On CNN, Former Miss Australia Says Trump Made Pageant Contestants Feel “Fat, Just Quite Worthless All Of The Time"

Jodie Seal: “It Makes A Huge Impact On A Girl Who's Quite Young”

From the September 29 edition of CNN's CNN Tonight with Don Lemon:

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DON LEMON (HOST): You were Ms. Australia in 1996, in the Miss Universe Pageant with Alicia Machado. You say you were also fat-shamed by Donald Trump?

JODIE SEAL: Yes, that's true. Yeah, it was, like I said, many, many moons ago it happened, but the memories are really, really raw, really quite fresh, and everything that's going on today brings it all back. He told me to stick my gut in, quite often he'd be walking through where we were kind of eating or where we were performing, and just kind of casting his eyes over the ones that were a little bit plumper and kind of favoring the girls that were a little less. So, very much he enforced exercise in his hot little tent in Las Vegas. We all had leg weights on. We were meant to be representing our countries as the most beautiful women in the world, and we were made to feel like fat, just quite worthless all of the time, so it was quite disappointing. 

LEMON: He said it to you and other women? You heard him?

SEAL: Other women, that's correct, yes, yeah.

LEMON: If someone were to say to you, “this was part of pageant culture,” but I'm sure you were involved in a number of pageants. Were you ever treated that way in any other pageant?

SEAL: I wasn't. I was just a small town girl from Australia. I'm sure other girls may have been treated like that in their pageantry. For me, I just went into it for a laugh, to experience the world. Donald Trump was the first American man I'd ever met, so let's just put it that way, quite a shock. And it was -- I know what people are saying, you go into a pageant, you expect to be treated a certain way. But we were 19 years old. If you think of it this way, we had chaperones. We weren't allowed to leave our room without an adult chaperone, yet we were forced to wear swimsuits, which is part of the pageant, but not everyday life. We had to wear it to restaurants. We had to wear it -- he wanted us to be sexy all the time, and for an older man of influence, who was running the show for his first year, to come up to you and say, “stick your tummy, stick your gut in,” rather than take you aside or get one of your minders to say it to you in a nice quiet voice, I think it’s very -- it's very condescending, and it makes a huge impact on a girl quite who's quite young.

LEMON: Thank you for explaining that. You describe him as being very controlling, like Mussolini. Why do you say that?

SEAL: Yes. He was. I guess for me, it was his first year there. I've got a good friend who was Miss Australia the year before, and she experienced nothing like that in her Miss Universe experience. It was all very kind of -- people were made to feel beautiful and appreciated, whereas kind of Donald would come in and assert his authority and say, “you in the front row,” and “yeah that's sexy,” and kind of favoring the girls that were a lot thinner, a lot sexier, and playing favorites quite a lot and making a lot of girls feel down --

LEMON: Did you think that he would ever be running or could be the candidate that might be the next president of the United States. 

SEAL: No, Lord no, oh my gosh. No, not at all. Not in a million years, yeah.


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