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Thread: Beauty Pageants

  1. #181
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    Miss Texas Averie Bishop

    Former Miss Texas Averie Bishop challenges Republican Angie Chen Button for state House seat
    by Brady Knox, Breaking News Reporter
    August 22, 2023 10:14 PM

    The liberal former Miss Texas, Averie Bishop, is challenging Texas GOP state Rep. Angie Chen Button for her seat.

    Bishop, 26, drew national attention for her outspoken criticism of conservatives in a generally conservative state, using her position to advocate liberal causes such as abortion access, gun control, and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Her outspokenness regarding politics was a break from pageant tradition. She is now running for public office against a longtime Republican representative.


    Miss Texas 2022 Averie Bishop pauses on the red carpet during the Miss America competition at the Mohegan Sun casino, in Uncasville, Conn., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
    Steven Senne/AP

    In a statement obtained by the Texas Tribune, Bishop let the direction of her campaign be known.

    “I know what it’s like to grow up in a small town and never see leaders who looked like me, let alone who fought for me,” it said. “It’s time for the next generation of Texans to lead — to protect our state’s environment and economy, to safeguard our schools and our right to education, and to truly represent the majority of this great state.”

    The influencer grew her platform through the use of the social media platform TikTok, through which she advocated liberal causes to a large audience. She has personally lobbied the state legislature for several issues, including support for DEI programs.

    Bishop's opponent, Button, has held her seat since 2009. In 2020, she won by roughly 300 votes in a district that voted for President Joe Biden by a margin of 9 percentage points.
    This sounds like a race worth watching...
    Gene Ching
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  2. #182
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    Candace Kanavel

    Candace Kanavel to become 1st law enforcement officer to compete in Miss USA

    By Yi-Jin Yu
    September 28, 2023, 6:48 am

    Candace Kanavel wears many hats and ... a tiara!

    The Tempe, Arizona, SWAT team member is set to become the first law enforcement officer to compete in the Miss USA pageant Friday, according to a press release from the Tempe Police Department.

    "I want to give people who aren't in law enforcement a little insight into what officers are like," Kanavel told Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV. "We have hobbies, we have families, we have all these different things outside of what we do for a living."


    In a photo posted to her Instagram account, Candace Kanavel is seen holding her tiara and sash while wearing her police uniform.
    @candacekanavel/Instagram
    The 27-year-old, one of Tempe Police Department's SWAT hostage negotiators, was crowned Miss Arizona in May and said the roles share many things in common.

    "When I'm in my police uniform, I'm empowered to help people. And when I'm in my sash and crown, I'm empowered to help people," Kanavel, who is Japanese American, said. "And so I'm doing the same job, just in a different uniform."


    In a photo posted to her Instagram account, Miss Arizona USA, Candace Kanavel, is seen wearing her tiara and sash on the Arizona State University campus.
    @candacekavanel/Instagram

    MORE: For the first time, Texas represented by Asian American women in Miss USA and Miss America pageants
    Kanavel said she encourages others to embrace all their interests and to live fearlessly.

    "I think in society, we get put in boxes a lot and we're confined by that box but I think what my message is to people is that you don't have to be limited to that box," she added. "I can do it all and so can everybody else."

    In addition to vying for the crown, Kanavel revealed in an Instagram post that one of her next goals is to meet "Miss Congeniality" star Sandra Bullock, who portrayed FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart who goes undercover at a beauty pageant in the 2000 film.

    The 2023 Miss USA pageant will be held at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada, and the winner will be crowned by Miss USA 2022, Morgan Romano of North Carolina.
    Hello officer!
    Gene Ching
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  3. #183
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    Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios won the Miss Universe competition

    Nicaragua's Miss Universe Title Win Exposes Deep Political Divide
    November 26, 2023 3:12 AM
    Associated Press


    Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios reacts after being crowned Miss Universe at the 72nd Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in San Salvador, El Salvador, Nov. 18, 2023.

    MEXICO CITY —
    Nicaragua's increasingly isolated and repressive government thought it had scored a rare public relations victory last week when Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios won the Miss Universe competition.

    But the "legitimate joy and pride" President Daniel Ortega's government expressed in a statement Sunday after the win quickly turned to angry condemnation, after it emerged that Palacios graduated from a college that was the center of 2018 protests against the regime — and apparently participated in the marches.

    Ordinary Nicaraguans — who are largely forbidden to protest or carry the national flag in marches — took advantage of the Saturday night Miss Universe win as a rare opportunity to celebrate in the streets.

    Their use of the blue-and-white national flag, as opposed to Ortega's red-and-black Sandinista banner, didn't sit well with the government.

    Palacios' victory — along with photos she posted on Facebook in 2018 of herself participating in the protests — overjoyed Nicaragua's opposition.

    Roman Catholic Rev. Silvio Báez, one of dozens of priests who have been jailed or forced into exile by the government, congratulated Palacios in his social media accounts.

    "Thank you for bringing joy to our long-suffering country!," Báez wrote. "Thank you for giving us hope for a better future for our beautiful country!"

    With clunky rhetoric reminiscent of North Korea, Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo lashed out Wednesday at opposition social media sites (many run from exile) that celebrated Palacios' win as a victory for the opposition.

    "In these days of a new victory, we are seeing the evil, terrorist commentators making a clumsy and insulting attempt to turn what should be a beautiful and well-deserved moment of pride into destructive coup-mongering," Murillo said.

    Thousands have fled into exile since Nicaraguan security forces violently put down mass anti-government protests in 2018. Ortega says the protests were an attempted coup with foreign backing, aiming for his overthrow.

    Ortega's government seized and closed the Jesuit University of Central America in Nicaragua, which was a hub for 2018 protests against the Ortega regime, along with at least 26 other Nicaraguan universities.

