One of the most wonderful ladies I have had the opportunity to meet and call my friend is Deborah Norville. You may know her as the two-time Emmy winning anchor of television’s Inside Edition, a top-rated syndicated newsmagazine, and New York Times best selling author. But what fascinated me about her was that she used sewing as her talent to win the Georgia Junior Miss Pageant. That title lead to her media career, a story Deborah recounted (with photos) at our Southern Lady Celebration years ago, and the ladies just loved it. As she told it:
“My entire career in television is attributable to one weekend during the fall of my senior year in high school. It was the weekend after football playoffs and before the SAT tests. Having nothing else to do, I decided on a lark to enter the Whitfield County, Georgia, Junior Miss Pageant. I won! That look of stunned surprise on my face is because my talent was sewing! The shock was bigger when I won Georgia’s Junior Miss. The sponsors of the pageant asked me, ‘Don’t you sing when you sew or tap dance when you sew?’ ‘Nope,’ I replied. ‘I pretty much just sit there and sew.’
Again, they no doubt sighed, Georgia wouldn’t win at America’s Junior Miss. And to think, my talent was sewing and I still won!”
She delights in sharing her thoughts on how sewing gave her confidence to enter pageants, to work in the media spotlight, and to start her latest endeavor; a line of soft, subtle yarns for knit and crochet enthusiasts. “Confidence comes from making something,” she says, “If you have self-esteem issues, you should go out and make something!” It certainly has worked for her.
Born in Dalton, Georgia, Deborah began sewing when she was 5 years old, making beautiful clothes for her Barbie doll. In junior high, if she wanted something fashionable, she made it. By high school, she made her own clothes and was most proud of her prom dress. When she married, she made all the bridesmaids’ dresses and the junior bridesmaid’s outfit. She perfected her sewing to skills of couture sewing. “Sewing a couture piece is hard; interviewing the president is a piece of cake!” says Deborah, whose dad worked in the carpet industry in Dalton, dubbed “The Carpet Capital of the World.” She learned to knit and crochet using carpet yarn, which was a little rough, but as she notes, that was all she had. Her own yarn, the Deborah Norville Yarn Collection, is a line of high-quality yarn produced in partnership with Premiere Yarns. Quite a change from carpet yarns!
Do you knit or crochet?