Conveniently just in time for the live webcast of the Miss USA pageant tomorrow night, there’s a BIG CONTROVERSY stirring up lots of press for the event. (And since I know it’s hard to keep your pageants straight, this is not Miss America. This is the pageant that brought us Carrie Prejean, the one which Donald Trump owns, which sends its winner to Miss Universe, and which was featured in that MTV reality series “Pageant Place.”) A few days ago, Miss USA unveiled its promo photos, showing the contestants in racy lingerie, posing on beds in all sorts of suggestive ways. Apparently, some of the women were not OK with the shoot. Because everyone loves a good beauty pageant scandal, right?The state director in charge of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Louisiana said that she got calls from two of her contestants. “They happened to have gone up in the room and they saw what was taking place, and they called concerned,” she said. “My best advice to them was just to not compromise yourself. They made sure their breasts were covered and that they weren’t in provocative attire. They knew that their family was going to see these. They were concerned, knowing that they had to participate in order to be competitive.”
However, the Miss Universe organization has launched a campaign to defend the photos. The President of Miss Universe went on CBS this morning to speak about the images. “We’ve been cutting edge for a long time. We were created by a swimsuit company,” she said. “If you see the photos, they’re very classy. They’re art. I think everybody felt very comfortable with the shoot.”
Well, she’s right about Miss USA being created by a swimsuit company. But it was ironically created over a publicity photo stir-up. In 1950, Miss America winner Yolande Betbeze was offended at being asked to pose for a photo in a swimsuit. She complained to a pageant sponsor, Catalina Swimwear, which pulled their money and founded the Miss USA pageant to be more wholesome.
So is this a big deal? Not really—I’ve seen more questionable photos on billboards at the side of the road. Like I said, this has publicity stunt written all over it.