Ree Drummond’s stunning transformation into the Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond Pioneer Woman

The world may know her as the Pioneer Woman today, but Ree Drummond first found fame in the early 2000s when she decided to write a blog. Not yet known by her nickname, she used her blog to write about both her life living on a farm and about her fabulous cooking.

Reading it, one would think Drummond has always been a country girl; it’s a natural fit for the redhead. But in reality, Drummond is not originally from rural living. In fact, she lived in both the suburbs and city before meeting someone in her mid 20s who changed her life. She then found herself in the place she was meant to be, starting out her now very-well-known country lifestyle.

Fans can find Drummond on television, read her best-selling books, and still check out that blog she has kept from the very beginning. She has had quite the life story so far, finding her way to the place she now calls home. So let’s take a closer look at Ree Drummond’s life and the stunning transformation she has experienced throughout the years.

Childhood dreams of being an actress

Ree Drummond Instagram throwback

Ree Drummond was born in 1969 as Anne Marie “Ree” Smith and grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She was a kid who had big dreams and constantly challenged herself, gaining new experiences in life. At a young age, she had plans for herself that would take her to different places away from home. Reminiscing about her childhood during an interview with People, she shared, “I always thought, ‘There’s a big, huge world out there beyond this.'”

One way in which Drummond was able to travel as a kid and see more of the country was through her ballet competitions. Dancing made her think about the entertainment industry and a possible future in show business. She continued on to say, “When I was young, I wanted to be an actress. I had no idea what that meant, but I just thought it sounded fun.” Little did she know then what the future held for her.

Suburb girl ready for the city

Ree Drummond yearbook photo

The desire to be a part of the entertainment industry eventually led Ree Drummond to Los Angeles for college. As the New Yorker reported, the future star attended the University of Southern California, initially studying broadcast journalism. “I wanted to be Jane Pauley,” she shared.

After switching her major to the “completely random” gerontology, Drummond spent a lot of time enjoying her early 20s in the city and she felt she fit in well and could picture a certain kind of future on the West Coast. “I’m pretty sure I could’ve ended up on Real Housewives of Orange County,” she shared with People. “They need a fair-skinned redhead.” 

But Bravo success wasn’t in Drummond’s future. She continued to work in Los Angeles for a couple of years, and then eventually headed back home in order to study for the LSAT and prep for her next life adventure. It was meant to be a pitstop before returning back to big city living.

A cowboy changed her plans

Ree Drummond husband Ladd

When Drummond found herself back home after school, it was meant to be temporary. But the unexpected happened when 20-something Drummond went out to the bar with friends. As she described in her book The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels (via Today), “That’s when I saw him — the cowboy — across the room.”

She convinced herself that meeting this man didn’t change the facts. She said, “I was headed to Chicago. To a new city. To a new life. I had zero business getting attached to anyone around there, let alone some Wrangler–wearing cowboy with salt-and-pepper hair.”

And yet, get attached is just what she did. She ended up staying in Oklahoma and at 27 years old, married that cowboy in 1996. As she shared in an interview with People, “I didn’t even know any cowboys growing up. When my friends heard that I was marrying a cattle rancher and moving to the country, they literally could not believe it.” It was the beginning of something big. According to Drummond, “They started calling me the Pioneer Woman as a joke.”

Adjusting from the city to the country wasn't easy

Ree Drummond instagram

Falling in love and marrying her cowboy wasn’t the only unexpected surprise for Ree Drummond in her late 20s. She then went to live in a rural area near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. A lifestyle change that extreme, especially having come from spending years in Los Angeles, definitely affected Drummond, and it took her time to adjust.

As she said while speaking with The Associated Press, “It was, kind of just, love that got me out here, and then after we got married I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done?’ You know, ‘Where am I, and this is real. I live in the country.'”

As time passed and the future star had more time to adjust to her new life, she realized how wonderful it was — and how wrong her past stereotypes of the country had been. She told People, “I remember living in Los Angeles and coming home and eating lunch with my grandmother and her friends and just thinking, ‘Oh! Their worlds are so small.’ After I moved back and actually started having regular lunches with them, I realized they were this amazing, dynamic group of women who got together and would debate issues.”

