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Beauty Pageant Contestant to Appear on The Amazing Race

Stephanie Smith of Fort Lauderdale is a former Miss South Carolina USA and a contestant on this season's edition of the CBS reality show, The Amazing Race. That puts her perilously close to two of the world's most notorious Youtube video memes.

But let's be clear: she is not the South Carolina beauty queen who gave the worst answer in beauty pageant history. Nor is she the Amazing Race contestant involved in The Watermelon Incident, a terrifying video that I've posted after the jump, along with an interview with Smith.

Owwww! More on that in a moment.

Two seasons ago, Smith and the former Miss Maine were finalists for a spot on The Amazing Race. They weren't selected, and after the Miss USA Pageant, Smith eventually settled in South Florida, having followed her fiance here.

Photo: The Amazing Race
Chad Waltrip and Stephanie Smith
Things didn't pan out with that fiance, either. But Smith soon fell for her supervisor at a facilities managing company, Chad Waltrip. Not long after they began dating, they decided to do some traveling, so the couple called The Amazing Race producers, who were still holding Smith's passport from when she applied to be on the show. Producers asked her if she was interested in joining the show with her new beau.

"At first I was worried that we were being a little bit foolish to be going on the Race, exposing our relationship when it was still so new," says Smith, who had been dating Waltrip for only about four months when they were offered a place on the program.

"It was definitely a test of our relationship early on," says Waltrip, but the couple says it made their bond stronger. They can't divulge any details about how they performed on The Amazing Race, which is pre-recorded. But considering they've recently purchased a home together in Fort Lauderdale, it sounds like they're enjoying their post-reality show lives. Smith currently works as a stylist at Elite Group in Fort Lauderdale.

Photo: The Amazing Race
The couple survived their encounter with catapults and watermelons.
So what about the watermelon incident? "We weren't there to witness that, but we were involved in that mission," says Waltrip.

"Later we saw the video and we were shocked -- because we had done very same thing. We just didn't have that kind of experience."

I asked Smith whether people who find out she's a beauty queen from South Carolina ask her if she's that beauty queen. "No, I almost never get that question -- but my mom gets it all the time," Smith says.

She knows the contestant, Caite Upton from the beauty pageant circuit. Upton competed in one of the past seasons of The Amazing Race. Smith is eager to point out that Upton was simply unfortunate to suffer a very embarrassing, very human lapse at a moment when television cameras were filming.

Here's an interview that Smith gave in advance of the Miss USA pageant.

[The 17th season of The Amazing Race debuts Sunday night on CBS4.]

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Thomas Francis

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