    The government has also outlawed or closed more than 3,000 civic groups and non-governmental organizations, arrested and expelled opponents, stripped them of their citizenship and confiscated their assets.

    Palacios, who became the first Nicaraguan to win Miss Universe, has not commented on the situation.

    During the contest, Palacios, 23, said she wants to work to promote mental health after suffering debilitating bouts of anxiety herself. She also said she wants to work to close the salary gap between the genders so that women can work in any area.

    But on a since-deleted Facebook account under her name, Palacios posted photos of herself at a protest, writing she had initially been afraid of participating. "I didn't know whether to go, I was afraid of what might happen."

    Some who attended the march that day recall seeing the tall, striking Palacios there.

    The protests were quickly put down and in the end, human rights officials say 355 people were killed by government forces.
    So many scandals...seems as if that's how pageants get press nowadays.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #184
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    Karen Celebertti

    Miss Nicaragua pageant director announces her retirement after accusations of ‘conspiracy’


    1 of 2 | Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios participates in the evening gown category during the 72nd Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in San Salvador, El Salvador, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. The 23-year-old communicologist went on to win the competition, the first to wear the crown from her country. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

    BY GABRIELA SELSER
    Updated 8:39 PM PST, December 11, 2023

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The director of the Miss Nicaragua pageant, Karen Celebertti, on Monday announced her retirement from the organization, nine days after the Nicaraguan police accused her of “conspiracy” and other crimes along with her husband and son, who are detained.

    “The time has come for my retirement,” Celebertti wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I know that there will always be more opportunities for us.”

    It was Celebertti’s first public statement after the scandal that followed the coronation of Sheynnis Palacios as Miss Universe on Nov. 18 in El Salvador.

    The businesswoman said that she worked for 23 years “with zeal and effort” until Nicaragua won the world beauty crown this year, which she described “as an achievement for everyone” and “for every Nicaraguan, without political distinction.”

    Palacios’ surprise victory in the contest unleashed demonstrations of joy in the streets of Nicaragua, prompting criticism by the government of Daniel Ortega.

    According to the local press, immigration authorities prevented Celebertti and her daughter Luciana from entering the country on Nov. 22, after they attended Palacios’ coronation and accompanied her on a short trip to Mexico.

    Later it was announced that the police raided Celebertti’s home in the southwest of Managua and arrested her husband, Martín Argüello, and their son, Bernardo.

    Without confirming the arrest, the authorities accused the three members of the Argüello Celebertti family on Dec. 2 of the crimes of treason, conspiracy and “organized crime.”

    A statement by the National Police claimed Celebertti “participated actively, on the internet and in the streets in the terrorist actions of a failed coup,” an apparent reference to the 2018 protests.
    Man, what is up with Nicaragua?
    Gene Ching
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  5. #185
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    Miss Colorado Madison Marsh

    Miss Colorado, US Air Force Officer makes history as Miss America
    Author: Alexander Kirk
    Published: 10:17 AM MST January 15, 2024
    Updated: 10:17 AM MST January 15, 2024

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Miss Colorado is now Miss America.
    Miss Colorado Madison Marsh was crowned Miss America during the competition's ceremony Sunday night in Orlando.
    A 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, Marsh is the first active duty servicemember to ever win the title.
    Marsh is a 2023 graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with a degree in physics and is a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School.
    "Congratulations to our very own Airman, 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, aka Miss Colorado — who was just crowned Miss America 2024!" the U.S. Air Force said in a statement. "Marsh is the first active duty servicemember to ever win the title."
    "Miss Colorado has been crowned Miss America!" Colorado Gov. Jared Polis congratulated on social media.
    Marsh is also the president and founder of the Whitney Marsh Foundation, named after her late mother, helping to raise more than a quarter-million dollars for pancreatic cancer research at the foundation, according to Marsh's website.
    Marsh is the first Miss America winner crowned from Colorado since 1974.

    Congrats! Nice to have a positive post here.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #186
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    Carolina Shiino - Miss Japan

    Model of Ukrainian descent becomes Miss Japan 2024, sparking debate
    Model of Ukrainian descent becomes Miss Japan 2024, sparking debatevia YouTube/maidigitv
    Carolina Shiino’s victory sparked skepticism, with some questioning the choice of crowning someone who is not of Japanese descent
    Michelle De Pacina
    JANUARY 24, 2024



    CAROLINA SHIINO, A 26-year-old Japanese model of Ukrainian descent, became the center of controversy after winning the title of Miss Japan 2024 on Monday.
    About Shiino: Shiino was born in Ukraine and moved to Japan at the age of 5 after her mother remarried a Japanese man. She became the first naturalized Japanese citizen to win the Miss Japan Grand Prix pageant.
    “I’ve had to face barriers that often prevent me from being accepted as Japanese, so I am filled with gratitude to be recognized at this competition as a Japanese person,” Shiino said on stage, according to The Independent.
    Online skepticism: Despite declaring herself Japanese in “speech and mind,” her victory sparked skepticism on social media, with some questioning the choice of crowning someone who is not of Japanese descent.
    “This person who was chosen as Miss Japan is not even a mix with Japanese but 100 percent pure Ukrainian. Understand she is beautiful, but this is ‘Miss Japan.’ Where is the Japaneseness?” one person said.
    “I think that Japanese people naturally (would) get the wrong message when a European looking person is called the most beautiful Japanese,” another noted.
    “As a non-Japanese person living in Japan, I also think that the choice of someone with no ethnic connection to Japan is beyond ridiculous,” one weighed in.
    Judges’ defense: However, event organizers justified the selection of Shiino, highlighting that the judges were impressed by her “confidence.” Ai Wada, the pageant organizer, also emphasized that “Japanese beauty exists not in the appearance, not in the blood, but it exists firmly in our heart,” urging viewers to contemplate on the essence of Japanese beauty.
    “She speaks and writes in beautiful and polite Japanese,” Ai Wada added. “She is more Japanese than we are.”

