When Lauren began her bicycle ride to her great-grandmother's house at the age of 12 the seventh grader didn't consider wearing protective gear. She had never had an accident and it didn't cross her mind. Sadly, Lauren did not make it to her great-grandmothers that evening and her life was altered forever.

Riding in the dark on a newly paved road and down a steep incline without protective bicycle gear proved nearly fatal for Lauren. Not being able to see the road well enough to discern the pavement from the ditch, she ran into the ditch and was slung over the handlebars and knocked unconscious. Lauren eventually awoke and found her way back home dazed, bloody, and in great pain.

After receiving medical attention, she was left with physical scars on her nose, lip, chin and chest. Unfortunately, Lauren learned during her recuperation that people often judge a person's external appearance rather harshly. The difficulties she experienced after her accident caused emotional scars that affected her self esteem as well as her confidence. With the support of her family and true friends Lauren was able to move beyond the scars she felt inside to be the confident woman she is today.

Lauren still has a few small physical scars from that tragic accident, but it serves her in a wonderful way as she connects with people young and old that deal with a plethora of adversities as well as those who are fortunate to not have suffered through such events.

Lauren was a TOP 10 Finalist at MISS USA 2007 and she earned a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Virginia Tech in May of 2008.