Soda City Chronicles

The Camera Loves Her

Former Miss South Carolina Heads to Local TV News

By Otis R. Taylor Jr.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Since she was crowned Miss South Carolina in 2011, Bree Boyce, who shed more than 100 pounds during her quest for the title, has been sharing her story.

Boyce has appeared on TV programs such as The View and the Today show. She was on the cover of People magazine’s weight-loss issue. She’s given numerous interviews, telling the same details of herself over and over and over.

Boyce says she’s tired of talking about herself.

Fortunately for her, a new job will allow her to share the stories of others. On Oct. 25, Boyce will begin co-anchoring WACH-57’s 10 p.m. broadcast. She’ll share the desk with Darryl Hood. 

It’s a bold move by WACH, the local Fox Broadcasting Company affiliate. Evening newscasts, particularly the anchor seats, are typically reserved for veteran broadcasters. But it makes sense for WACH to make an aggressive play: The local TV market has been dominated for more than a half-century by WIS-10, so there is little to lose in trying to shake things up.

“Bree not only brings a fresh look to WACH Fox News at 10 — she has a compelling story of personal success,” says WACH General Manager Jim Bleicher. “As an anchor/reporter, she will look for and produce similar stories from all over the Midlands. We’re very happy to have Bree join our team.”

While Boyce is comfortable talking on live TV — the camera loves her, for sure — reporting and reading the news well, as any broadcast journalist will attest, requires more than good lighting and makeup.

As she did during her quest to become Miss South Carolina, though, Boyce has distinguished herself through determination. Dropping 100 pounds — and not letting them pile back on — requires daily self-discipline. She’s now applying her focus to the new job, working steadily with a media coach in Charlotte.

“Basically, I’m doing everything in a few weeks that people learn in school,” Boyce says. “I’ve learned something new every hour, basically.”

Boyce, who performed the role of Eponine in a Florence Little Theatre production of Les Miserables in September, had planned to return to Francis Marion University and complete her theater degree this fall. That was before she talked to WACH’s Good Day Columbia co-host Tyler Ryan at the Miss South Carolina pageant in July, Boyce says. 

The brief conversation started moving her career in a different direction.

“It was pretty much an offer I couldn’t resist,” says Boyce, a Florence native. “I was presented with an opportunity, and you know, what, ‘Let’s try it out.’ That’s how I am about everything.”
About WACH, she adds, “They’ve been so helpful and encouraging. I actually look forward to work, which is a good thing.”

Boyce, 24, says she has been building a rapport with Hood. After representing WACH at the South Carolina State Fair, she told Hood that she hadn’t been to the fair since she was a little girl.

His response, according to Boyce: “What, was that, 30 years ago?”
“But I let him know who’s boss,” Boyce adds.

Boyce is repeatedly asked if she’s nervous about the primetime role. She isn’t. After all, she once subbed for Barbara Walters on The View.
“That’s when I should’ve been nervous,” Boyce says.

It’s not unprecedented for an anchor that hadn’t planned on being a journalist to have far-reaching success. Craig Melvin, formerly of WIS and now an MSNBC anchor, for example, studied government at Wofford College.

Another former local anchor, University of South Carolina graduate Ainsley Earhardt, was recently named permanent co-host of Fox & Friends First on FOX News Channel.

Boyce is more closely following the footsteps of beauty queens who have become well-known TV personalities. Nancy O’Dell, host of Entertainment Tonight, is a former Miss South Carolina.

“Maybe I’ll get my own show like Gretchen Carlson,” she says, referring to the former Miss America and host of a weekday program on FOX News.

SCC is a column about interesting people in and around Columbia.

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