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5 biggest beauty pageant controversies

  • Miss Pennsylvania claims the 2012 Miss USA pageant was 'rigged' and has resigned
  • It's not the first time beauty pageants and contestants have caused controversy
5 biggest beauty pageant controversies

Big smiles, sparkling tiaras, cringe-inducing Q&A sessions -- beauty pageants are often formulaic pomp and pageantry spectacles. But sometimes, a little controversy can really heat things up.

The most recent controversy surrounds this weekend’s Miss USA 2012 pageant. Miss Pennsylvania USA, Sheena Monnin, has resigned from her position after claiming that the entire contest was rigged.

This is not the first time pageants and their contestants have come under fire for sparking controversy. Here are some of the most notorious beauty pageant contestants ever:

1) Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA 2009: During the 2009 Miss USA pageant, Prejean sparked a nationwide kerfuffle after her response to a question about same-sex marriage during her Q&A segment with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

Prejean’s opposition to same-sex marriage thrust her into the national spotlight, resulting in awkward interviews with Larry King, bashing from bloggers, and the release of some very personal pictures and videos. Her contract was eventually terminated by pageant officials, who cited “continued breach of contract issues.” Prejean alleged that pageant owner Donald Trump would often hand-pick women to go on to the finals, well before the pageant got underway.

2) Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010: Shortly after winning the crown, the Michigan native was publicly humiliated with the release of racy photos and eventually a DUI case that resulted in six months probation.

3) Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006Underage drinking and drug abuse, scandalous photos, tearful apologies, trips to rehab -- Conner dominated the headlines.

4) Lauren Upton, Miss South Carolina USA, 2007: You may not remember her name, but it’s likely you’ll remember her, um, unique answer to the question of why most Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map.

5) Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1983: The first-ever African-American Miss America, Williams was mired in controversy from nearly the beginning. After Penthouse published nude pictures of her from years prior, Williams was forced to resign. She eventually made a comeback with a successful music and acting career.

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