Drop Dead, Gorgeous

Congratulations, you're Miss Arizona. Better keep your friends close and your enemies closer

The day after the anniversary, she says, Rich called to let her know she'd missed the deadline. She'd lost the scholarship.

In April, Rose went to Sierra Vista to host its local pageant, the duty of the current Miss Arizona. Her fiancé, Brant Roberts, came along to check out the nearby Kartchner Caverns.

Many boyfriends would chafe under the restrictions of Miss America, which wants every state titleholder to at least feign virginity. But Rose and Roberts are both devout Mormons, so they were on board already. Roberts booked a room of his own in a different hotel.

Monica Rich (left), with Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001.
Lynn Ray
Monica Rich (left), with Kapri Rose, Miss Arizona 2001.
Trudy Hill at first found it hard to relate to Miss America's glamour.
Mark Skalny
Trudy Hill at first found it hard to relate to Miss America's glamour.

That night, Rose relaxed in the hotel's hot tub. Roberts, naturally, joined her, sporting swim trunks to her one-piece Speedo.

But when Rich stopped into the pool area to say "good night," she was oddly giggly. "Oh!" she cried, in her best I-didn't-mean-to-interrupt voice. "Good night, Kapri!"

The story was soon the talk of the Miss Arizona organization. Everyone knew Rich had caught Kapri Rose in the hot tub with her fiancé, making out. It only took a few weeks for the story to become that they'd been having sex.

That spring, Roberts got a summons to talk to their stake president, a leader in the Mormon Church.

Someone, the church leader had told Roberts, had called him. The caller alleged that the couple had been engaging in "immoral acts" and shouldn't be allowed to get married in the Mormon temple -- the pinnacle of the Mormon experience, and reserved only for couples that have stayed pure.

Roberts was stunned. He knew they'd been chaste.

Then he remembered the funny look on Rich's face that night in the hotel.

He asked, "Is this about a hot tub in Sierra Vista?" The stake president affirmed that it was.

Roberts had spent the year telling Rose to calm down, that Rich's true character would eventually reveal itself. But that day, he was livid.

Rose believed that Rich was the caller -- or had, at minimum, asked one of her underlings to make it. Almost two years would pass before her suspicions were confirmed, when Corrie Hill told her that Rich had boasted about making the call.

Kapri Rose gave up her crown on June 30, 2002, and got married three days later, in the temple. "The church leadership knew who I was, and what I will do and won't do," she says.

Two years passed. Rose tried to forget Monica Rich.

And then she got the phone call that changed everything.

Rose knew the caller, Trudy Hill, only distantly. Corrie Hill was a few months into her career as Miss Arizona, and the Hills were hearing reports of awful things that Rich had supposedly said about Corrie.

"Then, all of a sudden," Trudy said, "we thought of what she'd said about you."

"And that," Rose says, "was one of the best days of my life."

It wasn't until the final week of Corrie's reign, in June 2004, that the two contestants gave any public indication that they'd been commiserating. Trudy invited Rose to join them at rehearsals for the state pageant, which Corrie was hosting. When Rose arrived, Trudy waved her over and gave her a hug.

The next day, Miss Arizona closed rehearsals -- something that had never been done before, Fryer says. The producer said that the girls had complained about having so many spectators.

"We knew it was a bunch of B.S.," Fryer says. "We'd been in rehearsals with them for three days."

It wasn't the girls who had a problem, Fryer says. It was the administrators.

"They just couldn't stand that people were friends with Kapri."

Petite, blond, and girl-next-door cute, Jaime Fryer was Little Miss Arizona, Miss Sierra Vista, and Miss Scottsdale. But she got married young and dropped out of pageants.

In 2000, she got a call from Monica Rich. How would she like to run a local pageant?

At 22, Fryer was a working mom with a three-month-old baby. But she accepted the job, and found she enjoyed it. Her mother, Cindy Boughan, who'd competed in pageants as a girl in Idaho, also began running one.

Rich seemed to like the work of both mother and daughter. Fryer produces recent e-mails where Rich praises her pageants as consistently "first-rate." When Boughan contemplated taking a break in 2004, Rich seemed disappointed.

That all changed last April.

Hoping, Trudy Hill says, to kill the pageant's leaders with kindness, the Hills offered to sponsor a $100 scholarship at each local pageant in honor of Irv Hill's sister, who had recently died of breast cancer. But after announcing their plans, Trudy got a snippy e-mail from Granzella, the state vice president: "PERSONAL OPINION: I only wish that you would have made such a donation to the state program first, as Corrie is Miss Arizona."

So Trudy started to think. "I'd drink a lot of coffee, get fired up, and come up with some fund-raising ideas," she says. But Rich just blew her off.

When a new woman, Kristen Snair, joined the board, Trudy gave her a call. She wanted her to come to a meeting to brainstorm new ideas. She planned to invite some people, including Jaime Fryer.

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