PROMOTIONAL SUMMARY: THE BEAUTY QUEEN
My book begins on the final night of the 1958 Miss America Pageant and, as Miss Arkansas and a finalist, I am performing my talent. Chosen by a series of judges to be the beauty queen, I was the illusion of perfection---the smile, the walk, the queenly elegance, and the ability to sing well. It didn’t matter I had an unhappy childhood; that a hint of sadness shadowed my perfect smile; or that my heart showed scars from abuse.
I remember disliking the pageant director for barking sleazy-sounding orders at rehearsal: “Smile, smile and keep smiling; no one cares if you’re having a shitty day, just do what it takes to charm your audience, sell your face and figure!” But there were pleasant memories, like the warmth of the spotlight, the endless applause and constant attention.
Always needy, I wanted so much for everyone to love me. My childhood world consisted mostly of pretend-playtime, of playing dress-up and play-acting. All those stage-worthy performances were well received.... by my bedroom mirror. My fantasy world helped me forget, momentarily, the sexual abuse I endured nightly at the hands of my mother.
I am not writing to gather sympathy, nor am I writing a tell-all book seeking revenge. Many revelations are funny, some tender and sweet, while others may seem a little naughty. But, the serious chapters are barefaced; the incidents are described---exactly as they happened. Those who assume I lived a life of privilege (and there are many) will read the facts and learn the truth.
My mother completely controlled me with fear, threats, and sexual abuse. As I grew older, she forced me to watch her interact sexually with my brother. Decades later, after becoming the first woman to successfully complete the journey of The Great Wall of China (All The Wall), I confronted my mother. Without saying a word, she pulled my father’s shotgun from under the bed, aimed it at me and--- I left her house. My mother died in 2011 and, based on her wishes, my two daughters abandoned me and inherited her estate. The expression: “Once a beauty queen, always a beauty queen” proved true. Even now, slightly-faded and alone, I continue to be the Beauty Queen.
The glamour days of singing, TV/Radio shows, onstage performances, and noteworthy affairs gradually ended; the constant job hunting, publicized firings, ongoing threats, legal controversies, are over. My reputation was burned-at-the-stake a long time ago. During the Bimbo Eruptions, the media attacked me so viciously I returned to China for ten years. Adversities have taught me well; I have evolved into a strong, seasoned survivor. The basis of my story isn’t pretty but sharing my deepest secrets allows me to shed years of shame and guilt. Let my " judges" determine the winner.
I can never shake the Clinton connection but it no longer intimidates me. Now more than ever, I know who I am. For decades--- my face and figure attracted the attention, approval, and love I so desperately craved. And, like the song lyrics say, I spent years “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
When I began writing my book, I had no plans to include Bill, thinking I’d never discussed the details of the long-ago affair so, why start now? On second thought, I realized it was time to share my side of the story; to tell what I learned from months of impulsive behavior. If the world salivated when they read about Bill wearing my black nightgown, they shouldn’t be disappointed with “the rest of the story.”
But the real story was and still remains--- Hillary. Hillary's serious involvement in my life forever-altered my ability to live-free. I detail how, in the nineties, her political machine used every tactic in their playbook to silence me. They kept digging, deeper and deeper, until they reached China and found me.
I’ve also included a little “pillow talk” about Bill’s foot fetish, fantasies, and confessions about his wife’s female interests. A well-known newspaper once singled me out as an “expert” on Hillary’s lesbian affairs. Trust me--- I’m no authority on lesbians but, as an Arkansas mayoral candidate, I had no choice but hold a press conference to deny being a lesbian.
Such shocking and salacious headlines dominated the state of Arkansas's evening news. One elderly and loyal supporter told a news reporter: “I know for sure that Sally isn’t a Lebanese. She was born in a very-small town in Missouri!”
Believe me when I say----I have no allegiance to politicians, pageants, people, or the state of Arkansas. I write about my lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s cult-like Quakers, multiple near-death experiences, FBI/CIA incidents, seven months on The Great Wall, bad-girl moments, personal involvement with the disabled, notorious love affairs, even the intimacy I shared with another Arkansas governor, Winthrop Rockefeller.
Even now, every day presents a different challenge yet, with so many highs and lows, my life has introduced me to one over-looked fact: I am highly- intelligent....I'm smart.
It was while living through a good-old-boy-style divorce, parenting two daughters, withstanding the intensity of job hunting and demeaning interviews, constant money pressures, and my mother’s incessant, long-distance control, I learned to appreciate my brain. Yes, I'm confident I can do many things well, including singing but--- respecting my intelligence evolved slowly--- like an awakening.
Because of my mother's punishing control, I never felt smart or worthy of praise. In the fifties, being “smart” wasn’t as important as being pretty and popular. Over time, with physical beauty receding, I began to like- even admire- the smart person I saw in the mirror. At the age of sixty seven, I returned to college for an advanced degree. I was the oldest student and the only student in education named to the Dean’s List. Yes, I earned and paid-for my Masters based on my intelligence-- not my looks, and--- despite my age.
My book ends on a high note. I’m still looking for a stage so I can catch-up on my singing. I believe it’s never too late to follow dreams.
Please note: After my 1973 divorce, I kept my married name, Sally Miller Perdue until 2003, when I legally returned to my birth name-- Myra Belle Miller.
But I'm still.... simply... Sally.