    Michelle De Pacina
    is a New York-based Reporter for NextShark
    Back to pageant controversies...
    Gene Ching
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  7. #187
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    Controversy solved


    Karolina Shiino: Ukraine-born Miss Japan gives up crown following affair

    24 hours ago

    By Frances Mao
    BBC News


    Carolina Shiino Miss Japan 2024Instagram
    Ms Shiino had proudly announced on social media that she became a naturalised citizen of Japan in 2022
    The Ukraine-born winner of the Miss Japan beauty pageant has given up her crown after a tabloid report revealed her affair with a married man.
    Karolina Shiino, 26, was crowned Miss Japan two weeks ago but her win sparked public debate due to her heritage.
    While some welcomed the naturalised citizen's crowning, others said she didn't represent traditional Japanese beauty ideals.
    Amid the furore, a local magazine published an expose alleging an affair.
    The article in the Shukan Bunshun reported that Ms Shiino had engaged in a relationship with a married influencer and doctor. The man has not provided any public comment.
    In its initial response to the report last week, the pageant organisers defended Ms Shiino, saying she hadn't known the man was married.
    However on Monday, organisers said she had confessed to knowing about the man's marriage and family.
    She had apologised for being misleading and organisers had accepted her title resignation, the Miss Japan Association said.
    Ms Shiino also apologised to her fans and the general public in a statement on Monday, where she said she had acted out of fear and panic in response to the report.
    "I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me," she said.
    The Miss Japan title will now remain vacant for the rest of the year, although there were several runners-up.
    Controversy after Ukrainian-born model crowned Miss Japan
    The competition had crowned Ms Shiino on 22 January - the first person of European descent to be given the honour. She was born in Ukraine before moving with her mother to Japan when she was five and taking on her step-father's Japanese last name.
    She speaks and writes fluent Japanese and became a naturalised citizen in 2022.
    Upon receiving the title, she had said in her speech: "I had not been accepted as Japanese many times, but I am filled with gratitude to have been recognized as Japanese today."
    Sounds a bit suspicious, but controversy put to rest.
    Gene Ching
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  8. #188
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    Miss Universe Organisation owner Jakapong Jakrajutatip

    Miss Universe’s Thai owner breaks silence on leaked video belittling inclusivity, says clip was ‘manipulated’
    Thai transgender activist Jakapong Jakrajutatip has blamed an unnamed person for the ‘unlawful act’, saying the edited clip was used to tarnish her reputation
    Jakapong says she does not know why the unnamed person ‘would jeopardise me and the organisation’, and insists she is a staunch proponent of gender equality rights
    SCMP’s Asia desk
    Published: 4:43pm, 28 Feb, 2024



    Thai transgender activist and Miss Universe Organisation owner Jakapong Jakrajutatip has broken her silence on a video in which she belittled efforts to boost inclusivity at the beauty pageant, saying the clip was “manipulated” to tarnish her reputation.

    Jakapong reportedly said the decision to remove the age limit and allow transwomen, mothers and married women to take part in the event was a “communication strategy”.

    “This is a communication strategy because they can compete, but they cannot win,” she said in the video that was leaked online and widely circulated on social media.


    Jakapong Jakrajutatip during the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 14, 2023. Photo: AFP
    Jakapong, who bought the platform for US$20 million in 2022, blamed an unnamed person for the “unlawful act”, adding the brand’s supporters believed in our “core value of promoting diversity” and would not be fooled by the controversy.

    “The malicious edited video was out of context and used to manipulate other people which led to the public confusion, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and wrong conclusion,” she said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

    “I still don’t comprehend why this man, who I was so nice to, would jeopardise me and the organisation while we were talking about one of the new reality show episodes, not the pageantry itself.”

    Jakapong is a celebrity in Thailand, starring in local versions of reality shows Project Runway and Shark Tank.

    Acknowledging that she identifies as a transwoman and mother, Jakapong also said she was a staunch proponent of gender equality rights.

    “Why do I have to live my life up against what I believe? God gave me the purpose to live, to inspire and to spread kindness. I do have the strength to forgive this man and show the desire to the universe that love is what we need in this world,” she said.

    Thai media company JKN Global Group, run by Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, that owns the Miss Universe beauty pageant brand said it has filed for bankruptcy: Photo: AFP
    Jakapong, who is known for being Thailand’s first transgender CEO, runs the Life Inspired For Thailand Foundation that advocates for the rights to dignity and opportunities for transgender people.

    But Nepali beauty queen Jane Garrett was not convinced by Jakapong’s explanation, alleging last year’s pageant was “rigged”.

    “Honey, I knew it was rigged from the moment I was onstage. I realised us ‘inclusion’ girls weren’t ever gonna get a real chance to win,” Garrett, the first plus-sized woman to compete at Miss Universe, said on Instagram last week.

    Some social media users criticised Jakapong for championing fake inclusivity, arguing the video could “wreck” the organisation.

    Others rallied behind her, saying “all those slanderers would finally be defeated by their own malicious deeds”.
    I love when someone prefaces a comment with "Honey"
    Gene Ching
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  9. #189
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    Miss World 2024 Krystyna Pyszková

    Krystyna Pyszková of the Czech Republic crowned Miss World 2024
    By Alex Rees, CNN
    2 minute read
    Updated 10:06 PM EDT, Sun March 10, 2024


    Krystyna Pyszková of Czech Republic waves after being crowned as the new Miss World at the pageant in Mumbai, India on March 9. Rajanish Kakade/AP
    CNN

    Besting 111 of her fellow titleholders from across the globe, Krystyna Pyszková of the Czech Republic was crowned Miss World 2024 on Saturday in Mumbai, India, where the international pageant was held this year.

    Across a series of events during the pageant’s preliminary competition, including fitness, beauty, talent and public speaking, several contestants won “fast track” places in the top 40, a cohort announced at the start of the show.


