The 8 Craziest Beauty Pageant Scandals of All Time
Like The Bachelor and every Real Housewives franchise, beauty pageants join the long list of TV that we love to hate. Between the swimsuit competition, the hidden talents, and the inevitably incoherent answers to questions like, “How do we restore world peace?” it’s impossible to look away. (To be fair, who on Earth could answer that question in 30 seconds or less?)
In honor of Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, we’ve rounded up eight beauty pageant scandals that are bound to make you laugh, cry, and cringe.
1. When Steve Harvey crowned the wrong Miss Universe.
It was the flub that will go down in pageant history. Host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as Miss Universe 2015. The winner was crowned before Harvey came back on stage and revealed that the real winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. The crown was taken off Miss Colombia’s head and given to Miss Philippines, a mishap that repeated itself at the 2017 Academy Awards when the wrong winner for Best Picture was announced.
2. When Miss Teen South Carolina gave this hilarious answer.
Why can’t Americans locate the U.S. on a world map? Let Miss Teen South Carolina try to answer that one for you.
3. When this runner up was the sorest loser.
This Brazilian beauty pageant took a turn for the worst when the runner-up, refushing to accept her defeat, ripped the crown off the winner’s head and threw it to the floor before storming off stage.
4. When Miss USA Crystle Stewart took a spill.
Stewart was competing as Miss USA in the Miss Universe pageant in 2008 when she took a tumble in her evening gown as she walked onto the stage. Luckily, she recovered quickly, clapping and smiling as she got off the ground and continued her strut.
5. When Steve Harvey wasn’t the only one who mixed up the winner.
At the 2011 Miss Asia San Diego competition, the fourth runner-up was wrongfully named as the winner. Unfortunately, the slip up didn’t get addressed until two weeks later, when the rightful winner, Kristen Paruginog, was crowned. Whoops.
6. When the judges miscalculated the scores.
The runner-up was also named the winner at the Miss Universe Canada 2013 pageant, where Denise Garrido had her crown removed 24 hours after the ceremony. An audit of the scores found that the first runner-up, Riza Santos, was actually the rightful winner.
7. When Miss Utah couldn’t answer this question about equal pay.
You won’t be able to stop cringing when you listen to Miss Utah try to respond to a question about the gender wage gap.
8. When Miss USA lied about her age—and her marital status.
Leona Gage of Maryland was named Miss USA in 1957, but stripped of her crown only one day later when the organization found out she had lied about her age. While she claimed to be 18 and single, she was actually a 21-year-old housewife with two sons. The things we’ll do for a crown.