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Ken Hays, 25, stays at least one step ahead of world leaders. He saved then Irish PM Jack Lynch from landing in a cow pie while visiting Texas last year and is Jimmy Carter’s advance man for state tours. Yet when he became America’s assistant chief of protocol, the youngest ever, in 1977, Hays had never been out of the continental U.S. He has since traveled to more than 20 countries and coordinated what he claims is history’s largest gathering of chiefs of state—18—at the signing of the Panama Canal Treaties. Hays says that one of the most embarrassing muck-ups came when the wrong national anthem was played for visiting Rumanians. “They had just changed it,” he explains. Born to a Signal Mountain, Tenn. restaurateur and an accountant, Hays bucked the family’s longstanding GOP ties and at 17 became a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention—also the youngest ever. Then, while at George Washington University, he got a summer staff job on the House committee considering the impeachment of Richard Nixon. By junior year he dropped out to become a coordinator for the Carter campaign. His reward: the $30,000-a-year protocol post. Currently dating a Peace Corps worker, Hays wants to complete his education and return to Tennessee. “Washington is a crazy city,” he notes, “and I eventually want a stable life.”

Renée (right) and Ramona Rolle, 21, have even more going for them than meets the eye: They are both grad students in petroleum engineering at Stanford. Not quite identical (Renée at 5’10½” and 130 pounds is one inch taller and five pounds heavier), the twins have, on the side, collected a shelf full of beauty pageant trophies. They have also won substantial merchandise and cash prizes—which helped support their education after their parents separated. Their father, a retired Army officer, met their mother in Germany, but she’s now a secretary in San Francisco. In their first face-off—the 1975 Daly City Junior Miss Contest—Ramona beat out her sister, thanks to her gymnastic dance in the talent competition. But then Renée edged out Ramona for two titles and made third runner-up in the 1979 Miss California Universe title. One judge tipped off Ramona about her problems: slightly bowed legs and a gap between her front teeth. Ramona got a dental retainer, began ballroom dancing and made it to second runner-up at the Miss World U.S.A. pageant last September. The twins, who share a one-bedroom apartment near the campus, already have a job offer from Exxon once they complete their studies. They will also continue to compete in the beauty biz. “As long as someone in the family wins,” says Renée, who just became Miss Santa Clara County of 1980, “it’s okay.”