    Krystyna Pyszková, the newly-crowned Miss World, models during the "Best Designer Award" contest at the 71st Miss World pageant preliminaries on March 2. Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters
    From there, the field was quickly slashed to top 12 and then top eight, at which point the contestants participated in the classic Q&A round, addressing topics discussed at the most recent G20 Summit. Asked to shed light on an issue impacting women’s health care specifically, Pyszková, a 23-year-old law student and model, spoke about removing the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, saying that “being a woman is a gift” and that periods should not be a taboo subject.
    After one final cut, four contestants were left to “pitch their purpose” (or philanthropic platform) to a trio of business moguls from “Shark Tank India.” Each of these four finalists represented a different region of the world: Africa, the Americas and Caribbean, Asia and Oceania and Europe.
    Pyszková’s victory came over these three runners-up — Yasmina Zeytoun of Lebanon, Aché Abrahams of Trinidad and Tobago and Lesego Chombo of Botswana. (These women, along with Jessica Gagen of England, are considered the pageant’s “continental winners.”)
    Miss World is widely viewed as the oldest international beauty pageant, first founded in the United Kingdom in 1951 as a “bikini contest.” Perhaps its two best-known winners are both from India: the actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Miss World 1994) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Miss World 2000). Chopra Jonas appeared at the pageant in a video message, paying tribute to both Miss World owner Julia Morley and Nita Ambani, winner of the pageant’s Humanitarian Award.
    Pyszková replaces the outgoing Miss World, Karolina Bielawska, of Poland, whose reign dates back to March 2022. (Due to scheduling issues, no Miss World pageant was held in 2023.)
    Congrats to Krystyna!
    Gene Ching
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  10. #190
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    Viru Nikah Terinsip stripped

    Johor Unduk Ngadau queen stripped of crown over 'wild' holiday video
    By SANDRA SOKIAL
    SABAH & SARAWAK
    Monday, 08 Apr 2024

    5:09 PM MYT

    KOTA KINABALU: TikToker turned beauty queen Viru Nikah Terinsip has been stripped of her title after her “wild”’ holiday video received public backlash.

    The 24-year-old pageant winner, who won the Unduk Ngadau Johor title last year, has been stripped of her title by the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) despite apologising publicly through a 53-second long video posted on her TikTok account @_duyung.darat.

    The matter was confirmed by KDCA president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who said such behaviour was uncalled for in a beauty queen that supposedly represents the spirit of Huminodun, a mythological maiden who has the total beauty of heart, mind and soul.

    “We were made to understand that she went on a private holiday with her family to Thailand. We do silly things and get carried away when holidaying.

    “If the video did not go viral, no one would know it happened.

    “This would not be an issue if she was just an ordinary person, but she is an Unduk Ngadau (beauty queen), and a public figure. There were a lot of mixed reactions, some saw the humour in her video, some sympathised, others were unhappy and complained. We (KDCA) do not want to be the target and attract unnecessary attention.


    Viru Nikah Terinsip was crowned Unduk Ngadau Johor last year. - Viru Nikah Terinsip's Facebook picture

    “We hope that she will accept this decision well. Let this serve as a warning to all Unduk Ngadaus to not repeat the mistake,” he said.

    Unduk Ngadau is a cultural beauty pageant that is one of the highlights of the Kaamatan (harvest) festival in Sabah.

    In the video, Viru, was seen responding to several male dancers’ suggestive dance while holidaying in Thailand.

    It was understood that KDCA central had proposed to KDCA Johor to strip Viru’s title following the controversial video.

    Viru, who is a popular content creator and entrepreneur, in her apology video, indicated that she would humbly accept if her title is revoked, and apologised for her carelessness in posting such a video.

    “I am thankful for all the beautiful words coming from netizens, and let’s focus on other issues and more forward.

    “Most importantly, please leave my family and friends out as they are not involved in this matter. It is up to you whether you would accept (my explanation) or not, but this comes sincerely from my heart. Thank you for listening,” she said.
    Kinda wanna see that vid, right?
    Gene Ching
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  11. #191
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    Miss AI

    World’s First AI Pageant To Judge Winner On Beauty And Social Media Clout
    Leslie Katz
    Contributor
    I write about the intersection of art, science and technology.

    Apr 15, 2024,05:12pm EDT

    Popular AI-generated influencer Emily Pellegrini, a Miss AI judge, is uniquely qualified for the ... [+]WORLD AI CREATOR AWARDS
    Models and influencers crafted from artificial intelligence can now jockey for the title “Miss AI.” Yup, the world’s first AI beauty pageant has arrived to crown faux humans for their pixelated perfection.

    AI-generated contestants will be judged on their looks and polish, but they’ll also be gauged on the technical skill that went into creating them, and also appraised for their online pull.

    “AI creators’ social clout will be assessed based on their engagement numbers with fans, rate of growth of audience and utilization of other platforms such as Instagram,” according to the World AI Creator Awards. Miss AI marks the program’s inaugural contest, with others to come focusing on fashion, diversity and computer-generated men. Fanvue, a subscription-based platform that hosts virtual models, some of whom offer adult content, is a WAICA partner.

    Miss AI (well, the creator behind Miss AI) will win a $5,000 cash prize, promotion on the Fanvue platform and PR support worth more than $5,000. The runner-up and third place winner will also snag prizes. The virtual victors will be announced on May 10, with an online awards ceremony set to take place later in the month.


    AI-generated humans like Lexi Schmidt, who's on Fanvue, now have their very own beauty pageant. WORLD AI CREATOR AWARDS
    The competition opened online to entrants on Sunday as AI influencers increasingly grab attention and paying gigs. One, named Alba Renai, recently announced she’d been hired to host a weekly special segment on the Spanish version of Survivor. She’s not the only employed AI-generated influencer, either.

