Collins Tuohy shares a famously close bond with her adopted brother Michael Oher. As chronicled in The Blind Side, it began when she first met Michael in the hallways of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee. When Collins tried to pass Michael in the stairwell, she had to back up to the top; she could not fit past him. At 16 years old as a sophomore, he was about 6’6” and 320 pounds that fall of 2002—the biggest student anyone at Briarcrest had ever laid eyes on.
Collins grew close to Michael as she helped him adjust to both Briarcrest and his new life with the Tuohy family. When Collins became Briarcrest’s Homecoming Queen, Michael was her escort, and they also shared a common bond through their unique athletic pursuits: Collins won the Tennessee State Championship in the Pole Vault as Michael earned All-State honors in the discus and basketball championships.
Collins earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Mississippi. An exceptional student and influential role model on campus, she was the President of the Student Alumni Council, President of Student Spirit Committee, an Officer for the Kappa Delta Sorority and an Ole Miss Varsity Cheerleader, supporting Michael Oher—also an Ole Miss student—from the sidelines. A gifted musician, Collins has also played the piano since the age of six.
As she prepared to accompany Michael to New York, where he was one of nine prospects invited to draft headquarters for the NFL, Collins sounded like a typical protective sister. “I’m a bit nervous,” she said. “I really don’t want him trucking off to some faraway place.” After Michael became a first-round NFL draft pick for the Ravens, Collins continued to support him with frequent visits to Baltimore.
Collins is currently on the Board of the The Making it Happen Foundation, dedicated to changing children’s lives through hope, love, and opportunity. She also contributed to the New York Times best-seller In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. At the podium, Collins takes audiences through her journey with Michael from fellow student to close friend, confidant, and ultimately, adoptive sister.
The Tuohy family’s life, as chronicled in Michael Lewis’ New York Times number one best-seller The Blind Side, went on to become a record-breaking Hollywood blockbuster that earned more than $300 million at the box office and became the number-one opening weekend for a sports film in history.