ormer Miss California Carrie Prejean has admitted making a sex tape for a boyfriend as a teenager and is describing the episode as "the biggest mistake of my life." But she's hardly the first beauty queen to endure public embarrassment. Here are several of her more notable predecessors:
In 1983, Williams became the first black winner of the Miss America pageant. Ten months later she was pressured to resign her crown when Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her posing with another woman. Williams says that the pictures were innocent--that she was merely helping a photographer she worked for conceptualize a shoot--and that they were never meant to be made public. She initially filed a lawsuit against Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, but later dropped the case to focus on her music career. She has subsequently enjoyed great success as both a singer and actress.
After being named Miss Nevada USA in 2006, Rees lost her title when photos emerged of her flashing her breasts and her thong underwear and kissing other young women in a nightclub. Last year, she was arrested for assaulting a cop after a traffic stop and subsequently detained in Australia on suspicion of drug trafficking (no charges were filed).
The 2008 winner of Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageant became a household name when she skipped out on a restaurant bill and left behind her purse containing a small bag of marijuana. When she returned to retrieve the purse, she was arrested for both theft and drug possession. She lost her title ten days before the end of her reign.
The first American ever to win the Miss World pageant quickly became a tabloid celebrity linked to various famous men including married Welsh crooner Tom Jones and British soccer star George Best. According to the New York Times, she resigned her crown after Best was charged with burglarizing her home. She went on to enjoy later success as a talkshow host.
Although Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, was one of the worst-behaved pageant queens, she was not stripped of her title thanks to the support of business mogul (and owner of the Miss USA franchise) Donald Trump. Days after newspaper reports that the party girl had tested positive for cocaine, Trump announced Conner was going to rehab, but would keep her title.
Lauren Caitlin Upton
The 18-year-old Upton, representing South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA 2007 competition, became an overnight internet sensation for her incoherent, rambling response to a question about why so many Americans can’t locate their own country on a map. She replied: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children."
(Watch Lauren Caitlin Upton give her timeless response about Americans and maps)
Miss New Jersey 2007 pre-empted greater scandal when she announced that would-be blackmailers were threatening to release old photos from her Facebook page if she refused to relinquish her title. Polumbo later released photos of herself drinking and partying. "They're not that bad, but they were meant to be private," Polumbo said.
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Watch The Daily Show mock the NSA and the gamers they're spying on
- The secrets of happy families
- How did Love Actually become so controversial? A theory
- What every TV show can learn from Sleepy Hollow
- Americans are wealthier than ever*
- Antarctica recently experienced the coldest day in recorded history
- President Obama snapped a selfie during Nelson Mandela's memorial service
- Godzilla: Watch the surprisingly grim trailer for the blockbuster reboot
Subscribe to the Week