There is no peace in the Miss USA pageant world.
The organization is rocked by accusations of cheating and favoritism, and the contestants aren’t hiding their feelings, as several walked off the stage when Miss Texas, R’Bonney Gabriel, was crowned the new winner.
Several competitors are convinced that R’Bonney was the predetermined winner, as evidenced by the build-up to the coronation ceremony on Monday, October 3. The seemingly shunned women point to the fact that the Asian-Filipino American was extremely close to Miss USA director Crystle Stewart and visited a plastic surgery spa, a key part of the winning prize, weeks before being crowned. The eventual winner – Miss Texas – also participated in a pageant coaching venture run by Crystle, which solidified the women’s friendship.
Miss Montana, Heather Lee O’Keefe, took to TikTok to outline the cheating allegations.
“Most Miss USA contestants are very convinced that there was favoritism towards Miss Texas USA and we have the receipts to prove it,” she said in a TikTok video, via MailOnline. “We’re putting our titles on the line, putting our reputation on the line.”
In another video, she said, “That’s how confident we are in believing and standing up for what’s right. Many of us have even said we’re willing to give up our titles to take that stand, because that’s how serious we are about this.”
While it’s customary for Miss USA contestants to stand on stage and applaud the winner, the video shows the beauty queens going on a mass exodus following R’Bonney’s victory.
Miss Texas rivals believe the solution was long before coronation night. A video of Crystle doing R’Bonney’s hair weeks before the ceremony is just one element of the controversy. Additionally, Heather pointed to a video of R’Bonney getting pampered at NIZUC Resort & Spa over two months ago — the station tweeted the video shortly after the win. The spa visit is usually offered within days of winning, not months before.
“@MissUSA was crowned less than 24 hours ago, but she’s already got her sponsored vacation at @NIZUCResort,” Heather said. ” You are laughing at me ? I gave you all the benefit of the doubt, but it’s just embarrassing at this point.
Miss Texas, Heather also claims, was the only one featured on the Miss USA website. Also, it turns out that one of the Miss USA judges is believed to be the founder of a NIZUC-affiliated beauty company.
“Since Miss Texas was crowned a few months ago, the Miss USA organization has shown her patronage through their businesses which are also all owned by the same woman,” Heather said.
Former Miss USA contestant Jasmine Jones, who has been involved in pageantry for a decade, also said the favoritism was “obvious” and insisted the mass exodus was a “big telltale” that ” something was wrong”.
“In the background, the girls were literally clapping [weakly] and they started leaving the stage before she even turned around for her congratulatory embrace of the other contestants,” she said. “Even before she got halfway down the runway to her crowning moment, the contestants behind her exited the stage.”
According to Heather, several women from the Class of 2021 have filed a lawsuit against the organizers.