Happened To...

An update on past news

Former Miss America
speaks for women
in Wal-Mart suit

Question: What ever happened to Carolyn Sapp, the first Miss Hawaii to be named Miss America in 1992?

Answer: Carolyn Sapp, now 37, became a motivational speaker, writer and activist against domestic violence when an abusive relationship with her boyfriend came to the media's attention shortly after her crowning.

But more recently Sapp has become a volunteer spokeswoman for a class-action lawsuit that charges Wal-Mart, the super-discount chain, with discrimination against women in pay and promotions.

The lawsuit, filed in 2001, represents 1.2 million women who worked for the megastore chain from 1998 to 2003.

She spoke with Star-Bulletin writer Mark Coleman in his "First Sunday" column while staying with her grandmother in Kalihi in February. Sapp spends most of her time in Washington state, where she first went up against Wal-Mart with her mother and the town over zoning violations, and Los Angeles, she said.

She said she met with the Citizens Against Reckless Development group in Hawaii, who are opposing the Wal-Mart development along Keeau-moku Street.

Sapp became the unofficial spokeswoman for the plaintiffs last year and started her Web site,, to keep readers updated. She has rallies scheduled all across the United States.

One day, "I would still like to come back to Hawaii and involve myself politically," said Sapp, a Hawaii Pacific University graduate.

Sapp starred in a movie portraying her personal struggle against domestic abuse in "Miss America: Behind the Crown" during her reign.

She later founded Safe Places for Abused Women and Children, which still provides shelter for victims, and an organization called Give Back the Smile, to repair damage done to women's mouths during domestic violence.

Ever wonder what happened to a person, event or issue that has been in the news? We'll find out for you if you e-mail us at, call us at 529-4747 or write 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI 96813. "What Ever Happened to ..." runs Saturdays.



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