Jenna Talackova and 9 Other Infamous Beauty Pageant Contestants
The thing about beauty pageants is that winning one just isn’t a big deal anymore. With dozens of pageants in every state, taking home a tiara is pretty much meaningless. That’s why it makes us happy when a pretty lady transcends the pageant ghetto and becomes something more, either by finding fame or nationwide shame.
Here are ten hotties who did it.
Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova is in the news right now for a very interesting reason. She was banned from competition because she was born a man. Talackova was born biologically male but, as is the case with many transgendered people, knew from a very young age that she was female inside. She began hormone therapy at 14 and now considers herself fully female. In a landmark ruling, the Miss Universe competition just announced that transgendered women are eligible to compete.
Lauren Caitlin Upton
One of the most painful parts of any beauty pageant is the question and answer session. Sure, pretty girls can be smart, but that doesn’t mean they always are. When Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina Teen USA, was asked a pretty simple question about education in America, she launched into a bizarre and rambling response that made her an instant viral sensation.
Okay, not all of the ladies on this list are going to be here for positive reasons. Take the lovely Catalina Robayo, who had a very amusing wardrobe malfunction during 2011’s Miss Universe competition. Robayo, representing Colombia, took the stage for the pageant in a tight orange dress with a very short skirt, but forgot to put on a pair of panties before taking the stage. Enterprising photographers caught everything and her muff made the front page of her hometown newspaper.
In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman in history to be crowned Miss America, but her reign wasn’t a long one. Just months after winning the title, ‘Penthouse’ magazine purchased never-before-seen nude pictures of Williams and published them. She resigned to spare the Miss America organization public shaming, but thankfully managed to overcome the scandal and have a successful acting career.
You think we’re kidding? Before Oprah became the most powerful woman on television, she actually competed in regional beauty pageants, taking home the title of Miss Black Tennessee in 1972. She went on to compete in the Miss Black America pageant that same year, but decided to scuttle her pageantry career to focus on her journalism studies.
And now we have a story about how far a beauty contestant can fall. Kumari Fulbright competed in the Miss Arizona pageants in 2005 and 2006, but didn’t take home the crown. Instead, she decided to take home her ex-boyfriend. Fulbright and three accomplices kidnapped Josh Conway, tied him up with duct tape and spirited away to an unknown location. Kumari accused Conway of stealing jewelry from her and threatened to stick a knife in his brain. Yikes!
When you win a crown in a beauty pageant, you’re expected to behave like a queen. Nobody told 2008 Miss Louisiana Teen USA Lindsey Evans that, though. In 2008, Evans skipped out of a Bossier City restaurant without paying the bill. Even dumber, she left her purse behind. And even dumberer, she went back to get it, at which point cops arrested her. And she had a bag of pot in the purse, which made matters even worse. Naturally, she was stripped of her crown.
Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn
It must be hard to be a beauty queen – you always have to keep your positive side facing the media. Unfortunately, 2012’s Miss Seattle, the lovely Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn, didn’t take that maxim to heart. Before winning the crown, Ahn took to Twitter to unload a tirade against the Emerald City, complaining about Seattle’s lousy weather and “annoying people.” Needless to say, this didn’t really endear her to her constituents.
Beauty queens get up to craziness south of the border as well. Laura Zuniga, a beauty queen from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, was arrested in Jalisco in the company of heavily armed men carrying $53,000 in cash. Needless to say, they were all connected with Mexican drug cartels. Zuniga claimed that one of the men, her boyfriend Ángel Orlando García Urquiza, had never told her what he did for a living. Here’s a tip: he’s a high-ranking member of the Juarez cartel.
Probably the poster child for post-pageant infamy, Carrie Prejean was doomed from the start. During the 2009 Miss USA pageant, she answered a question about gay marriage posed by judge Perez Hilton in a way that was consistent with her Christian values. Unfortunately, everything she did after that wasn’t. First a few racy pictures were unearthed, not enough to make her lose her first runner-up crown, but when the video of her diddling herself hit the Internet it was all over for Prejean.