Lynz Parks competed in her first beauty pageant at age 15. The pageant was part of the Miss American Coed System, and she won both the Speech and Patriotic Wear Modeling competitions. “I also made the top 15 for the state title,” says Parks, a nail tech at Bella Donna Boutique in Sun Prairie, Wis., and a CND Education Ambassador. “After that, I was hooked and competed on average in two pageants a year.” Since that first competition 16 years ago, Parks has held an impressive number of titles: three local, four state, two national, and one international title — and she is currently serving as Mrs. Wisconsin US Continental 2017. 

Pageant judges, says Parks, typically look for someone who is confident and well spoken. “Having a heart for others and being active in their community are also very important,” she notes. “The girls are often community volunteers, class valedictorians, and have a calling to change the world.” Rather than feeling competitive, she considers her fellow contestants friends. “The girls you compete with become family. I have pageant sisters all over the U.S. from my years of competing,” she says.

For Parks, the highlight of the pageant is the eveningwear portion. “That’s the time you get your Cinderella moment in the spotlight in the evening gown of your dreams,” she says. “I also enjoy the interview segment and spend the majority of my time preparing for it. It truly is a skill to be able to lead the interview and show the judges your personality and accomplishments in two minutes.”

Her platform — and a subject dear to her heart — is “giving infertility a voice.” She started a blog (www.voicesofinfertility.com) in hopes of breaking the silence surrounding infertility by providing a platform to share stories highlighting the differences in every infertility journey and offering resources for friends and family of those dealing with infertility.

“Competition has taught me professionalism, leadership skills, crisis management, work ethic, responsibility, independence, and how to communicate effectively with all types of people,” she says.

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