Beauty pageants may be full of gorgeous women, but things can turn ugly fast. Just ask Steve Harvey.
In December 2015, he incorrectly read the results card while hosting the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, and consequently crowned the wrong woman queen. Then, as Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, celebrated her supposed victory, Harvey walked back onstage and told the crowd, "I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Colombia." So, the tiara was awkwardly removed from Gutierrez's head and placed on the stunned Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
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Miss PR's anti-Muslim Twitter rant
In December 2015, Miss Puerto Rico, Destiny Velez, who participated in the 2016 Miss America contest, was suspended from the pageants indefinitely for posting a series of anti-Muslim messages on Twitter. In addition to other things, Velez tweeted, "there's NO comparison between Jews, Christians & Muslims. Jews nor Christians have terrorizing agendas in their sacred books," and "all what Muslims have done is provided oil & terrorize this country & many others!!!!!!."
She has since apologized, tweeting "I am first and foremost an #UpStander and as such I stand up against bullying. The last thing I wanted to do was to bully anyone."
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Beauty queen gone gangsta
Just two months after she was crowned Miss Hispanic America, 23-year-old Laura Zuniga was arrested trying to get through a military checkpoint in Mexico with suspected gang members in a truck filled with guns and ammunition. Soldiers found a large stash of weapons in the back, including two AR-15 assault rifles, .38 specials, 9mm handguns, nine magazines, 633 cartridges and $53,300 in U.S. currency. Zuniga told police she was planning on traveling to Bolivia and Colombia with the men to go shopping.
She was later dethroned for her involvement in the scandal.
Miss Teen SC flubs a question
In August 2007, a clip from the Miss Teen USA pageant became the stuff of viral legend, when Miss South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, was asked why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map.
"I personally believe that U. S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps," she responded. "And I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U. S. should help the U. S., or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq, and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children."
Beauty queen fakes cancer
Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, 23,who won the crown at 2015's Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International Pageant, is accused of faking cancer so she could pocket more than $14,000 in donations. The young beauty queen allegedly told family, friends and well-wishers that she needed the money to pay for leukemia treatments, even shaving her head and visiting various hospitals to keep up the ruse.
Weaver-Gates is now charged with theft by deception and the receipt of stolen property. She traded in her sash and crown and was jailed.
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Vanessa Williams & Playboy
In September 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. Fans praised her for conquering the pageant's longtime racial barriers and she became an instant celebrity. Her reign was quickly tarnished, however, when Penthouse magazine published sexually explicit photographs of her taken several years earlier. As a result, Williams resigned her crown.
Vanessa Williams comes full circle
Vanessa Williams went on to have a successful career in film, television, music and theater, scoring a number of radio hits and even appearing on Broadway. Then in 2015, three decades after she gave up the Miss America crown, she was invited back to serve as head judge for the 2016 competition.
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Miss Honduras murdered
In November 2014, Miss Honduras, María José Alvarado, and her sister Sofia went missing after visiting a spa in Santa Barbara to celebrate the birthday of Sofia's boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz. Six days later, their bodies were found buried near the spa.
Ruiz confessed to shooting the two women with an accomplice and then burying the bodies in a river bank so they would decompose quicker.
Miss Honduras murdered
Ruiz apparently shot his girlfriend, Sofia, because she was dancing with another man. He then shot María José at least twice in the back as she tried to flee.
"They were not very astute about assessing the people around them. They were just friendly," the sisters' mother, Teresa Munoz, told Televicentro. "They were taken out by people they hadn't known very long."
Alvarado had been scheduled to compete in the Miss World 2014 pageant a few days after she was killed. Honduras did not compete in the contest that year, given the tragedy.
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The most talked about woman from the 2009 Miss USA pageant wasn't the winner. It was the runner-up -- Miss California, Carrie Prejean -- who stole the spotlight for the way in which she fielded a question about gay marriage from judge Perez Hilton.
"I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other," Prejean said. "We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be."
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More controversy for Prejean
And the controversy didn't stop there. About a month after the 2009 Miss USA pageant, it was revealed that the Miss California Pageant actually helped her pay for breast augmentation surgery. Why? To boost her confidence.
"It's not something that we endorse, nor is it something that we suggest," Miss California Pageant Co-Director Keith Lewis told "The Early Show." "But when we meet with the title-holder ... we put to her a litany of questions about how she feels about herself, what she feels she needs to work on, what she may need to change, what is good, what is not good. We want to put her in the best possible confidence in order to present herself in the best possible light on a national stage."
Then, topless photos of Prejean surfaced and controversy erupted once again. Initially, Trump and the Miss California pageant decided that Prejean would be allowed to keep her crown, saying "we have determined ... that the pictures taken are fine."
In June 2009, however, she was fired from her post by the producers of the Miss California USA pageant, due to "contract issues." Prejean then sued the pageant for religious discrimination. They countersued over her unpaid breast implants. Then, according to NBC, the legal battle imploded when pageant organizers uncovered a sex tape featuring the religiously devout beauty queen.
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When six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in the basement of her house in December 1996, America erupted into a debate on the existence and ethics of child beauty pageants. Was Ramsey manipulated by her parents? Was she exploited?
Pictures flooded the media of the small beauty queen, made up to look more mature than her years. The strange details of her tragic case riveted the country. Sadly, though, it was never solved.
In April 2008, a Hispanic woman, named Christina Silva, won the Miss California USA contest, only to be asked to give up the title a few days later, due to an accounting mix-up. Silva in turn sued the pageant, alleging rigging and racial bias. The pageant's executive director, Keith Lewis, however, maintains those claims are unfounded.
"I've had three winners since I've been a director," Lewis said. "Two have been African American, two of four in the history of the state pageant. And the current Miss California USA is 25 percent Filipino ... I think my record speaks for itself."
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Beauty queen killed in shootout
In February 2012, 20-year-old Maria Susana Flores Gamez was voted the Woman of Sinaloa. A few months later, she was killed during a shootout between Mexican soldiers and members of a drug cartel. The young beauty queen's body was found lying near an assault rifle on a rural road in the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa. It was unclear whether she had used the weapon in the gun battle.
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Miss USA goes wild
When 20-year-old Kentucky native Tara Conner was crowned Miss USA 2006, she moved to New York and became a staple in both the city's bars and on its gossip pages. Rumors of drug use, underage drinking and promiscuity swirled, prompting pageant organizers to put out a statement saying, "The Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Donald J. Trump will be evaluating her behavioral and personal issues to see what we can do to work with her and what we will do about her reign going forward."
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Trump to the rescue
In the end, pageant owner Donald Trump allowed Conner to keep her Miss USA crown, as long as she entered rehab. So, the young woman resumed her Miss USA duties after a stint in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center.
Here, Trump and Conner embrace at a press conference regarding her career in New York City, December 19, 2006.