Inside the main tent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, model Brittany Oldehoff strutted her stuff down the runway, donning sexy bikinis for designers Dolores Cortes, Agua Bendita, Luli Fama, Suboo, Gottex, Maaji and L Space.
At 5 foot 11, she's not unlike the other beautiful faces spotted on the catwalk during Swim Week. Except, Oldehoff, 24, has something special that separated her from the rest: the crown. Earlier this month, the brunette beauty was named Miss Florida USA 2014.
With the crown, comes new responsibilities. As the new Miss Florida USA, she'll get a chance to travel all over the Sunshine State, working closely with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Her father, Gregory Oldehoff, died from complications of the disease in 2012.
"My dad was diagnosed when he was in his late 20, early 30s, and was in and out of surgeries all the time," she said. "But I didn't know what [the disease] was until about six years ago." She's now made it one of her missions to educate others. "People would ask me, 'What's wrong with your dad?' or 'What's [Crohn's]? I've never heard of it.'
"What people don't realize is that a lot of people have it."
As Miss USA, the former Miss Fort Lauderdale 2013 will be able to continue modeling – something she's pretty good at. Oldehoff has graced the cover of magazines such as "Boca Magazine," "FHM," "Zoo," and "South Africa GQ." She also appeared on Season 7 of Bravo's "Project Runway."
Oldehoff says stereotypes about pageants and its contestants aren't true. "It's not like 'Mean Girls' at all. It's really a sisterhood. One of the reasons I wanted to do the pageants is to make friends, and along the way, I've met so many nice people. We're like a big family."
Oldehoff, who works out at LA Fitness, offers diet tips on her website, Brittanyoldehoff.com. Though she says it's not her bikini bod that secured her the Miss Florida title.
"I think what helped was the fact that I'm bubbly and outgoing," she said. "I always try to be positive and friendly, and it helps if you are able to talk to others." Next year, she'll get a chance to show off her winning personality when she competes in the Miss USA pageant.
Until then, the Florida Atlantic University graduate will try to find time for the thing she likes doing the most. "My favorite thing to do is sleep, because I really don't get a chance much."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun