Miss Florida USA Comes Home to PC

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Winning a title like Miss Florida USA is no small accomplishment. With it come great expectations, something Cristin Duren knows will mean a lot of traveling and a lot of new experiences.

"It's not just a crown and a banner and you go home and you wait till the next year to come back and crown the next girl," says Duren. "You have so many more opportunities and to better yourself and that they provide you with, to represent the organization. They take you to a nationally-televised pageant where you're meeting celebrities and it's just a completely different opportunity between the people that you'll meet and the experiences and how you'll grow as a person. I think this time next year, when I come out of it, I think I'll be a very different person in some aspect I'll have gained a lot and grown a lot."

It helps to have a set of supportive parents who will make sacrifices so you can achieve your dreams.

"They have been a great influence. They are my biggest cheerleaders, especially my dad. He's a cheerleader by nature, but he is definitely my biggest fan. They are always there supporting me, emotionally as well as physically being there in the audience cheering as loud as they can, and I was a little worried about having to take some time off, I called my dad and said, 'Dad, I might have to go back on your payroll for a little while, how do you feel about that? Find me some work dad,' but he's really comforting; he and my mom both realize how much of an opportunity this is and they want me to be able to take advantage of it, so I'm really lucky to have parents like this."

As for being back home, Cristin says it's nice to get a home-cooked meal after being at college for four years and on her own for two more.

"It's a lot different than high school, but it's good to be back and to see my parents on a day to day basis. I didn't see them too often when I was working. I'm really hoping to catch up with some friends and my old Principal Mr. Husfelt and B.K. Hopefully I can catch up with them this weekend. It's good to be back."

What about the future when she's no longer Miss Florida?

Cristin says she's exploring a lot of things, including modeling and acting.

"I think my dream job would be to host Entertainment Tonight or something like that. I have lots of ideas of what I'd like to be doing but as far as exactly what I'm not really sure. I'm just going to wait and see what plays out, and if all else fails I can always go back to selling pharmaceuticals I guess, that was a great career and I loved it."

Cristin will compete in the Miss USA pageant next spring. A date has not been set. It will air on NBC.