The Lowcountry's Miss South Carolina USA Megan Pinckney compete - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

The Lowcountry's Miss South Carolina USA Megan Pinckney competes in Miss USA Pageant

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This Sunday, the Lowcountry's own, Miss South Carolina USA will compete in the Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas. We caught up with Megan Pinckney as she was preparing to leave to represent the Palmetto State.

Lowcountry native, 22-year-old Megan Pinckney and her mom remember how it all started. Megan says, "Well I grew up here in Charleston. I was born on James Island, spent most of my childhood there growing up, started school at Murray Lasaine Elementary and then moved to North Charleston." Megan, an only child is a senior at the University of South Carolina. She says, "I got into dance at a really really young age. I started when I was five, and kind of carried that throughout my entire life growing up and even took it to college."

Megan won the Miss South Carolina USA crown back in November, and will represent South Carolina Sunday at the 2013 Miss USA competition. She will join fifty of the country's most beautiful women.

"It's a lot of different emotions. I'm obviously very nervous, very anxious, but still really really excited. It's something I've been looking forward to for a really long time. I remember when I was little watching the Miss USA Pageant, and I was hoping I would get the opportunity to represent South Carolina, just having the opportunity to do that, just means a lot to me, so I'm really excited," she says.

Megan takes pride in her role as a community leader. She created her own school program called "Character begins with K" which teaches students to be goal oriented, build self-esteem

Character straits she attributes to her mom. "My mom's support means so much to me, she's my biggest cheerleader. She's been behind me every step of the way and I know that I am where I am because of her sacrifices and all that she's done for me and." Her mom Sabrina Pinckney says, "I'm beyond excited. I can remember the days Megan first started with dance and how she would rush everything, and now I look at her, she's so graceful, just a young lady that I'm so proud of. She takes the initiative to go after her dreams."

The Miss USA contestants will be judged in three categories, swimsuit, interview, and evening gown. Megan gave News 2 a sneak peek of her beautiful evening gown. While the glitz and glamour are fun, the chance to represent her home state is the jewel in the crown. "That's what means the most to me. This is my home state. It's where I was born and raised, so South Carolina means a lot to me, and I just couldn't imagine representing another state, and I'm so proud of where I come from."

Megan is celebrating her 22nd birthday today, Happy Birthday Megan! You can watch Megan compete in the Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas live Sunday June 16th, on NBC at 9 p.m.

You can help drive hometown support for her by voting. Voting is underway through Saturday June 15th. The contestant who receives the most votes will earn a place in the semifinals.

How Fans Can Vote: www.missusa.com <http://www.missusa.com>, Facebook.com <http://Facebook.com> or via Twitter.

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