Donald Trump’s comments calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug runners have dimmed the spotlight for the 51 women competing in the Miss USA pageant this weekend.
Turmp is a co-owner of the pageant, and since he spoke, networks and celebrities have ended their affilition with the annual event.
Miss USA’s co-owner NBC ended its business relationship with Trump and dropped the pageant. Univision also said it wouldn’t air the pageant because of Trump’s “insulting” comments. A number of companies, including Macy’s, have cut ties with anything associated with Trump.
That means 51 women have lost a huge opportunity to be recognised. And it’s an opportunity they have worked really hard for.
Last year, the Miss USA pageant was viewed by more than 5.5 million people on NBC. It’s unclear what the reach will be like this year. Right now, a little-known cable network called ReelzChannel will be broadcasting the pageant live.
The Miss Universe Organisation has pointed out that it’s an independently-run company. Trump isn’t the one running the show. He doesn’t spend a lot of time with the titleholders either. But that hasn’t mattered to angry celebrity hosts and networks.
Those 51 women competing this weekend have spent months, maybe years, just to make it to the national stage for what’s widely referred to as the “Super Bowl of pageants.” The day NBC dropped the pageant was also the same day the women arrived in Baton Rouge for two weeks of appearances, volunteer work, rehearsals, and preliminaries.
Competing on a national level requires a great deal of work and commitment. The preparation process includes eating healthy, working out, learning how to walk and pose, and how to interview and speak well publicly. It also involves numerous appearances and countless hours of community service and volunteer work.
It’s incredibly expensive too. Yes, there are sponsorships, but many of the women and their families likely had to fundraise to pay for travel and gowns and all of the other costs associated with pageantry.
The contestants make these sacrifices because the Miss USA pageant is a change to be discovered. Celebrities like Eva Longoria, Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams all competed in pageants in the past and so have Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. For many of these 51 women, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Scroll down to meet these ladies.