Fowler, the daughter of Mr and Mrs N. W. Fowler, graduated from Banks High School in 1966 and completed a bachelor's degree in music from Birmingham-Southern College. She had been a long-time member of the choir at Ruhama Baptist Church and a soloist at Independent Presbyterian Church.
Fowler was chosen as Alabama's Junior Miss in 1966 and was a runner-up to Becky Alford in the 1968 Miss Alabama pageant and to Dellynne Catching the following year. In the 1970 Miss Alabama pageant, which concluded on July 5, 1969, she sang the contemporary hit songs "Promises, Promises" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again".
In order to fulfill her duties as Miss Alabama and prepare for national competition, Fowler resigned from her newly-offered job in Congressman John Buchanan Jr's office. One of her public appearances that year was on Alabama's float in President Richard Nixon's inaugural parade. She also accompanied a USO tour to visit U.S. Marines in South Vietnam and her appearance made the December 1970 cover of Leatherneck magazine.
Fowler's career plan was to go into television or advertising. She was introduced to ABC Sports president Roone Arledge by Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. She became Arledge's second wife on September 1, 1975. The couple divorced ten years later. Fowler still resides in Arledge's former Upper East Side apartment.