Shawn Nichols Weatherly, 21, former Miss U.S.A. and crowned Miss Universe on July 7, has been in so many beauty contests that she's taking the awesome ultimate-ness of her title in stride. She was mobbed in Guatemala, but then, she says, "So was Mickey Mouse -- he was there a few months before me."
Yesterday she got to do "the biggest thing I've done" -- meeting Jimmy Carter, the man she named on her Miss Universe application as the greatest person in the world.
President Carter, whom she described as looking "a little worried and a little detached," allowed Weatherly and the new Miss U.S.A., Jineane Marie Ford, to simultaneously kiss him in the Oval Office yesterday. He told them, "This is a great day for America."
Steve Solomon, Miss Universe's public relations director, said it was "especially nice" of President Carter to take time out of his very busy schedule to spend 10 to 15 minutes with them yesterday. "But," he added, "President Ford in 1976 seemed to spend more time with the girls and even showed them his dogs and the pool."
So went the 11:45-12 noon slot on the president's schedule.
After hearing Tuesday that the president could squeeze them in the next day, Miss Universe and Miss U.S.A. -- who share a specially provided apartment in New York City as well as a chaperone -- spent the evening frantically trying on everything in their closets deciding what to wear.
Weatherly, who is the first Miss U.S.A. to win the Miss Universe title since 1967, has a tall, healthy figure, blue-shadowed blue eyes, and blonde mane Farrah-style (her biography says she's a Leo) and just the right touch of a South Carolina accent, being from Sumter.
She says spending all day in front of a mirror or at the hairdressers is not for her. She's lucky that the beehive-hairdo beauty queen era has ended. "I'd rather sleep," she says, "than primp."
She looks as if she means it. "If you let all this go to your head, it would be very tough after the year is up." A make-up camouflaged bump, on her face doesn't seem to faze her. Nor does the fact that she and Ford sometimes have to chaperone their chaperone. But when the word "crown" is mentioned, she cringes and says they only make her wear it with evening gowns.
The year as Miss Universe will bring her $100,000 worth of cash and prizes -- including the furs and the car and the other glittery trappings -- in addition to the $75,000 she won in the Miss U.S.A. pageant last March. And she did get to meet the president.
Weatherly says she had hoped to catch a glimpse of Rosalynn or Amy Carter, too, plus more of the house, but that the president was whisked off to his next appointment with the Olympians. But she may have another chance. The president said she could "stop by any time."