A Fresh-Faced California Girl Is Crowned as This Year's 'Face of the '80s'

updated 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Three years ago the Ford modeling agency conducted a worldwide beauty contest and grandly declared the winner the "Face of the '80s." The competition received lots of valuable media coverage for the agency. Aha, cried the fickle folk at Ford. Sometimes a great notion works more than once. So, like savvy Hollywood moguls, they came out with a sequel a year later.

Last month a lovely California lass named Carrie Miller nailed down the lead in "Face of the '80s, Part III." The first American to be so honored, Miller is a lissome (5'9", 120 pounds) 18-year-old from Fresno. "I was so ugly as a little girl," insists the daughter of an upholstery shop owner. As a student at Fresno's Hoover High, she was more interested in sports than she was in fashion. Yet while Carrie was working in a mall boutique after graduation last summer, a photographer friend convinced her to daub on some blusher, fluff out her curls and pose. They mailed the results to top model scout Nina Blanchard in Los Angeles. One look convinced Blanchard to drive north to see Miller, and a call to New York ("I've found a beauty up in Fresno") sparked Eileen Ford's interest. Gazing into Miller's gold-flecked gray eyes, Ford saw a future cover girl. "She reminds me of a young Lauren Bacall," says Ford.

Like the two previous winners of this coveted title (Anette Stai of Norway and Renée Simonsen of Denmark), the chestnut-haired beauty went to live with Eileen and husband Jerry Ford in New York for a couple of months. The fast life of a high-fashion model, though, is separating Miller from the man and mountains she loves. Her boyfriend, Scott Oliver, 20, remains in Fresno. And Manhattan's skyscrapers will never replace the Sierra Nevada. "When I look outside now," laments Carrie, "I don't see any mountains. I feel insecure." Considering her contract with the Ford agency, which guarantees a mininum of $250,000 spread over the next three years, that's about the only thing Miller has to feel insecure about.

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