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pageantry interview ● k. lee graham Nothing She Can’t Handle It can be scary for a teen to move to New York City and travel the world, but a girl like Miss Teen USA K. Lee Graham makes it look way too easy L istening to her talk, a person could be rather sur- prised to learn that K. Lee Graham is Miss Teen USA. That’s because the 18-year-old South Car- olina native has the intelligence, confidence, and maturity of someone twice her age, as she looked the challenges of moving to the Big Apple and becoming an international icon right in the eye, flashed her trademark smile, and conquered it all with aplomb. In fact, the only seemingly youthful thing about this incredible young lady is the enthusiasm with which she has approached every ap- pearance and task in her term as Miss Teen USA. With her year coming to an end, K. Lee has the oppor- tunity to look ahead and ask herself, “What’s next?” Her answer? Eventually college, but like most of the Miss Teen USA winners before her, she can’t wait to hit the beach in the Bahamas and relax for once. Hearing her describe everything that she’s accomplished since August 2, 2014, she’s definitely earned a little vacation. Pageantry magazine: What do you remember most upon hearing your name called as Miss Teen USA 2014? K. Lee Graham: Actually, I barely remember anything from that exact moment. It’s just become such a blur. But, I do remember just thinking, “Make a good face, you don’t want your pictures to look hilarious.” So, I was like, “Just keep smiling.” And then I walked back to see all the girls and at that moment, it really hit me. I saw some of my best friends down in the front that surrounded me. I think that was one of the best moments of this year so far, just to see 42 PAGEANTRY PHOTO BY CARTER STUDIOS the support from them and to feel their love. PM: What are you looking forward to most upon your return to the Bahamas this year? KG: This year I’m really excited because I’ll get to go out and enjoy the beaches a little bit more. We won’t be in re- hearsals the whole time. I’m excited about that. And my mom’s going to come with me, so I’m just looking forward to having a great time, meeting all the girls. PM: When we first spoke, you were looking forward to finishing high school and making the big move to New York. Now that you’re in the Big Apple, what’s a typical day like for Miss Teen USA? KG: I was in the New York Film Academy, so I would wake up, go to class, and have class until maybe 7. And then I would go home, work out, have a night event. It would be different every day. I would also visit a lot of schools. I work in a lot of different charity organizations. Now that I’m on break, I have a little bit more time to enjoy the city. I love working out in the parks. I love being able to volunteer with Best Buddies and Project Sunshine. It’s a different schedule every single day and that’s what makes it so exciting.