The picture on the right show Bree Boyce before she lost the weight; the one on the left shows her during the swimsuit competition. (Swimsuit photo: Becki J. Owens Photography)
Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce shows off the jeans she used to wear.
Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce
Florence, SC (WLTX) -- The new Miss South Carolina isn't just any beauty queen.
"I'm definitely not the typical pageant girl," 22-year-old Bree Boyce says.
Within minutes of meeting Bree, that's clear. For instance, she does a Paula Dean impression.
"Hey y'all I'm so excited to be here with you," she says, with an accent that sounds much like the Food Network star.
"I do a lot of impersonations of different celebrities," Bree says.
Always an entertainer, Bree followed her sister's footsteps into the pageant world.
"I secretly did want the crown," she recalls.
That is, until age 7.
"I started gaining the weight gradually after 7-years-old, it just kind of kept coming on and coming on I just didnt take care of myself I wasn't educated on what to eat and how to exercise."
By 17, Bree reached her highest weight, 234 pounds.
"I used to ride around when I got my license, and ride around to different fast food places and eat the food in my car," she says. "I went to the doctor's office because I had been having lots of knee problems and he looked at me and he just grabbed my thighs and said you know it's time for you to lose the weight because if you don't your knees aren't going to be able to take the weight and you're so young."
Now 112 pounds lighter, Bree can hold her old jeans and smile. She can even win the "fitness" round of competition.
"For someone who grew up chubby and overweight, and never having to say that she was proud of her body, to be able to look in the mirror and be happy, and confident in myself, it really pushes me to go to the gym every day," Bree says.
She has worked out three hours a day for the last three years.
Now spreading her message of good health, Bree is sure the crown belongs on her head.
"When I won Miss South Carolina, I knew that I deserved it because I had worked so very hard," Bree says. "I would never take back my past because it has ultimately shaped me into the woman that I am today."
Today, she's a slimmer woman, still with some southern flavor.
"Maybe I can partner up with Paula Dean and show her some of my recipes that you can use with olive oil instead of butter," Bree says.