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Miss Arizona 2001: Kapri Rose
On to Miss America

Information about the current Miss Arizona competition may be found by clicking here.

Kapri Rose, who came to the Miss Arizona 2001 Pageant as Miss Gilbert, was awarded the crown at the Miss Arizona Pageant held in Mesa, Arizona on June 30, 2001. She will travel to Atlantic City, New Jersey to compete for the Miss America title on Saturday, September 22, 2001.

Kapri Rose has a very busy schedule, but she graciously agreed to an interview. Here are the questions I posed and the answers she provided:

J. Hedding: What made you get involved in pageants and what previous competitions did you participate in, if any?

Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001: Like many little girls, I used to watch the Miss America Pageant. I dreamt of being in Miss America but I had filed it into the "never gonna happen" category of life. Later in my teen years, I was approached after a piano contest by a woman who was affiliated with pageants who said to me, "How would you like to make money for college while playing your piano?" Thinking she would probably say something about playing for weddings or doing more piano contests, I was surprised when she mentioned pageants. After that day, I thought nothing more of it until a year and a half ago when I was a senior at Highland High School and some of my friends mentioned they were going to do the Junior Miss Pageant to get money for college. They mentioned the different categories…interview, fitness, poise, and talent and I thought, "Here is what that woman was talking about…making money while playing the piano!" I jumped at the opportunity and signed up. Before long I found myself winning the Gilbert Junior Miss Pageant. I went on to be 1st runner-up at Arizona Junior Miss last March. I found I really enjoyed pageants, the opportunities they offered me, the people I was able to meet, and the scholarship money I received to help me through dental school. At the last minute, I decided to compete for the title of Miss Gilbert in November of 2000 and to my utter surprise, I won! I was going to school at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah at the time so between winning Miss Gilbert and the end of my freshman year at BYU, I flew home about 7 times to make different appearances and work on my platform. I returned from BYU in May and worked hard to get ready for the Miss Arizona pageant.  Again, to my surprise, I won the title of Miss Arizona. Most of the people who know me cannot believe that the girl who many label as a "tomboy" now has a crown on her head.

J. Hedding:
What is your platform and why did you pick it?

Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001: My platform is Down Syndrome: A Child First, A Disability Second. The main reason I chose this platform was because of my first cousin, Ben. A "Ben Hug" starts the minute he enters the room and spots me, his subject. There's a gleam in his almond-shaped eyes as he plots his approach. Next, a flurry of movement as he bounds across the room. Then, the embrace -- a strong-armed, lingering clamp of love. He is 11 years old, but he can leave bruises. Yes, he is that strong. He loves that much. Finally, there's the real hug, when Ben lets go, grins in my face, and I get a look at the joy in his eyes. That's the real magic of the "Ben Hug:" the light in his eyes at the end. Ben lives on my block and is my cousin, adopted into my uncle's family at birth. He has Down syndrome, and therefore a life marked with challenges. It's harder for Ben to prepare for life on his own, harder for him to learn to swim, and sadly, harder for him to make friends. But it is easier for Ben to love. Sadly, children like Ben are blessing fewer families across the nation. Because of widespread pre-natal testing and abortion, only one in every thousand babies born in the United States every year have Down Syndrome. In 1987, one in every six hundred babies had Down syndrome. Additionally, children with disabilities are abused more often than those without. Think of all of the "Ben Hugs, " marked by extraordinary strength and pure love that are disappearing. My neighbor Gina Johnson, mother of David, another child with Down Syndrome who blesses my life with hugs, gave me the opportunity to encourage prospective and current parents of these children to cherish the loving child they have been given. Gina founded Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona in 1991, a non-profit organization that offers education and support to parents, and invited me to join. These days, I get all sorts of hugs.

J. Hedding:
 What was in your thoughts as they announced the first runner up and you knew you had won the title of Miss Arizona?

Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001: As I stood there waiting for the results holding the hand of one of my favorite girls in the entire pageant, Nicole Lamarche, I knew I would walk away from this pageant happy as can be. I knew what an honor it was to stand there with Nicole; someone I felt was as beautiful on the inside as she was
on the outside, a truly genuine person. When they called Nicole as the first runner up, I remember thinking; "They announced the wrong name!"  When reality finally hit, my mind was filled with thoughts of Miss America, with the sheer joy of knowing all my hard work paid off, and with gratefulness for my family. I stopped long enough to spot my family, most of who were jumping up and down, but I couldn't see my number one support, my mom. I found out later, she had fallen over and was crying hysterically! After calming down to take pictures I thought of the whole Miss Arizona experience, the honor it was to win the Quality of Life Award for my sweet babies with Down Syndrome, and the chance I would have to represent my heritage and state at the Miss America Pageant and I knew, "It can't get much better than this!"

J. Hedding:
How will you prepare for the Miss America Pageant?

Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001: A few days after I won, I was hit with the devastating news that I would be
unable to play the piano piece I had worked so hard on and with which I won the title of Miss Arizona. Miss Tennessee was playing the same piece and since her pageant was first and there is a "no duplication" rule with talents at Miss America, I would have to come up with a new talent in 6 weeks. After being torn with the  decision for a week, I decided to switch talents all together and represent my western culture by playing a fiddle tune on the electric violin. Since I only have 6 weeks, most of my preparation goes into perfecting my new talent. I continue to work out, read the newspaper, and wrestle with the mounds of paperwork that come my way!

J. Hedding:
What is the thing that makes you the most nervous about competing for the Miss America crown?

Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001: Playing the electric fiddle in front of millions of people is enough for me to be nervous about. I suppose many girls would be scared they would trip while walking in their bathing suit across the stage. I would have to say I am scared that I will lose the grip on my violin bow and it will go flying and hit one of the judges in the eye. I could be wrong, but I don't think I get extra points for pulling a stunt like that!

Congratulations, Kapri. Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better. We'll all be cheering for you in September!

© 2001-2002 Judy Hedding, licensed to About.com
Photo of Miss Arizona Kapri Rose © 2000-2001 Judy Hedding, licensed to About.com

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