About Stormie McDonald
Stormie McDonald is a native of Upstate, South Carolina and is proud to call Greenville County her home. She is in her senior year at University of South Carolina- Upstate as a business/accounting major and will begin working full time at Johnson Development Associates as an Industrial Real Estate Analyst upon graduation. For fun, she enjoys sitting on her front porch, playing with her dog, running, singing, and spending time with her niece and nephew.
I grew up in a rather violent home, and have been impacted by domestic violence for as long as I can remember. That violence escalated two weeks after my thirteenth birthday when the violence was no longer just physical or verbal but potentially deadly when a gun entered the picture. Around 3 o’clock that morning, I woke up to a broken family. What does a 13 year old do when her life flips upside down at the brink of a gunshot? I wanted to do what all 13 year old girls do, go to my bedroom, turn off the lights, and sulk. My dad wouldn’t let that happen. He said to me, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” and he made me find a focus. I always enjoyed writing, reading, singing, and at the time I was pursuing a modeling career.
To this day, I believe that it was finding those creative outlets and having a focus that kept me strong and level-headed. I pursued a modeling career for about 6-7 years. I traveled to New York City, Miami, Atlanta, etc. and participated in multiple showcases. I was always tall for my age, but I stopped growing earlier than expected. Everyone expected me to be a skyscraper, but I only grew to be around 5’7, which is short in the industry. High-fashion was out of my reach, so my advisors at the time thought that swimsuit would be my best shot. I went to Miami, did one swim shoot and well, it wasn’t my thing! I have nothing against the swim industry or the modeling industry, but, sometimes you do things and you don’t feel like you are in your element and I simply wasn’t. I came home with no idea what I would do with my life. The only thing that I knew to do was enroll at Greenville Technical College and get my basic courses out of the way until I found my way again. I missed the stage, so I decided to compete in a pageant. I went “at-large” to the Miss South Carolina Teen USA pageant, it was fun and I had a great time but I didn’t place. I thought about coming back and trying it again just for fun but God had a different plan.
One night, a bunch of people started texting and calling me telling me that i should compete in the Miss Greenville County pageant, which is a preliminary to Miss South Carolina (the Miss America Organization). The Miss America Organization requires their girls to have personal platforms. The Miss Greenville County pageant was only a few days away when everyone asked me to compete, and I had no idea what to do! A good friend asked me, “Well, what has impacted you the most in your life?” Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was domestic violence. I already knew the statistics, and I had the experience, so easily, “Home Is Where the Heart Is: Domestic Violence Awareness” became my platform. I didn’t win at Miss Greenville County, but in my interview, the judges asked me a lot about my platform and my experience. It felt like I had finally understood why this tragic thing had happened to me. For me that’s what having a platform is all about, when you can take your tragedies and your heart and help someone else. The following year, I competed at Miss Travelers Rest and I won, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel and speak about Domestic Violence as well as get to know and love many survivors.
What was once my tragedy, is now my triumph, and I can’t even begin to count my blessings.