Lisa Stevens may be wearing a crown, but the new Mrs. Utah - a pretty 28-year-old mother of two - still considers herself "just one of the women."
She says she's one of the state's 311,000 working women and one of its 245,000 mothers who have children at home.She also says she's one of America's estimated 1.8 million women, including thousands in Utah, who has been beaten by her (former) husband.
"I am really looking forward to this year. I am looking forward to speaking to a lot of women's groups - especially those in the battered women's centers, because I've been there. I want to tell them that no one has to settle for anything less than what they really want," said Stevens, whose candor belies the superficiality of the beauty queen stereotype.
Stevens - who admits she's a blonde only "with coloring" and stands 5 feet 7 inches tall "only when I stretch" - is equally candid about her first marriage and the lessons she learned from it.
Mr. Right had become abusive - both with drugs and his young wife, she said.
"I had read about it (physical and verbal abuse) and saw other women in that position, and then one day I woke up and found myself faced with it," she said. "It was something I hadn't bargained for. I tried to pretend it wasn't happening, but I knew better."
Stevens had grown up without a father in the home. But she had strong ideas of what a father's role should be.
"When I found it was not coming out the way I had dreamed, I was out," she said. "I had to leave to protect me and my 9-month-old son."
Stevens left the couple's Ogden home with no money, no job and nowhere to go.
"I could have fled home to Mom (in South Carolina), but I thought that was a cop-out. I knew they had organizations out there to help women like me."
In a shelter for battered women, she and her son hid from an angry man who "wanted some type of control over me.
"He looked everywhere for me. I think if he had found me, he would have killed me," she said. "When I took control and left it was a slap in his face."
"I continued to hold the institution of marriage in high esteem, but I didn't want to compromise any less than what my high ideals were.
While in the shelter, she filed for divorce. Three months after her marriage was dissolved, a more mature, independent mother married Robb Stevens, her companion for the past four years.
Together the couple - parents of David Robb, 5, and Rachael, 2 - manage Giant Steps Condominiums in Brian Head Ski resort. Lisa is also in charge of home owner relations for the Brian Head Hotel.
Last weekend, when she was named top winner out of 21 contestants during the Mrs. Utah pageant, she also became an unofficial spokesperson for Utah women.
Her first message to them is this: "No matter how bleak and hopeless it looks, the bottom line is this: You are responsible for your life . . . No one has to settle for anything less than their dreams."
2 Osmonds honored
During the Mrs. Utah ceremonies Saturday at Woods Cross High School, entertainer Marie Oasmond and her Mother, Olive Osmond, were honored as Outstnading Women of the Year."
The tribute came for the "example they set of family and marriage, and for their work with the Childern's Miracle Network."
The annual telethon, which raises millions of dollars for hospitalized children, was originated in Utah by Olive Osmond.