    Aitana Lopez, one of four Miss AI judges, can pull in more than $11,000 a month representing brands. The AI-generated Spanish model and influencer has upward of 300,000 Instagram followers, many of whom shower her with adoring comments. She’s joined on the judging panel by another AI-generated model, Emily Pellegrini, who has more than 250,000 followers on Instagram and has caught the attention of sports stars and billionaires who want to date her.

    Two judges on the panel, however, can include arteries and veins on their resumes. They’re Andrew Bloch, an entrepreneur and PR adviser, and Sally-Ann Fawcett, a beauty pageant historian and author of the book Misdemeanours: Beauty Queen Scandals.

    “It’s been a fast learning curve expanding my knowledge on AI creators, and it’s quite incredible what is possible,” Fawcett said in a statement.

    The World AI Creator Awards said entrants “must be 100 percent AI-generated,” though there aren’t any restrictions on the tools used. “Miss AI welcomes creations produced from any type of generator, whether it’s DeepAI, Midjourney or your own tool,” the rules read. The competition said it expects thousands of entries.

    But How To Judge Fake Beauty?

    Beauty pageants have drawn criticism for promoting unrealistic beauty standards, and most AI influencers don’t do anything to expand narrow cultural ideas about what’s deemed attractive. Both AI-generated contest judges, for example, are young women with dewy skin, high cheekbones, full lips, big breasts and the kind of bodies that suggest they have a personal trainer on call 24/7.

    The Miss AI pageant, however, is more about recognizing artistry than reinforcing cultural standards of beauty, a spokesperson for the WAICA insists.

    “This isn't about beauty in the stereotypical sense,” the spokesperson said in an email. “It's about championing artistic creative talent and the beauty of creators’ work. Just like traditional pageantry, there's even a question contestants are asked to answer: ‘If you had one dream to make the world a better place, what would it be?’”

    Given that Miss AI candidates only exist in a world of bytes, their answers won’t come from personal experience. They’ll come from prompts.


    Miss AI launches almost 200 years after the world’s first real life beauty pageant took place. WORLD AI CREATOR AWARDS


    Leslie Katz
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    I'm a journalist with particular expertise in the arts, popular science, health, religion and spirituality. As the former culture editor at news and technology website CNET, I led a team that tracked movies, TV shows, online trends and science—from space and robotics to climate, AI and archaeology. My byline has also appeared in publications including The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle and J, the Jewish News of Northern California. When I’m not wrangling words, I’m probably gardening, yoga-ing or staring down a chess board, trying to trap an enemy queen.
    AI-Responses-to-Common-Kung-Fu-questions
    Beauty-Pageants
    Gene Ching
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  12. #192
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    UmaSofia Srivastava & Noelia Voigt

    Miss USA and Miss Teen USA resign days apart, casting a spotlight on the organization

    MAY 9, 202411:04 AM ET
    By Rachel Treisman


    Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, left, and Miss USA, Noelia Voigt pictured at a New York Fashion Week event in February. They both announced their resignations this week.
    Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Supermodels Unlimited
    The 2023 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA relinquished their crowns within days of each other this week, leaving their parent organization without its two biggest titleholders — and under mounting scrutiny.

    Their departures are the latest in a string of recent controversies at the Miss USA and Miss Universe organizations and have prompted a slew of state titleholders to publicly pressure the pageant for more transparency.

    Miss USA Noelia Voigt announced her resignation in an Instagram post on Monday, citing "the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health."

    The 24-year-old became the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA in September 2023, representing Utah. In her resignation statement, she expressed her gratitude for the connections and platform from over seven years of competing in pageants and urged others to "never compromise your physical and mental well-being."

    "Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me, and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain," Voigt wrote.

    Eagle-eyed followers noted in the comments section that the first letters of the first 11 sentences of her statement spell out "I AM SILENCED" (the remaining three spell "HIP").

    Concerns and criticisms compounded in the days that followed, especially after Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, announced her resignation in a similarly-formatted Instagram post on Wednesday.

    Srivastava, of New Jersey, was also crowned in September 2023 — and said her resignation comes after "months of grappling with this decision."

    "I will always look back on my time as Miss NJ Teen USA fondly, and the experience of representing my state as a first generation, Mexican-Indian American at the national level was fulfilling in itself," she wrote. "After careful consideration, I've decided to resign as I find that my personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization."

    She didn't elaborate, but added to the intrigue by opening her statement with this quote attributed to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: "There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth."

    Srivastava said she looks forward to finishing 11th grade and applying to college, as well as continuing her collaborations with education- and literacy-focused nonprofits and promoting her multilingual children's book about acceptance, calling that work "my TRUE purpose."

    Voigt was among the many people to leave positive comments on her post, writing in part, "So proud of you my angel."

    The organization has not responded to NPR's requests for comment.

    But the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Instagram accounts each acknowledged their titleholders' departures, in near-identical posts, thanking them for their service and wishing them the best.

    "The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time," wrote the Miss USA account of Voigt. "We are currently reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities to a successor, and we will soon announce the crowning of the new Miss USA."

    The 2024 edition of the Miss USA pageant is scheduled to take place in early August.

    A Miss USA employee had resigned days earlier, slamming "workplace toxicity"

    Voigt and Srivastava aren't the only recent departures from Miss USA.

    Former social media director Claudia Michelle first announced her resignation over the weekend, in an Instagram post that accused the organization of mistreating all three of them.

    "Being offered your dream job and seeing that it was anything but is so disheartening," wrote Michelle.

    Michelle said she felt compelled to speak out because "this is a women's empowerment organization," noting she had not signed an NDA.

    She said she wasn't allowed to bring anyone else onto her social media team of one — something "absolutely necessary" for a "brand of this caliber" — and that she worked without financial compensation for her first two months on the job.

