With his new Alicia Machado middle-of-the-night attacks, Donald Trump refuses to let his beauty pageant past go. It's especially witless that he finds her posing for nude photos long ago as "disgusting"--when his own wife did the same. This reminds me of my only brush with a beauty contest, before Trump took it on--back in 1974, when it was briefly based in my hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y. I covered the contest that year for my magazine, Crawdaddy, and wrote a much-too-long cover story, offending many in town with my pro-feminist slant. I think the headline was something like, "Selling Boobs to the Rubes.'
What was cool that year was that in contrast to many recent winners, the reigning Miss USA (left) was a very un-glossy, intelligent, hip young woman, who was blessed (or blessed herself) with the name Amanda Jones--as in the Rolling Stones song "Miss Amanda Jones"--marched in peace rallies, was pro-choice, and spoken out about feminism (and against the contest itself) during her year on the job. As she told Bob Barker on the night was crowned: "I'm not the [beauty pageant] type." She even on occasion asked that she be referred to as "Ms. USA." Imagine that today.
When I interviewed her she was clearly ready to leave the post and promised a surprise for the night of the big telecast. Sure enough, at the close of the ceremony, as she gave her "final walk" as queen, she looked straight into the camera (and, at that time, still a large TV audience) and gave the famous signal from the recent hit film, The Sting--indicating the whole beauty contest thing was a sham, a "con." Good times! Studs Terkel later interviewed her for a book. Her Wikipedia entry details it.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Me, Donald Trump, and Miss USA
is author of a dozen books (click on covers at right), including the new "THE TUNNELS: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill." He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publisher. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @GregMitch