Stephanie Brown was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on February 2, 1969, to Brian and Donna Brown. She was the Browns' only child. The couple owned a successful music shop that sold instruments, accessories, and equipment.
Brian and Donna were devoted followers of Elvis Presley and attended every concert they possibly could. After Presley's death, the Browns added an Elvis memorabilia section to their shop and scoured the region for collectibles They often were gone for days, and occasionally, weeks at a time, leaving Stephanie with her paternal grandmother.
Stephanie’s grandmother drank heavily and was a mean drunk, so Stephanie learned to keep her mouth closed and fend for herself.
By the time Stephanie was in the sixth grade, she had mastered the art of using her charm and good looks to help her along in life. She was a creative negotiator and could be fierce and ruthless when necessary.
Stephanie kept herself busy and active by participating in school team sports. She was especially good at tennis and volleyball, but also joined the swim team because the girls and boys trained together. She was popular and well-liked.
Stephanie was able to maintain a high GPA throughout high school, partly due to her study habits and partly due to her negotiation skills. Her GPA made it possible for her to go to Ole Miss on a partial scholarship.
To afford college, Stephanie became a certified Jazzercise instructor. She recruited her high school friends and their moms to take her summer classes. By scrimping and saving, Stephanie made enough money to move to Oxford and start school.
When she arrived in Oxford, Stephanie immediately got a job teaching fitness classes at the Oxford Health Club and began making friends. She maintained a steady income and a reasonable work schedule while going to college.
At Ole Miss, Stephanie’s first major was journalism. She made decent grades but not good enough to make Honor Roll. After her sophomore year, she changed her major to Liberal Studies. She planned to make some real money in the burgeoning fitness industry after she graduated.
The summer following graduation, she and some friends went on a month-long hiking and camping trip in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The second week of the trip, she met Paul Bragg, and before the trip was over, he proposed and she accepted.
Paul and Stephanie left the White Mountain National Forest and were married by a justice of the peace in New Hampshire on July 11, 1987. Paul moved into Stephanie’s apartment in Oxford.
Stephanie did not want children, however, when she became pregnant the summer of 2000, she became completely consumed by motherhood. Her son, Jimmy, was born on April 4, 2001.
Stephanie made it her mission in life to run interference for her family, especially for Jimmy. In Stephanie’s eyes, Jimmy is the sun, the moon, and the stars. She tries her best to insulate him from experiencing any of the pain and loneliness that she experienced when she was a child.