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Will this queen switch allegiance to the green?

Giants fan mulls an eye-popping switch: To the Eagles.

A Miss Liberty Bell title, one of many commemorated in her living room, gives Sondra Fortunato a head start if she decides to anoint Philadelphia's NFL franchise as the one she will support. "I'm not flaunting myself just for myself," she says. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)
A Miss Liberty Bell title, one of many commemorated in her living room, gives Sondra Fortunato a head start if she decides to anoint Philadelphia's NFL franchise as the one she will support. "I'm not flaunting myself just for myself," she says. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)Read more

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - These days there are only two things Sondra Fortunato doesn't like to discuss: her age and her bra size.

Just about anything else is fair game, especially the last 30 years of cheering on the New York Giants with her own brand of voluptuous team spirit.

Picture Dolly Parton - with a Jersey accent.

And as a walking, talking, hand-lettered, laminated billboard of catchy slogans. From Toms River to New York, Atlantic City to Philadelphia, Fortunato appears at games, parades, building dedications, and just about any other public event cinched in frothy lollipop-colored prom gowns, a cross between Jayne Mansfield and the Wizard of Oz's Glinda the Good.

Atop her platinum-blond head is usually a rhinestone crown with another handmade sign taped across the front: "Celebrity Queen."

But a run-in with Giants management has Fortunato considering shifting her NFL allegiance next season to - gasp - the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It would be hard, it really would be after all these years, to say goodbye to the Giants. But, hey, if Philly loves me, then I could love Philly," said the 50-something Fortunato, standing amid a clutter of Sondra memorabilia in the vast foyer of her Tara-like Toms River home - named, of course, Sondra Estate.

The question is whether Philly's bleed-green fans would welcome a woman who, for three decades, has thrust her chest forward like a ship's figurehead to unabashedly represent the Eagles' archrivals.

Both teams remain mum on the subject.

At the Dec. 7 Eagles-Giants game, Fortunato said, she was escorted to the drunk tank in the bowels of Giants Stadium and not so politely told her to tone down her style, leave the signs at home, and wear a turtleneck next time.

When asked about the incident, Giants management referred only to a fan code of conduct issued by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which runs Giants Stadium and the rest of the Meadowlands sports complex. The code requires guests to "enjoy the event experience free from disruptive behavior" and forbids "obscene or indecent messages or signs or clothing."

Fortunato had dressed for the game like a Santa Claus out of Frederick's of Hollywood: high-heeled boots, fishnet stockings, a red bathing-suit bottom, and a deeply cut Santa sweater coat.

She carried a suitcase full of Toys for Tots donations and two of her trademark signs. One read "Go Giants," and the other, referring to wide receiver Plaxico Burress' legal troubles, said, "Have a No-Guns Christmas."

"The cheerleaders wear less than I had on," Fortunato said. "For years, my appearance was welcomed at the games to cheer on a team that I love with all my heart and is like family to me. Now, all of a sudden, they want me to come dressed like a regular person."

In her prime in the 1980s, Fortunato boasted a few Hall of Fame numbers of her own: 38-22-35. Newspaper clippings from shortly after she was named Miss Body Beautiful USA in 1982 recount a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden during which Fortunato, dressed in a tight, hot-pink jumpsuit, received a standing ovation from thousands of fans merely for entering the arena and finding her seat.

The experience gave Fortunato a sense of herself and the power to become her own enterprise, she said.

"One of the things I always remember my mother saying is that if someone is taking your picture, it means they love you," said Fortunato, whose parents died when she was a teen. A brother and two sisters, more than 20 years older than she, cared for her with the help of aunts and uncles.

"But I knew then I had to make it on my own," said Fortunato, who earned a bachelor's degree in education from Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey). She taught elementary school for a few years until her modeling career took off.

Winning more than 40 pageants, she has been a Playboy bunny, Miss Super Bowl, Miss NBA, and Miss NFL Draft Day. She has had bit parts in movies and rock videos.

The entire downstairs of her brick home, formerly owned by a Johnson & Johnson executive, is a Sondra-seum.

The walls, floors and furniture are littered with framed photos of her with celebrities, signs, banners, beauty-pageant sashes, autographed pictures, magazine covers, newspaper clippings commemorating four decades of self-promotion.

Memorabilia also cover the sofas and cocktail table in the living room. A prewired Christmas tree lacks decorations beyond pictures of Fortunato and laminated signs.

"I'm not flaunting myself just for myself. I am trying to do something positive for other people," insisted Fortunato, who said she had raised millions of dollars for charities.

The nonprofit Help U.S. Troops Inc. has named Fortunato Miss Liberty USA for three years running "in honor and recognition of her hard work and selflessness for the benefit of charitable efforts nationwide," said the organization's president, James M. Ouimet.

So she doesn't mind when people ogle her, often failing to look in her deep blue eyes, instead staring squarely at her chest.

"I understand that all of us have certain gifts, and as long I'm using my gifts for something positive, then it's fine for them to stare," said Fortunato, who once wore a "No Steroids Here" sign attached to a strapless a Vera Wang gown.

She's known in Ocean County by her "Sondra-Mobiles," two-decade-old Cadillacs, with hand-lettered laminated signs taped to them.

"People know me wherever I go," Fortunato said. "It's what I do. I guess I'm like Miss Everything."