Miss USA Contestants Speak Out on Staying in the Pageant: ‘We Were Not Going to Let Our States Down’
ETOnline.com – Perhaps lost in the political scuffle between NBC and Univision’s decision to drop the Miss USA pageant, in light of offensive immigration comments made by pageant co-owner Donald Trump, are the contestants themselves, some of whom have real-life immigration stories they were hoping to share as part of their push to take home top honors in the July 12 competition.
ET sat down with Miss California, Natasha Martinez, and Miss Texas, Ylianna Guerra, to hear their stories and their thoughts on the media whirlwind that has surrounded this year’s pageant.
REELZ today announced they have acquired the rights to exclusively telecast the 2015 MISS USA® Pageant on Sunday, July 12 at 8:00 PM ET and PT.
“The decision on the part of REELZ to acquire the rights to the MISS USA Pageant was based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition,” said Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of REELZ. “As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere. For us, this decision is about the dreams of the contestants who come from all walks of life across the United States, the city of Baton Rouge that has proudly come together to host this pageant and the viewers who will be watching and celebrating its 54th year on television. The MISS USA Pageant is a perfect fit on REELZ where movies, entertainment and celebrity come together every day of the year.”
About REELZCHANNEL—Hollywood Happens Here™
Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela 2013, is crowned Miss Universe 2013, onstage during MISS UNIVERSE® 2013 from Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia on November 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM ET on NBC.
HO/Miss Universe L.P., LLLP
REELZ is a leading independent cable and satellite general entertainment network, connecting its viewers across America with the magic, wonder and excitement of Hollywood wherever it happens. The network is home to cutting-edge factual entertainment and reality programs, compelling television events, miniseries, movies and series featuring big stories and big stars. Programming ranges from the critically acclaimed and award-winning The Kennedys to Hollywood Hillbillies, Beverly Hills Pawn, Branson Taxi, Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…, Celebrity Legacies, OK! TV, Hollywood Scandals, the upcoming series Master P’s Family Empire and miniseries The Kennedys: After Camelot and much more that connects directly to the world of entertainment. REELZ also showcases top movie and entertainment expert Leonard Maltin who provides specific on-air recommendations for movies viewers can watch at home.
REELZ reaches 70 million homes on DIRECTV channel 238, DISH Network channel 299, Verizon FiOS TV channel 233, Time Warner Cable channel 128, AT&T U-verse channels 799/1799HD and cable systems nationwide. Find REELZ in your area by visiting www.reelz.com. REELZ is a High-Definition network and if it is not available, or not in HD, on your cable or telco provider, we encourage viewers to call them and ask for it. Cox Cable does not carry REELZ. Owned by Hubbard Media Group, REELZ is headquartered in Albuquerque, NM with national ad sales based in New York City with offices in Boston and Chicago. As one of the last truly independent television networks remaining in today’s media landscape REELZ has created the Independence Happens Here™ website to help keep free thought and innovation alive by highlighting the importance of independent businesses. The website can be found at http://IndependenceHappensHere.com.
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People.com – Miss USA lost hosts Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts following co-owner Donald Trump’s controversial stance on immigration – but one host vows to stay with the pageant.
PEOPLE has exclusively learned that Jeannie Mai, who took issue with the real estate tycoon’s comments, remains committed to the pageant’s cause and will be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 12 as planned.
“While I absolutely do not condone Mr. Trump’s statements, after careful deliberation I have decided to continue my role as co-host of the upcoming Miss USA Pageant,” Mai, 36, says in a statement.
“For the past several years, I have been co-hosting both Miss USA and Miss Universe aligned to support President Paula Shugart. I can’t abandon these women when they need our support now more than ever,” Mai, who also hosts the daytime talk show The Real, continues. “The mission of the Miss Universe organization has always been to unite women from all over the world and celebrate different cultures.They empower women to become role models in their communities in order to build self-esteem and advance philanthropic initiatives.
It’s been a whirlwind week for Miss USA/Miss Universe president Paula Shugart: Following GOP hopeful Donald Trump’s offensive comments about Latinos in his campaign kickoff speech, Shugart found herself in the midst of a week-long media onslaught as one by one, performers, co-hosts, and broadcast networks dropped their support of the 64-year-old organization and its annual beauty pageants. Here, Shugart sets the record straight about her plans to stream the upcoming Miss USA pageant online, her role in the ongoing controversy and whether or not the show—in this case, the 2016 Miss Universe pageant—will go on.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you have any kind of conversation with Trump about the future of the Miss USA/Miss Universe pageants before he went public with the decision to pursue the Republican presidential nomination?
PAULA SHUGART: No. We were really business as usual. We are such a small fraction of his business empire, and that of NBC Universal for that matter, so we’ve always operated as a stand-alone company. Honestly, I think our reigning Miss Universe has been at events with him maybe three times in the last seven months. So that’s something I want to impart, that we’re a stand-alone company that operates on its own. We’re a little company that happens to have been caught between two behemoths.
Mark your calendars for the #MissUSA Preliminary Competition streaming LIVE on missusa.com at 9/8c on Wednesday, July 8th. See all 51 contestants compete in swimwear and evening gown to place in the #Top15 for the 2015 MISS USA Pageant LIVE on July 12th. Don’t miss it!
Hosted by Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez and Nick Teplitz.
Taylor Burton, Miss Maryland USA 2014, is announced as a top 20 finalist in Sherri Hill fashion and Chinese Laundry shoes during the 2014 MISS USA® Competition from the Baton Rouge River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 8, 2014 at 8/7c on NBC. She is competing for the title of Miss USA 2014, the coveted Miss USA crown, and the chance to represent the USA at the 2014 MISS UNIVERSE® Competition. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP.