‘Your Magnificence is the Difference’ - Educator, coach and volunteer takes on one more title: ‘Mrs. Jordan Valley’
Mar 16, 2020 03:18PM
By Alison Brimley
Launa Christiansen with students at her school, Little Learners Academy. Christiansen has been teaching children her entire career. (Photo courtesy Launa Christiansen)
By Alison Brimley | [email protected]
People sometimes ask Launa Christiansen whether she grew up competing in beauty pageants. It’s a fair question.
Besides having the smile and energy of a beauty queen, Christiansen was just named Mrs. Jordan Valley. In March, she’ll compete in the Mrs. Utah pageant, and if she advances, she’ll be eligible for Mrs. America and Mrs. Universe competitions. (Update: event postponed to May 2 due to Coronavirus)
But this is the first pageant for Christiansen, a local business owner and mother of six. And getting her to the stage took a bit of persuading.
Though a friend repeatedly encouraged her to apply, she was not interested. Then she had a change of heart. “I decided to do it to stretch myself to become a better version of myself,” she said.
After her application was accepted, Christiansen was allowed to choose the area of the state she wanted to represent. Because her business serves students from West Jordan, South Jordan and surrounding cities, Christiansen dubbed herself “Mrs. Jordan Valley.”
“I’m honored to represent our city,” she said. “And I love our state. I think we are a state of people who really do live life with their hearts.”
Christiansen is the owner of Little Learners Academy, a school she started more than 20 years ago in her home. Today, Little Learners has its own campus with more than 200 preschool and kindergarten students. The curriculum she writes is used all over the country, and her approach teaches concepts through music, which she said guarantees high levels of retention.
“Even though we’ve gotten big, every child is still educated like I’d like my own children to be educated,” she said.
A second passion of hers is health. Years ago, Christiansen found herself 100 pounds overweight, with “severe health issues” that prevented her from doing the things she wanted to do. She found a program that allowed her to transform her health. “I felt released,” Christiansen said. People wanted to know her secret. She became a health coach and has helped hundreds make similar life changes.
Christiansen also serves on the Board of Directors for Sheroes United, a volunteer organization that fights human trafficking and domestic violence and supports women in the military. Christiansen oversees the domestic violence efforts, supervising volunteers that help people leaving unsafe relationships get back on their feet. She’s also a member of the Mama Dragons, a group that supports mothers of LGBTQ children.
“Everything I do, I do because of my heart,” she said. “If my heart doesn’t call me to it, I don’t do it.”
At first, she saw the pageant as a way for her to stretch and challenge herself. During the application process, she learned that contestants must have a platform. She realized it was more than just an opportunity to change herself but to do good for others as well.
Christiansen sees all of her professional and volunteer efforts united by a single idea: “Your magnificence is the difference.” That became her platform. Her strength is seeing the best—the magnificence—in others. “You can call it rose-colored glasses, you can call it Pollyanna syndrome,” she said. “I would love for people to see themselves the way I see them, but not everybody does.” Her new role allows her to reach a much larger audience with her message.
During the pageant, which takes place March 21 in Ogden, contestants compete in three categories: interview (comprising 50% of the final score), health and wellness (including a swimsuit competition, 25%) and presentation (or “evening gown,” 25%). Though two of these categories do involve physical appearances, Christiansen feels the focus of these events truly is on confidence and “how you take care of yourself.”
“It’s not about what you look like; it’s about what you’re doing,” she said.
Is she nervous about the upcoming opportunities to compete? “I always tell my kids that nervous and excited are the same energy,” she said. She prefers to say she’s excited.