Buy American,says Miss America

March 11, 1992|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Staff Writer

Lindsay Heaps fidgeted in her front row seat, wide-eyed with anticipation, waiting for the big moment to arrive. Did the 6-year-old know whom she was waiting for? "Well, I think she's some kind of a queen," Lindsay said.

Well. Kind of.

She is Carolyn Sapp, the reigning Miss America who was at a White Marsh mall fashion show yesterday, on tour for the textile and apparel industry to promote American-made clothing.

And Ms. Sapp, 24, did make a queenly entrance as she walked onto the stage while a tape-recorded version of "There She Is, Miss America" played in the background. Her Miss American crown gleamed on top of her shoulder-length, brunet tresses. Her attire, though elegant, was a conservative black-and-white suit and high-heeled black shoes.

Her duties as Miss America 1992 include being spokeswoman for the New York-based Crafted with Pride in U.S.A. Council Inc. With mike in hand, Carolyn Sapp worked the crowd like a pro as she pitched the buy American theme. "How many people got up in the morning, looked in your closet and said, 'What do I have that's made in the U.S.A.?' " she asked. A smattering of slightly guilty-sounding giggles rippled through the crowd of more than 100 women when no one answered in the affirmative.

Ms. Sapp, who represented Hawaii in the pageant, said she travels "nearly 20,000 miles a month" and manages to do it while fashionably dressed in clothes made in the U.S.A. "We can all do something," she said, urging the audience to spend at least some of their dollars on American-made clothes and household goods.

But in her 10-minute speech, Ms. Sapp, whose platform in the Miss America pagaent was "Education is Everyone's Business," spoke about more than clothing. Education, she said is the responsibility of every citizen -- and parents can go a long way toward helping their children by giving more of themselves rather than just material things. "[Children] need role models, self-esteem and someone to listen to," she said.

She did not, however, speak about the physical abuse she suffered in 1989 at the hands of her then boyfriend, Nuu Faaola, a former professional football player. "I can forgive him," she said in a 1991 People magazine article. "But I can't for get."

And after singing "Ain't Misbehavin'," the same song she sang in the pagaent, she took her seat and the fashion show was under way. There were swimsuits and business suits. Cocktail dresses and walking shorts. Not surprisingly, more than a few of these American made outfits were in red, white and blue colors.

Jo Tornabene, 79, was among the enthusiastic overwhelmingly female audience who had paid $15 apiece to see the Hecht's fashion show, which benefited the Denver-based AMC Cancer Research Center.

"I've always believed in buying American, said Ms. Tornabene, who led the crowds in cheers of "woo woo woo" when the handsome male models strutted on the stage.

Joan Webster of Forest Hill said she will now start paying attention to where clothes are made. "At least I'm more aware of it now," she said.

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