Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado on the Miss Venezuela Pageant Scandal: 'You Saw Strange Things Sometimes'

Former Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe Alicia Machado comments on the Miss Venezuela Organizations suspension amid a corruption and prostitution scandal.

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Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado was a guest on Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día where she gave her thoughts on the recent Miss Venezuela pageant scandal involving alleged prostitution and government corruption.

On March 21, the Miss Venezuela pageant proceedings were temporarily suspended after accusations surfaced that some of the contestants would perform sexual favors to get wealthy sponsors to pay for aesthetic procedures and designer clothing during the competition for the crown. The scandal also allegedly involves Venezuelan government officials, with some claiming that funds from the state have been used to pay for these illicit activities.

“After the events described recently on social media, in anonymous blogs and by some people related to the Miss Venezuela pageant, we have decided to start an internal investigation,” read a recent statement by the Miss Venezuela Organization. “While this process is developing, the Miss Venezuela headquarters will close its doors and the castings for Miss Venezuela and Mr. Venezuela will be temporarily suspended.”

Machado was interviewed by the morning show’s hosts, Rashel Díaz and Daniel Sarcos, about her experience as Miss Venezuela in 1995 before being crowned Miss Universe in 1996. “Each case is different. Every girl has had a different experience. My experience was different. I won’t deny that you saw strange things sometimes, maybe people who were sponsored by businessmen. I thank God that my parents could help me with their own efforts,” she said.

The Venezuelan actress added that politics in her country has a lot to do with the alleged corruption inside the pageant. “Unfortunately Venezuela has a social and moral distortion and destruction that is a product of the political system that has completely destroyed our country,” she said. “The Miss Venezuela Organization is not the exception.”

Machado shared the panel with former Miss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos and Venezuelan journalist Ibéyise Pacheco, author of the book Las Muñecas de la Corona (“The Dolls of the Crown”), inspired by what goes on behind the scenes in the beauty pageant world.

Castellanos, who was Miss Venezuela in 2013, said she never had any indecent proposals but admitted that she got invitations to meet with wealthy businessmen who could pay for expensive things she needed for the pageant. Although she turned them down, she adds that she witnessed other contestants received special treatment. “In my year there, you would see a girl get there in public transportation or in a taxi, and three months later that girl had her own car, an apartment, and they came from dubious origins,” she revealed.

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