From tired housewife to business expert

Ree Drummond speaking

Throughout the next ten years of Drummond’s life, she gave birth to four children — two girls and two boys. And not only was she raising her children, but homeschooling them as well. So when her husband told her one day in May 2006 that he was taking all of the kids with him to work, Drummond didn’t know what to do with herself. It was the 37 year old’s first time alone for hours in years.

According to the New Yorker, she was going to spend that precious time planning for homeschooling, but instead decided “to start one of those blog things.” When she started, the blog was more for fun than anything else.

During an interview with Design and Living magazine, she said, “I just started with a personal blog, free software online and no plan at all except that I would post photos and my mom would read it. It enabled me to express a creative side that I didn’t know I had. I lived in the country for 10 years at that point, so maybe it stored up and needed to come out somehow.”

Cook, writer, and now photographer

Ree Drummond Pioneer Woman magazine

What Ree Drummond started as a casual blog, with a perfect name of The Pioneer Woman, became much bigger. She began with recipes each month, and then she continued to get more readers. After a couple of years of writing, it was time for this blogger to become a full-fledged author. 

Drummond had plans for a cookbook, but she didn’t limit herself to just focusing on the recipes. She took on another role, as she told Design and Living magazine during an interview. “Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing. I had been a food blogger for a couple of years and taught myself photography.” That’s right, the photos throughout the first cookbook came from 40-year-old Drummond herself.

After The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl was released in 2009, Drummond looked back on those photos, sharing, “Even though I look at it now and could say, ‘Oh this should be better,’ I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It was my first cookbook.”

Her life is possible movie perfection

Ree Drummond writing

Ree Drummond’s story of living in the big city and eventually experiencing love at first sight with a cowboy at a bar sounds like the perfect plotline for a movie, and others have had this exact same thought.

In 2011, the New Yorker interviewed 42-year-old Drummond about her success in life. It wasn’t long before the talk of a possible movie, based on her book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, came up. Movie producer Laura Ziskin, who optioned the book at the time, shared during an interview with the New Yorker, “When you look at the book, or you look at the cookbook, you think, I’d like to do that. I don’t care if there’s cow dung on the porch, it looks pretty good to me.”

As the article reported, at one point Reese Witherspoon was in talks to star in the film. Since then, there hasn’t been much word on the movie, but fans of Drummond have more of the star’s blog posts and cookbooks to keep them occupied in the meantime.

She realizes her lifestyle isn't for everyone

Ree Drummond family

While Drummond’s life has a fairy tale component that many may want to watch on the big screen, Drummond is the first to say that she knows her lifestyle is not for everyone.

In 2011, BookPage interviewed the 42 year old, and she discussed her life and what it would have been like if she had never moved to the country. She said, “Yeah, I shudder. I am thoroughly convinced that I am where I was meant to wind up. In the country we really lead an isolated life… we’re just together, we’re out here, we’re on the land and in the quiet.”

She also understands herself well enough to know what she needs in her day-to-day life. She continued, “It’s not that everyone needs [the quiet] to maintain some level of peace and contentment, but I needed it. It centered me.”

She wants a "small bottom and a six-pack"

Ree Drummond speaking

The refreshing thing about Ree Drummond is the fact that she is very honest when it comes to her blog and social media. One topic that she has brought up includes yoga and being healthy. 

The 48 year old shared her and her husband’s fitness goals in a yoga-inspired Instagram story in December of 2017 (via People). She just told it as it was, writing of her husband, “He’s a cattle ranching athlete stud-muffin, but he can’t touch his toes and he wants more flexibility.” Drummond, on the other hand, has no issue with touching her toes. Instead, she shared, “I can put my ankles behind my head and need no help with flexibility, but my jeans are tight and I want a small bottom and a six-pack.”

Drummond is honest about her goals, and she’s honest about the results too. So how did yoga go? “The funny part is that I got so winded carrying the yoga mats back to the hotel that I had to stop and rest,” she continued. “The only thing that gave me the strength to continue on my own was fear of ridicule.”

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