Stephanie Smith has been competing in a swimsuit for much of her life. Lately, she's added heels and an evening dress.
Smith, the 21-year-old reigning Miss South Carolina USA, is headed to Las Vegas to see if she can trade in one crown for another at the Miss USA Pageant. Starting today, she and the other contestants will participate in rehearsals, interviews and preliminary competitions in anticipation of the live NBC broadcast of the pageant April 19.
For Smith, it approaches the apex of what has been an unexpected journey. She did not grow up in Goose Creek being groomed to be a beauty queen. In fact, she describes her mother, Luanne, as a tomboy. This led Smith to an early exposure to athletics.
Now it's on to a larger venue — nearly three weeks in Las Vegas getting ready for a national audience. Smith is confident and ready to knock back any nerves that might hit her.