    She went on to say that she witnessed "a decline in [Voigt's] mental health since we first met" and "the disrespect toward [Srivastava] and her family," opining that the teen titleholder didn't get enough attention on social media.

    "I've first hand seen Noelia and Uma be unable to share about their personal advocacies on social media and be threatened by [Miss Universe Organization] 'social media rules and guidelines' that I still have yet to see," Michelle wrote. "I feel the way current management speaks about their titleholders is unprofessional and inappropriate; I disavow workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind."

    The organization told USA Today in a statement that it is "troubled to hear the false accusations made by a former Miss USA employee."

    "Miss USA is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment, and we take these allegations seriously," it added. "Indeed, we have and will continue to prioritize the well-being of all individuals involved with Miss USA."

    After a rocky few years, titleholders are calling for "full transparency" from the organization

    The Miss USA Organization has had a turbulent few years, as Business Insider reported.

    In early 2022, Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 Miss USA winner, died by suicide. Later that fall, days after R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss USA, other contestants publicly accused organizers of rigging the competition in her favor.

    The Miss Universe Organization responded by suspending Miss USA President Crystle Stewart and launching a third-party investigation into the allegations.

    Around that time, news emerged that Stewart's husband, Max Sebrechts, had stepped down from his role as Miss USA vice president earlier that year after multiple 2021 pageant contestants accused him of sexual harassment.

    In January 2023, Gabriel won the Miss Universe title, becoming the first American to do so in a decade and relinquishing her Miss USA crown to runner-up Morgan Romero of North Carolina.

    In August, the Miss Universe Organization said the investigation had found the allegations of rigging to be false, but was parting ways with Stewart nonetheless. Current Miss USA President and CEO Laylah Rose was announced as her replacement that same day.

    Critiques of Miss USA resurfaced since the titleholders' resignations this week.

    Several 2023 state titleholders have shared a joint statement on social media, saying the majority of the Miss USA class of 2023 supports Voigt's decision to resign and asking the Miss USA Organization to release her from the confidentiality clause of her contract in perpetuity "so that she is free to speak on her experiences and time as Miss USA."

    The statement, which began circulating on Wednesday, requests a response within 24 hours.

    "Our goal is to give Noelia her voice back," they wrote. "We are asking for full transparency for contestants in the class of 2024 and beyond."
    Well this is a bad look for the pageants...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #193
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    Some follow up...

    Inside the bombshell scandal that prompted two Miss USAs to step down
    Allegations of a “toxic work environment” have once again tarnished the pageant’s reputation.
    By Constance Grady@constancegrady May 10, 2024, 4:50pm EDT

    Miss USA Noelia Voigt attends the 72nd Miss Universe Competition on November 15, 2023, in San Salvador, El Salvador. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

    Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.
    Over the course of a week, Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava both relinquished their titles, marking an unprecedented period of turbulence in the pageant’s history. Since Miss USA was established in 1952, no title holder has ever before voluntarily stepped down. Now, two of them have resigned, a mere three months before their reigns end. It’s a moment that’s raising major questions about the pageant’s increasingly troubled image.

    In her resignation letter, portions of which leaked to the press, 24-year-old Voigt describes a “toxic work environment” within the Miss USA Organization that has badly affected her physical and mental health. She adds that she is now in treatment for anxiety and that she’s experienced “heart palpitations, full body shakes, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, loss of sleep, loss of hair, and more.”

    Voigt kept things less explicit, however, in her public announcement, which took the form of a cryptic Instagram post published days before. “Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me, and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain,” Voigt wrote.

    Seventeen-year-old UmaSofia Srivastava posted her own note to Instagram, saying, “My personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

    The unsettling implication sent fans scrambling for more information — as did the revelation that Voigt’s post might have contained a secret message. The capital letters of the first 11 sentences in her statement spell out the words “I AM SILENCED,” leading observers to speculate that there’s a lot Voigt would like to say if not for a nondisclosure agreement — including, perhaps, the statements she made in her leaked resignation letter.

    “People are under these ironclad NDAs at the moment,” says pageant coach and 2018 Miss Montana USA Dani Walker in a phone call to Vox. Walker, who makes YouTube videos about the internal politics of the pageant world and is friendly with the titleholders, says that she’s been contacted by multiple inside sources who have information she can’t publish online because of those NDAs. “I do, however, know that there are people working in the background trying to find loopholes that are going to allow these people to speak out, to really give everybody the full picture,” she says.

    The Miss USA Organization responded to Voigt and Srivastava’s resignations on Instagram by saying that it considered the well-being of its titleholders a “top priority” and that it would be announcing a successor soon but did not answer allegations of a toxic workplace. The organization did not respond to a request for comment from Vox. Meanwhile, many of the state titleholders who competed alongside Voigt in the 2023 Miss USA pageant have released statements of their own standing behind Voigt and calling on the organization to release her from her NDA, “so that she is free to speak on her experiences.”

    The Miss USA pageant has been dogged by controversy over the past few years, from the notoriety of former owner Donald Trump to the release of the ****ing New York Times-produced documentary How to Fix a Pageant last September. For those enmeshed in the pageant world, Voigt’s and Srivastava’s consecutive resignations come as less of a shock and more as confirmation of what they have long suspected: Something is going very wrong inside the Miss USA Organization.

    The Miss USA resignations are happening amid toxic workplace allegations
    This month’s first resignation from the Miss USA Organization didn’t come from Voigt or Srivastava. It came from social media director Claudia Michelle, who stepped down from her post on May 3. In a candid Instagram post, Michelle made multiple allegations of mistreatment in the workplace. One of them was that unnamed others at the organization used the official social media accounts behind her back, deleting negative comments and blocking critics. That allegation was corroborated by Walker, who was one of the blocked parties, and said in a YouTube video that she spoke with Michelle about it.

