Saturday night at the Charlotte Convention Center before a big crowd, Rock Hill's Lakesha Heath will take center stage in evening wear, for interviews - even in a swimsuit.
She will compete with a dozen other women for a pageant title.
Yet the lady known as "KeeKee" since childhood is not tiny, or skinny, or what people normally see on TV or in magazines when models walk a runway.
The last time Heath was skinny was, in her words, "probably kindergarten."
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"I am, proudly, a full-size woman," Heath said. "Full-figured. That is what most women in America are."
The contest is the first Ms. Encore Couture pageant, in which contestants have to be far more filled out - and therefore, lifelike - than most pageants.
For Heath, the sole area contestant, the pageant is a chance to show off and be proud of what she calls, "who I am."
The Rev. C.T. Kirk, Heath's pastor at Sanctuary of Life Outreach Center in Rock Hill, will be among many who will be at the show cheering for Heath.
"Television, movies, videos, magazines - all the media has given us a wrong idea about what people are supposed to look like," Kirk said. "God created us all to be wonderful in his image.
"She has embraced herself, and we should all embrace her and be proud."
The pageant might be a first in this area for a society that without question has a problem with obesity - yet still has so many people who will never be the size of pipe cleaners.
Katrice Thompkins, organizer of the pageant, said she lost 100 pounds more than two years ago, then finally realized that her end weight was never going to be whippet-thin.
"People look at the obese as lazy, unhealthy," Thompkins said. "But when people get healthy, and to the size that they should be, it is not model-skinny."
Thompkins created the pageant to allow women to compete and be comfortable with who they really are - all contestants must be size 14 or higher.
To give the pageant exposure and status, Thompkins has brought in nationally-famous plus-size designer Qristyl Frazier, whose fashions are showcased on the reality TV show "Project Runway."
Heath's reality is that she has always been, for lack of a better term, a big girl.
At Northwestern High School, Heath said, she was at times self-conscious about her size - even gaining weight until she was 286 pounds.
But after going to college first at Alabama State and then Winthrop, Heath lost more than 100 pounds to get to her current size.
She works out three times a week, has taught fitness classes for women, and has done some modeling and singing on stage.
Further, Heath is in the last year of studying for her master's degree in special education - all of it as a "full-figured" lady.
"Women who are considered beautiful haven't always had to be so small," Heath said. "Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 - at least."
Thursday morning at a Rock Hill coffee shop, a guy walked by Heath's table and stopped short, as guys will do because guys notice pretty ladies sitting at tables at coffee shops.
"Ma'am, excuse me - and I am not trying be out of line - but you are beautiful," said Emanuel Bryant. "You look just like a younger version of Chaka Khan," the longtime R&B singer who is also "full-figured."
Heath took that compliment with a smile and a "thank you" - and she will not shy away from the spotlight Saturday night, either.
She is a bit nervous, but only about the competition - not about her size.
"I love my size. Beauty has no size."
Want to know more?
For more information on the Ms. Encore Couture pageant, go to msencorecouture.com.