Wednesday, January 8, 2014

K. Lee Graham -- Miss South Carolina Teen USA

By Wendy Lindberg- America's SUPER Queen 2013-14

Stephanie took some time last week to talk with K. Lee Graham, Miss South Carolina Teen USA.

Following in Footsteps, but Her Own Person

Many contestants and pageant queens always wish for the understanding and support of their family in their pageant pursuits, and K. Lee has a unique prospective on being a USA title holder as her mother was crowned in 1985 as Miss South Carolina Teen USA. "Everyone has been asking me since they heard that my mom had won in 1985, 'Were you born and raised to enter this pageant?' The answer is, 'No'. I decided on my own that I wanted to do it." She shared, "It's really great to have that legacy that goes on between us and it's a really special bond, that is for sure." 

"(When they called my name) I looked right into the audience and I saw where my mom was... She was cheering so much, and my family was there." K. Lee recalled, "That's what I will remember forever, just seeing all of them and feeling their support from onstage. It was great." 

Being Successful

K. Lee was asked to share some of what she believes has made her successful in taking home the crown. "I think that my family really kept me grounded," she said. "I also credit preparation. I think preparation is really big for anything you do in life. Especially for something like this. I worked really hard for it. I worked consistently for it too. I try to do something everyday that will help me get a little closer to my goals. ... Just getting in the right mindset: really knowing what I wanted to do after I was crowned, really knowing what I wanted to do with my year, that was really important to me as well. I think it really helped me keep everything in focus and keep my nerves down during pageant weekend because I was confident and I felt ready."

Making a Winning Gown

K. Lee and her mother have been teaming up for the last few years to make her competition gowns. K. Lee designs it and her mother sews and constructs them. "That's another special bond that we have. I guess I can't take all the credit for designing it. My mom helped a lot with it. We have always made my gowns. We've never bought it." K. Lee shared, "We worked on it a long time. ... Everyone asks how long it takes, to be honest, I can't tell you. I can just say a long time. We work a little bit here, a little bit there, fit here and take it out and restitch it here to get it perfect. ... It was really a good bonding experience."

K. Lee will have her gown for Miss Teen USA sponsored by the Miss South Carolina sponsored company and be able to give her mom a little break. "I am really excited to be able to explore my options now. ... I have a lot of ideas and I definitely have my own taste and my own style," she said.  "I know they will take me in the right direction."

Live Beautifully

"One of the great things about being Miss South Carolina Teen USA is that I have this voice now to go out and speak to South Carolina about things that I am passionate about. Particularly, my Live Beautifully campaign. So I will be getting out there and meeting a lot of people," K. Lee said. 

You can see K. Lee's blog at

"Through my Live Beautifully campaign, I promote that true beauty comes from your character. It's always really fun to dress up and do your make-up and your hair. There is nothing wrong with that, but I found that it's not going to last if you put your self-value in that." K. Lee continued, "I have my blog ... where I talk about true beauty and achieving that by embracing yourself, others and your community."

Live Healthy

K. Lee is a self proclaimed "health junkie". 

"My mom's always been a really good example of what it means to be a healthy individual. I have not always lived that way. I was always tired, I felt really sluggish, I didn't feel good. It was just not a fun way to live. ... I decided if it takes me eating healthy and exercising and it's going to make me happier... then why not do it?" 

One of K. Lee's favorite recipes? She shared it with Stephanie during this interview. 

Slice up and freeze a banana. Once it is frozen, add it to a blender.

Then add a little vanilla soy milk and crunchy almond butter. Blend it until it has the consistency of ice cream.

"Some people are skeptical, but it really does taste like ice cream, and it actually tastes good. That's what I am all about. Finding healthy recipes that actually taste good." 

Best Advice for your Pageant Week

"Go and make friends. We all know you are competing together... but you have this opportunity to meet the most accomplished girls in your state. ... I made my best friend through pageants."

To see K. Lee's interview and why her name is spelled the way it is, you can see it below. 

Be sure to subscribe to the channel and follow the blog so you never miss interview! 


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