After the Miss Universe
pageant, I went back to perform my duties as Miss USA. What a dream
life. I was in heaven! After I finished out my reign, I decided to enroll
back into college. This time I attended Fordham University in NYC. It
was then I was also able to totally commit to my modeling. I signed
with the Ford Modeling Agency and the rest is history. Actually it was
just the beginning!
My modeling spanned NYC, Boston, Chicago,
LA, Philadelphia, Miami and Europe. I did the collections and magazine
covers (Italian Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Shape, Glamour, Mademoiselle,
Town and Country, etc). Also I appeared in Women's Wear Daily and W.
as well as in most of the society papers. I did numerous interviews
and special pieces with The New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune,
LA Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, and many, many more.
I also was invited to do radio, television, talk shows and news shows.
My modeling career gave me opportunities to
meet my own modeling idols, Cheryl Tieggs and Cheryl Ladd. If you can
remember back to the original Charlie's Angels, Cheryl Ladd replaced
Farrah Fawcett. Then Shelly Hack (The Charlie Girl) was brought in to
replace Cheryl Ladd. They actually offered me a chance at the role but
I am not, I repeat not, an actress, so I turned it down.
A little further on in my career two more
opportunities to act came my way. The first was opposite Robin Williams
in "The World According to Garp" and the second in "Breaking Glass"
with Hazel O'Connor. Although very tempted, I turned them both down.
It wasn't until almost a year later that I received another offer. A
producer I knew was putting together a fabulous movie called "Opium".
He offered me a chance to audition for the part of "The Jade Lady",
and I did. (They were looking for an American beauty, so he thought
I would do well in the part.) He liked my audition and offered me the
role and I took it! They designed perfume called "Opium"(which I still
wear today) and a wardrobe by the designer Yves St. Laurent. But wouldn't
you know it, the movie fell through and I lost my big chance - Oh, well!
That's show business!
Today, the closest I can say that I ever got
to the Academy Awards was not being nominated for, but hosting them
with Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) and Christopher Atkins (Blue Lagoon)
Later that year I decided to do some more
traveling abroad. I met Dodi Fayed and his father (who owns the world
famous Harrods's Department Store in London.) Dodi who is now deceased,
was Princess Diana's fiancé. I knew them both and was so sad when I
got the news that they had both been killed in a terrible car accident.
The last time I had seen the Princess was when I was a guest at her
wedding to Prince Charles. My engagement ring had even been fashioned
after hers by my fiancé, the Prince of Saudi Arabia. Yes, I was engaged
to a Prince - after all doesn't every Cinderella story have one?
I first met the prince through some friends
at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera. It was just after
I returned from a lovely trip as a guest of the richest man in the world,
Adnan Kashoggi aboard the Nabilla, the largest private yacht in the
world (outside the Queens').
We sailed (our little group of jet-setters)
to the ruins of Pompeii, the island of Majorca and to Brazil for Mardi
Gras. What a party, I think it was two weeks long! I had to leave before
the party was over. I had to head back to NYC for a big photo shoot
that had been scheduled for me. When I got back I found out that our
little trip had made all the society papers and magazines, We had been
the talk of the town. Yikes!
I often look back at my life and reflect.
Sometimes I can't believe all that I've done - and that I survived it
all! I thank God for that!
I am very grateful for the many opportunities
I have been given. I met a lot of very interesting people during my
It was pretty cool to meet and get to know
some of the "elite" like the Rockefellers and the Duponts, Kennedys
and the Forbes. I also learned a lot about people. I learned about power
and fame, about reality and fantasy.
I also enjoyed spending time with such celebrities
as Richard Dreyfus (I interviewed him for Entertainment Magazine). I
really enjoyed meeting Christopher Reeves (Superman) at Studio 54 in
NYC. I enjoyed doing a T.V. Sports special with John Stoessel and I
really liked being interviewed by Bill Boggs. He invited me to have
dinner with him, Linda Pearl and Desi Arnez Jr. (Lucille Balls' son).
I vacationed with the King and Queen of Spain (I so admired her little
dog, that she gave me the name of a breeder back in the states.) When
I returned, I contacted them and bought myself a little miniature Yorkshire
Terrier - Master Pitter Pat. Anyone who's anyone had to have a little
dog to carry around with them to spoil rotten. Oh, heavens! Then there
was the shopping trip I took with Tony Danza (Taxi) to buy his mom a
mink coat for her birthday. Not to mention being in the same room with
my idol, Barbara Walters as she interviewed Geraldine Ferrara.
Looking back, I think the time that I spent
in the White House stands out the most. I enjoyed watching, participating,
and interacting with some of the most interesting people in the world.
I learned a lot. I got involved in campaigns, diplomatic relations and
the social life in Washington - talk about overwhelming!
I remember fondly the time I spent at a Florida
Heath Spa with Elizabeth Taylor and Goldie Hawn. Andy Warhol fascinated
me during an evening out at the world-famous Regine's (he took a picture
of me with his neat little spy-style camera). I remembered being thrilled
when I was told I was being considered for a photo shoot with The Francesco Scavullo. What an honor!
I think the most funny time I can remember
was when the Miss Universe group took me out to dinner at the same restaurant
where John Travolta was (Tavern on the Green, in NYC) and I got more
attention then he did - oops!
Shortly after that though, my life took a
dramatic turn. I decided to make some changes -Big time! I called my
parents and asked them if I could "come home". I needed a rest and a
dose of reality to be sure! Can you just imagine my parents reaction?
My father had just become President of his company and he and my mother
were in the process of moving from my birthplace of Rochester, NY to
their birthplace of Philadelphia, PA. But they were the greatest and
said yes and opened their home to me. I joined them and settled down
to become a schoolteacher at a local Junior College. I even picked up
my studies again, in Pennsylvania, at Villanova University this time.
It was so good to get "back to normal" and have a real life. I loved
spending time with my folks, having a set schedule and a normal existence.
It was now 1983. I was enjoying my life (at a much slower pace). The
kids I taught at school were wonderful and I really found my niche.
I love kids and I loved being a positive influence in their lives. I
still teach today (in my own business) and I think it's one of the best
things I have ever chosen to do. You can really make a difference as
a teacher and that means a lot to me.
But by 1987 I was restless again (gee, no
surprise there!) I wanted to return back to the one place I knew the
best and loved the most, Rochester, NY. I bought 30 acres of land (with
my Miss USA prize money) built a house, bought a truck, adopted 2 horses,
2 dogs, 2 cats, a rabbit, a bird, and a sugar glider and settled in.
Shortly after settling I started my own company down on the farm. My
place is now our place, Kent's and mine. It's called MK Ranch (the M
for Mary, K for Kent- no kidding) and it's quite the place to be. We
have over 450 models, beauty queens and self-development students who
call it "home". We represent them both locally as well as worldwide
(see clients/credits). Approximately 250 are currently working in Rochester
NY (Our base) as models and actors.
As I look back over the past 22 years (when
I was crowned Miss USA and my life changed forever), I am amazed at
all I see. I feel I have truly been blessed to have "survived"
it all. I believe that being raised a good Catholic girl helped me.
I went through a lot, saw and experienced a lot, and accomplished much.
I'm happy that I chose to return to my roots to live a normal life.
I thank God for every day. I love my life and my work and most of all
the chance to make a difference.