When I read about the Miss California saga, I am reminded of Vanessa Williams, a former Miss America. I wonder what would she think of all this.
Let’s juxtapose the two situations. On May 12, Donald Trump announced that Miss California Carrie Prejean gets to keep her state crown, despise the release of semi-nude photos. It was reported earlier that the pageant contract Prejean signed had a clause stating that the discovery of semi-nude photos could mean disqualification.
Trump, who owns the Miss Universe organization said that the photos did not violate her contract as Miss California.
In 1984, Vanessa Williams won the Miss America title. But soon after, she was forced to turn in her crown after Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her. For some people, there is a perception of a double standard, as Miss Williams is African-American. But perhaps it is more of corporate America at work here. Maybe, Trump feels that more publicity can be generated by letting her stay.
But Vanessa Williams turns out to be a woman made of pretty strong stuff. She picked herself up. She reinvented herself, and carved a successful singer career. In 1989, she was awarded the NAACP Image Award, and was given a standing ovation by the audience. She also launched her acting career and remains a successful and respected artiste till this day.
Somehow, I don’t think Miss California will have such resilience and staying power, despite given the break by Trump. I mean, how many people actually remember her real name? I did an informal survey, and found that when talking about this issue, people mostly refer to her as Miss California, and not by her name. And besides she seems to be quite a whiner.
Let’s see if her 15 minutes of fame will translate to something bigger, or will it fizzle out in the near future.