Lauren Gerik is the daughter of John and Molly (Dvorak) Gerik and proudly represented Texas at the 2021 Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant. Her Czech heritage comes from both sides of her family, including the villages of Trebanice in the Prachatice District of Southern Bohemia, Horni Sloupnice in the Pardubice District of Eastern Bohemia, and Hukvaldy in the Frydek-Místek District of Northern Moravia. The 19-year-old is a native Texan and currently resides in Abbott, Texas.
Lauren is currently a sophomore English major at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She is on track to graduate in 2024 with her master’s degree in English, as well as her secondary teaching certification. She plans to become a high school English teacher.
Lauren has held a Czech-Slovak royalty title since 2019, being crowned Czech Heritage Society Miss McLennan-Hill Czech-Slovak in October 2019 and Czech Heritage Society Miss Texas Czech-Slovak in February 2020. Although being somewhat limited by the COVID pandemic, during her prior reigns Lauren appeared at an assisted living center in an authentic kroj, attended a polka mass, and visited numerous events and festivals throughout the state. Lauren also participated in the Parade of Authentic Czech Costumes at Westfest, where she modeled an authentic kroj from the village of Kunovice in Moravia. She is looking forward to modeling her own authentic kroj this year at the festival.
Lauren has been cultivating and demonstrating her love for the Czech culture and traditions her entire life. Since Lauren was 7 years old, she has been an active member of KJZT, a Czech-Catholic organization that originated in Texas. This year at the KJZT annual summer camp, Lauren was invited to give a presentation on kraslice and to lead the campers in decorating their own craft eggs. When she was 9 years old, Lauren joined Sokol West and began as a Level 1 gymnast, working her way through several levels and competing at numerous Southern District Slet competitions throughout the years. While in high school, she worked as an instructor. As an instructor, she coached at Slet, helped with the annual Westfest performance, and volunteered at the Sokol West booth at Westfest. In addition, Lauren has learned about and actively practiced many Czech traditions throughout her life, such as kolache baking with her family, making homemade sausage and sauerkraut with her grandfather and cousins, learning Czech prayers and sayings, attending Czech film presentations, and polka dancing.
Lauren modeled an authentic replica of a traditional kroj from the village of Trebanice in the Prachatice district of Southern Bohemia. All materials used to construct the kroj came from the Czech Republic, and several pieces, such as the scarf, apron, vest, handkerchief, and caplet, were created there. The remainder of the kroj was constructed locally in West, Texas by seamstress Maggie Grmela. The kroj reflects her Bohemian heritage with its rich fabrics and V-cut scarf and vest, which is unique to Bohemian kroje. Lauren was proud to be awarded the Authentic Kroj award during the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant.
For her talent, Lauren performed a selection on her keyboard entitled, “Largo” from Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. Lauren chose this piece because the Bohemian composer shares the family name Dvorak. She was proud to play a piece that not only demonstrates her love of music, but her love of the Czech culture.
Lauren is deeply honored to be chosen as Miss Czech-Slovak US 2021-2022 and is ecstatic to begin this incredible journey. She looks forward to traveling the country, continuing to promote, learn about, and deepen her passion for the Czech and Slovak cultures. Lauren is incredibly grateful for all the pageant sponsors, especially her primary sponsor, the Czech Heritage Society of Texas. She appreciates the support of her family and friends, as well as so many others she has met along the way. She is very gracious for this opportunity and cannot wait to see all that the year brings!