    Michelle also wrote that Srivastava and her family had been treated with disrespect. “I feel the way current management speaks about their titleholders is unprofessional and inappropriate; I disavow workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind,” Michelle wrote.

    The three women all quit within a week of each other: Michelle on Friday, followed by Voigt on Monday and Srivastava on Wednesday. According to the New York Post, they agreed to quit together and coordinated their resignation announcements.

    Michelle declined to provide details about the workplace toxicity and bullying she says she witnessed, but many of those affiliated with the Miss USA pageants have publicly speculated about mistreatment by organization president Laylah Rose.

    “Laylah Rose leads by fear and has scared or threatened them into silence,” wrote 1994 Miss Oregon USA Denise White in the comments of Voigt’s post, also alleging the use of NDAs.

    “When people ask me how we got here, I have no good answer — except that Laylah did say that she wanted to make history,” Walker said on YouTube, in a response to the news of Srivastava’s resignation.

    Thom Brodeur, Voigt’s pageant coach, also criticized Rose’s leadership of the Miss USA Organization in a phone call with Vox. “She’s now on her fourth [management] team in a year, and she has an unprecedented two national title holder resignations,” he said. “This never happened in the 72-year history of this organization. They’re both gone. So somewhere, at some point, somebody has to look at the leader and go, ‘Gosh, there’s an awful lot of smoke. How come there’s a fire in your house?’ There’s something going on here that isn’t working, and it can’t be all of those other people.”

    Voigt’s resignation letter, obtained by NBC, describes Rose as cold and threatening. In the letter, Voigt says Rose threatened to take away Voigt’s salary for minor issues that were never clearly communicated to her. Voigt alleges that when she was scheduled to throw the opening pitch at a baseball game, Rose said she hoped Voigt would be hit in the face by a ball.

    In a statement to NBC, Rose said that “the well-being of all individuals associated with Miss USA is my top priority.”

    “All along, my personal goal as the head of this organization has been to inspire women to always create new dreams, have the courage to explore it all, and continue to preserve integrity along the way. I hold myself to these same high standards and I take these allegations seriously,” she said.

    Brodeur says that the leaked excerpts from the resignation letter match his understanding of Voigt’s relationship with Rose. He adds that he had the original letter read to him and that the full letter is seven pages long. “The stuff that NBC captured is literally the scratching of the surface,” he says. “It goes deeper and it goes a little darker.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  14. #194
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    Continued from previous post

    While Srivastava’s resignation letter has not been made public, evidence suggests she was not spared Rose’s wrath either. According to an anonymous source who spoke to the New York Post, Rose treated Srivastava so badly that Srivastava’s parents refused to let her speak directly to their daughter.

    In a series of YouTube videos made before the resignations, Walker also alleges that Rose was forbidden to speak to Srivastava directly. Walker adds that she noticed what appeared to be a bizarre form of revenge from the organization in the aftermath. Its official social media accounts began to post congratulations to the pageant runners-up who outscored the official titleholders in various events during the pageant months earlier.

    “It’s a really subtle jab to say, ‘Hey, by the way, yes you won the pageant, but you didn’t win Interview. And you didn’t win Evening Gown,’” said Walker in her video. “These are subtle jabs at these titleholders on a really public platform. It’s inappropriate.”

    The Post’s source alleges that the organization heavily policed the behavior of titleholders. “Noelia wakes up every day on pins and needles because of harassing emails [from pageant organizers]: ‘Don’t do this,’ ‘Don’t do that,’ ‘Take that post down,’ ‘Unlike that post.’ ‘You can’t speak to anybody, remember your NDA, you can’t go here unless we confirm,’” the source said. The source also alleged that Rose posted to social media under Voigt’s and Srivastava’s names without their approval.

    According to both the New York Post’s source and comments made by Voigt on social media, the organization also failed to provide Voigt with the apartment in Manhattan or Los Angeles that is traditionally a part of Miss USA’s compensation package. Five months into her reign, they arranged for her to live in Florida instead.

    Walker notes in her videos that under Rose’s leadership, Miss USA has not been appearing at prestigious events like New York Fashion Week or the Kentucky Derby, as is typical. Instead, she’s been making comparatively small-time appearances for pageant sponsors like Supermodels Unlimited. “She literally went about an entire month without appearances,” Walker said in her video. “I’ve never heard of this happening.”

    In a phone call with Vox, Walker explained that access to those kinds of events is one of the major draws of being Miss USA. “Miss America is known primarily for their scholarships,” Walker said. If Miss America is a students competition, Miss USA is a competition for a career woman: “They’re provided salary and access to prestigious events.”

    The most ****ing claims about Rose appear in both the Post’s account and Voigt’s leaked resignation letter. The story goes that when Voigt attended a Christmas parade for the organization last year, she was harassed by a man who was riding in a car with her. When Voigt complained to Rose, according to the resignation letter, Rose responded, “We cannot prevent people saying things to you at public appearances, it is, unfortunately, part of the role you’re in as a public figure.” Two people who Voigt confided in about the incident confirmed the story to Vox.

    Rose is a relatively new addition to the Miss USA Organization, joining as president in 2023 after working as a fashion designer. Controversy, however, is not new to Miss USA.

    Miss USA’s sleazy history
    For many Americans, Miss USA is probably best known for being the beauty pageant Donald Trump used to own (the one that’s not Miss America). Trump’s role in the pageant became part of the news cycle during his 2016 campaign for president, when former contestants alleged that he used to walk backstage to ogle them while they were undressed.

    Trump was forced to sell the Miss Universe franchise (Miss USA’s parent organization) due to legal complications after he made a series of racist comments about undocumented immigrants during his first campaign event in 2015. He sold it in 2016 to talent agency WME-IMG, but the new ownership came with its own problems. WME-IMG sold the franchise in 2022 to Thailand-based JKN Global Group, and one year later, JKN filed for bankruptcy.

