Murphy Lee is enjoying her trek to the Miss South Carolina crown
If you talk to Murphy Lee, she will be the first one to tell you that she’s not your typical pageant girl. Growing up Murphy admits that she was a tomboy at heart but is now happy to compete for the coveted Miss South Carolina title this summer in Columbia, as only one of the handfull of girls from Darlington to have ever competed.
“It feels like I’m making waves by being the first girl to represent Darlington High School at the Miss South Carolina pageant,” Lee said.All of this started back in 2012, when Lee was approached by former Miss Darlington pageant director Will Isgett, after he heard her sing at the S.C. Sweet Potato Festival.
“I heard this voice coming from the stage at the Sweet Potato Festival and thought to myself who is this girl,” Isgett said. “I walked over and took a listen and realized she was a voice student of my friend Kendall Standish. I called Kendall the next week and got her to do the 2012 Miss Darlington Teen pageant.”
After the Miss Darlington pageant went away and the newly formed Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Teen pageant came around in 2014, once again she decided to compete.
In that pageant she won the talent award and garnered second-runner-up honors in the Teen division, which made even hungrier.
When she heard that Darlington High School was going to revive its pageant she competed in April 2014 and was crowned Miss DHS at St. John’s Elementary School Auditorium.
Under new Miss South Carolina and Miss America pageant rules a high queen can now compete at the state level as long as they are 17 years old and must use the mascot of their school as their title. The rules states that a high school winner cannot walk across the stage in a swimsuit, which meant she would be Miss Falcon and not Miss Darlington High School at state. Although Darlington High School has a Miss Falcon through the athletic booster club, the two titles are totally different and their queen still continues her responsibility. Murphy didn’t hold the title but eight months since a new Miss DHS was crowned in November 2014, but Principal Greg Harrison agreed to give the outgoing queen the opportunity to compete for Miss South Carolina, since it had been a life long dream.
Lee has appeared at numerous Darlington High School events including Key Club’s Thanksgiving Celebration and the Student Government’s Christmas with Santa event, along with singing the national anthem at several athletic events including the Special Olympics. She also appeared at the Taste of the Falcons and participated in the Old’s Peoples Christmas event helping fill bags with goodies and then helped distribute them in the community.
During her reign she attended the Miss South Carolina USA pageant in Charleston, met Darlington Raceway’s Lady in Black Kaitlyn Bailey, read to the students at Pate School as part of American Education week, rode in the Darlington Christmas and the Lamar Egg Scramble Festival parades, attended the City of Darlington Christmas Tree lighting, sang at Dashing through the Square, appeared on Carolina and Company live on ABC 15, attended the Miss Camden and Miss Florence Scholarship Pageants, attended the Orlando Hudson Autism Charity weekend bowling event and sang at halftime of the charity basketball game, assisted at McLeod Children’s Hospital Chef and Child eventd and raised money for the Children’s Miracle network at IHOP’s National Pancake Day, attended the Miss South Carolina Pageant work weekend in Columbia, participated in the Miss America Day of Service with her project called “Building a Friend”, appeared at the Darlington County Relay for Life and volunteered at the Marcus Lattimore Tailgate Experience, which benefitted the McLeod Children’s Hospital.
All this while maintaining her top ten ranking at Darlington High School where she will be an honors graduate and serving as President of the Student Government Association and Vice President of the National Honor Society.
She is also working to promote her platform Think P.I.N.K, which deals with the early detection of breast cancer and raising funds to help those who can’t afford a mammogram. She has raised money for the McLeod Hospital’s Breast Cancer Unit and will be making a presentation in memory of her late grandmother to the hospital soon
“I learned so much about the importance of community service through the Miss America Organization,” said Lee. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
With Miss South Carolina week approaching, Lee encourages the community to come support her.
Her schedule includes: June 23: private interview with the judges in morning, and evening swimsuit and evening gown competition. June 24: talent competition. June 25: compete on on-stage question. Listen locally to WJMX 103X on June 24 at 2:15 p.m. to hear Murphy being interviewed by Denis Davis.
Lee also wants to thank the support she has gotten from the community. Her sponsors include: Darlington High School, Nolan Logging of Society Hill, Vaughan Insurance, Jimmy Hardee and family, the Darlington Police Department, Kistler-Hardee Funeral Home, Newton Nationwide Insurance of Florence, Heiden Dental of Florence, Dr. Townsend Holt Orthodontics of Florence, Darlington Chainsaw, the News and Press, Fastrack, Palmetto Furniture of Society Hill, Funderburk Insurance of Society Hill, Angie Campbell and family, Sheila Boyle and family, Ultimate Taekwondo Center, A & I Fire and Water Restoration, Swinney Restaurant of Society Hill Mrs. Kisses and Mr. Pencil, Moore Insurance, Auddie Brown Chevrolet, Kendall Standish Voice Studio, Marlboro Drug of Bennettsivlle, Society Hill Pharmacy and her parents Tim and Lisa Lee.
All competitions will be held at the Township Auditorium in Columbia. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the box office in Columbia on beginning June 1.