The former Miss Universe spent a tumultuous election season campaigning for Hillary Clinton, but was the subject of obscene negative comments from Trump and his fans, and even death threats, for her support.
Machado, 38, says she couldn’t believe Trump is even in the race.
“When I saw him become a candidate, I was in shock. I said, ‘It can’t be that this monster is back in my life,’ ” Machado tells PEOPLE en Español.
Machado made headlines after Clinton brought her up during the first presidential debate, citing Trump’s treatment of Machado while he owned the Miss Universe pageant as an example of his poor treatment of women. The Republican nominee then doubled down on his criticism of the Venezuela native he once called “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
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“I don’t forgive this man who [made it okay for people] speak badly about [me],” the former Miss Universe says.. “I cannot stay quiet.”
After the debate, Trump continued to bash Machado, and went on a 3 a.m. Twitter rant where he suggested that she had a sex tape — a claim that was later proven to be untrue. But it ignited a slew of hateful comments from his followers.
“To be in this position, they’re going to say that I’m a whore. It’s already happening. They’re saying it again. That I look fat or old. Of all the things they can say to me in this moment, I already lived it,” Machado says.
Machado isn’t letting their comments get to her.
“They won’t intimidate me because I’m backed up by the truth,” she says. “As long as I’m firm and strong in my convictions, I’m at peace and moving forward.”
Machado spent her years post-Miss Universe acting in telenovelas, and now runs an online store, is filming a movie in the U.S., is writing a memoir, and continues to work on her foundation, Mamis Solas, which aids other single moms.
Machado, who became a U.S. citizen in August to vote against Trump, says she decided to jump into the political fray for her 8-year-old daughter Dinorah.
“My daughter motivated me to share my story,” Machado explains. “She’s a very happy girl, who was born in this country. I have to share that and maybe my story can make some people understand the magnitude of what it would mean to have Trump as the leader of the most important country in the world.”
PEOPLE en Español will announce its Most Influential List 2016 on Despierta America on Wednesday morning.