I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed. No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good. You know, the dresses. ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.
At least six former beauty pageant contestants have now come forward to recount instances of Donald Trump walking into their backstage changing rooms. Some of those dressing rooms were occupied by contestants as young as 15 years old. These are the stories of the women who’ve come forward so far.
Bridget Sullivan – Miss New Hampshire from the 2000 Miss USA pageant spoke to Buzzfeed about a time she recalled Trump entering the dressing room. “The time that he walked through the dressing rooms was really shocking,” she said. “We were all naked.” Sullivan also said that Trump had a tendency to “hug you just a little low on your back,” and squeeze you “the way a creepy uncle would.” A Trump spokesman denied the allegations in a statement to Buzzfeed.
Tasha Dixon – A former Miss Arizona in the Miss USA pageant told CBS Los Angeles that Trump “just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.” Dixon also suggested that Trump’s whole reason for running the pageant was creep on contestants. “I’m telling you Donald Trump owned the pageant for the reasons to utilize his power to get around beautiful women,” she told the CBS affiliate. “Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant. There’s no one to complain to. Everyone there works for him.”
Mariah Billado – A former Miss Vermont in the Miss Teen USA pageant told Buzzfeed that Trump had no qualms about walking into the Miss Teen dressing rooms, where some of the contestants were as young as 15. “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” she recalled. She also remembered Trump saying something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
Three other former Miss Teen contestants – They declined to give their names to the press, but told Buzzfeed that Trump did enter the Miss Teen dressing room. Two of them recalled having to rush to cover their bodies.
In addition to the dressing room allegations, several other contestants in Trump’s pageants have come forward with related allegations of chauvinism, disrespect, and personal violations against the billionaire.
Former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado accused Trump of having mocked her over her weight and ethnicity, calling her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”. Last month, Trump doubled down on his criticisms of Machado’s weight.
And Former Miss Australia Jodie Seal said Trump was frequently sexist and controlling. “He’d walk by while we were eating,” she recalled to Inside Edition, in a discussion that covered Alicia Machado’s experience with Trump’s weight-shaming. “He put a lot of the girls down. It was supposed to be the time of our lives.”
Leah Laviano, a former Miss Mississippi, said that private meetings between the contestants and Trump felt like a “cattle call” in which Trump would make women stand there and be evaluated women one-by-one.
Many women who were once involved in beauty pageants run or owned by Trump haven’t spoken to the press, but a few have defended the reality TV star. “I thought he was a nice man,” former Miss Sweden Camilla Hanson said.