    Meanwhile, in 2022, contestants claimed that then-president Crystle Stewart had rigged the competition for the eventual winner. But the allegations under Stewart’s reign didn’t end there. In a series of TikToks, 2022 Miss Montana USA Heather O’Keefe listed her grievances. She and her fellow contestants were confined to a resort for the week of the competition with barely any access to the outdoors, O’Keefe claimed. The organization forced them to pay for all of their own expenses, including the T-shirts they were required to wear on camera.

    In 2023, FX released the New York Times-produced documentary How to Fix a Pageant. The documentary centered on the alleged cheating scandal of 2022, but it also made more explosive claims. Former contestants featured in the documentary claimed Max Sebrechts, at the time vice president of Miss USA and married to Stewart, sexually harassed them. Sebrechts stepped down shortly after the news broke. Stewart also resigned in 2022, and was replaced by Rose.

    In our current cultural moment, when beauty pageants are frequently considered passé, the official line from the people who love them is that pageants exist to empower women. “We are more than just a pageant,” says the “about” page on the Miss USA website. “We are a community of empowered women who are committed to making a difference in the world.”

    “Pageants are one of the very rare and few places where we teach young women life skills,” says Walker. “Most important is poise, confidence, the ability to interview and speak on stage. Those life skills are very applicable and transferable to many things that you want to do in life outside of pageantry. That is the point. That is why we exist. Sure, the crowns and the sashes, they’re fun. But that’s not the point of what we’re doing here. We’re actually creating a platform that is taking young women to the next level.”

    For critics like Walker and Brodeur, empowerment is the sticking point here. “Step down,” says Brodeur, rhetorically addressing Rose, “because you have now shown yourself ill-equipped to run this organization. You are not a woman that empowers other women.”

    According to Rose’s critics, the Miss USA Organization has betrayed one of its fundamental promises. Instead of giving young women the confidence to build bigger lives for themselves, the organization has instead asked its young contestants to pour enormous amounts of time and money into perfecting their appearance for a corporate structure that harasses them, exploits them, and then instructs them not to complain.

    “Our titleholders work very hard,” says Walker. “They deserve respect and they deserve to feel like they’re working in a safe space and that this title is worth all of that effort.”

    Otherwise, who exactly is Miss USA empowering?
    “Pageants are one of the very rare and few places where we teach young women life skills,”?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  15. #195
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    Bailey Anne Kennedy & Sara Milliken

    Here’s Why Maryland And Alabama Pageant Winners Are Going Viral And Facing Right-Wing Attacks
    Conor Murray
    Forbes Staff
    Murray is a Forbes news reporter covering entertainment trends.

    Jun 10, 2024,04:12pm EDT
    TOPLINE The winners of the Miss Maryland and Alabama’s National American Miss pageants have gone viral on social media, attracting anger from conservative critics because the former winner is a transgender woman and the latter is a plus-sized model, prompting both women to defend their victories on Instagram.

    Bailey Anne Kennedy, the winner of Miss Maryland USA, will advance to the Miss USA competition.

    KEY FACTS
    Bailey Anne Kennedy, 31, won the Miss Maryland USA pageant last week, a qualifier for the Miss USA competition, becoming the first transgender woman and Asian American to win the title.

    Kennedy, who said she hopes her victory will help LGBTQ+ youth feel confident in themselves, will advance to the Miss USA competition in August, where she could potentially become the first transgender woman and the oldest woman to capture the title.

    Days before Kennedy’s victory, 23-year-old Sara Milliken won Alabama’s National American Miss pageant, a separate competition from the Miss USA circuit that says it focuses on fostering a positive self-image for its contestants by judging based on personality, confidence and communication skills.

    Both women have gone viral on social media in recent days as online trolls have criticized their victories, in Kennedy’s case because she is a trans woman and Milliken’s because she is a plus-sized model.

    CONTRA
    Both Kennedy and Milliken have defended their victories on social media. In a statement posted to Instagram by both Kennedy and Miss Maryland USA, the organization clarified transgender women have been eligible to compete in Miss Maryland USA pageants since 2012, and that the organization stands behind Kennedy’s win. The organization acknowledged critics, stating “change is always met with adversity,” but said Kennedy’s victory was a “win for everyone who dreamed the impossible dream.” Milliken also posted a statement on Instagram, stating she has been the target of an “overwhelming amount of online hate, negativity, and bullying,” adding she mentally prepared herself for criticism but wanted to win the title to serve her community and hometown. “You are more than your body and more importantly… you are more than the evil things people say about your body,” Milliken said.

    CHIEF CRITICS
    Both winners faced online vitriol following their victories, particularly from popular right-wing X accounts that posted derogatory remarks about their wins to their millions of followers. The controversial Libs of TikTok X account posted a video of Milliken and accused her of “glorifying obesity,” garnering more than 4 million views and thousands of replies, many of which were similar attacks against the pageant winner. Libs of TikTok also posted about Kennedy, making derogatory remarks about her transgender identity and claiming she took the spot of cisgender women. Several commentators associated with the conservative Daily Wire media organization, including Matt Walsh and Brett Cooper, posted videos to their millions of subscribers slamming the winners, with Walsh calling Milliken’s victory “pro-obesity propaganda.”

    SURPRISING FACT
    Though some viral posts claim Milliken won the Miss Alabama USA pageant, she actually won Alabama’s National American Miss pageant, a separate competition that is not a qualifier to the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants and is judged based on different criteria.

    KEY BACKGROUND
    Several trans women have already broken barriers in beauty pageants. In 2021, Kataluna Enriquez won the Miss Nevada USA pageant and became the first trans woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant. Last year, two trans women—Portugal’s Marina Machete and The Netherlands’ Rikkie Valerie Kolle—competed in the Miss Universe competition.
    Must be more of a bummer if you're a runner up...
    Gene Ching
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