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For Miss Maryland, 1997 is a lucky year

June 30, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Jaime Lynn Fox strolled confidently into the lobby of the Venice Inn Sunday, wearing a bright yellow outfit, black high-heel shoes and her newly affixed Miss Maryland crown from Saturday's pageant.

Confidence was not a problem for the 20-year-old Frederick, Md., native. In fact, the Miss Prince George's County said she was concerned about sounding too sure of herself.

"I thought, maybe, I would come off overconfident to the judges because I was trying to be so confident," she said.

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That confidence was tested in 1995, when she finished out of the top 10 a year after being named first runner-up. Fox said the disappointment was difficult to deal with, but she said she was convinced it was just an off year.

Last year, when she finished second runner-up, she said believed she would win it all. Even last year, she said she had an idea that 1997 might be the magic year because her lucky number is seven.

"It's always been in the back of my mind that I'd win it in '97," she said. "It's my only superstition."

The graduate of Governor Thomas Johnson High School said she discovered singing at a young age, but did not consider pageants until years later. In fact, she said she used to prance in front of the television during Miss America pageants and joke about what a farce it would be for her to win.

"I'm not exactly what's you'd call Miss Grace," she said.

But Fox has worked on the poise and winning the Miss America contest no longer seems like such a stretch.

Fox said she will immediately begin preparing for the Miss America contest this September. That will include a workout routine with Louisiana fitness guru Sharon Turrentine, who helped get the last two Miss Americas in shape for the swimsuit competition.

Fox said she believes she has a good shot to win the national competition. But if she doesn't, she said she already has a head start on her platform of promoting Americanism in the schools.

She said she has given presentations to several schools, including Smithsburg Elementary and Walkersville Middle schools. When school starts in September, Fox said she will quickly move to expand the program across the state.

"I haven't wasted these four years," she said. "I've actually implemented the program in the communities I represent."

Long term, Fox said she would like to make a career of singing. If that doesn't work out - and she acknowledged how competitive the business is - Fox said she has designed a major at the University of Maryland that combines performance with the business side of the entertainment industry.

In the short term, though, Fox has her sights set squarely on Atlantic City, where she will attempt to become the first Marylander to be crowned Miss America.

"I believe that I can compete with those girls - and win," she said.

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