Miss USA President Crystle Stewart and her company, Miss Brand Corporation came under the scanner after many Miss USA contestants questioned whether there was favouritism behind Miss USA 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel’s win. Amid speculations of the beauty pageant being rigged, former Miss Barbados Leilani McConney shared a video on her YouTube channel reacting to the same.
In her video, Leilani alleged that the Miss World pageant of 2000 was rigged too. Claiming that Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who won the crown, was favoured by the sponsors, she said she was reminded of what happened to her and other contestants after knowing about the Miss USA 2022 pageant controversy.
Talking about Miss World 2000, Leilani said in her video, "I literally went through the same thing at Miss World. Me, I went through that." She further cited examples of why she felt Priyanka was favoured over others and even claimed that the global star wasn't 'nice' and ‘unlikeable’ as a person. Miss Barbados stated, "So, I was Miss Barbados and I went to Miss World, and the year I went, Miss India won. Mind you, Miss India had won the previous year. The sponsor was also Zee TV, an Indian cable station. They sponsored the entire Miss World. Our sashes had Zee TV, and then our country."
Speaking of the swimsuit photoshoot, she recalled how Priyanka was the only person allowed to wear a sarong whereas the others were strictly told to pose in two-piece swimsuits. "Priyanka Chopra was the only person who was allowed to keep her sarong on. Apparently, she was using some skin tone cream to even out her skin tone, and it was still splotchy. I’m not saying that it was a bleaching cream, it was a skin tone cream. And it didn’t work, so she didn’t want to remove her sarong. So, during the actual judgement, she’s literally in a dress… If you’re a contestant in a pageant and somebody favours you, what will you do about it? Why wouldn’t you go along with it?" she claimed.
She also alleged, "Priyanka Chopra didn’t even go to rehearsals, and she didn’t go to morning meals. It was brought to her in her bed… Priyanka Chopra had absolute press calls by herself, that nobody else went to… Nobody else in the Asian region, nobody else was ever called for these press calls… During the contest, before she won, she had these pictures of her walking on the beach. Meanwhile, we’re all grouped together in this sand pit… The designer who designed her gown, also designed all of our gowns. Our gowns were basically mini bride gowns of her gown. And the gowns fit like crap, by the way. Her gown was immaculate."
In her video, Leilani said the contestants had an idea that Priyanka would be made the winner. "It was so amazing that they had that solidarity… At Miss World, everyone knew that Priyanka Chopra was going to win, and that it was rigged…," she shared.
Contestants of Miss USA 2022 alleged that the show’s sponsor was favouring the eventual winner, Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel. They noticed that she was being supported by the sponsors unethically. Further suspicions arose after her photoshoot pictures were shared the next day. It looked like as if those pictures were shot weeks before the winner announcement.
After winning Miss World in 2000, Priyanka went on to pursue a career in acting. She worked in Hindi cinema for years before establishing a footing in the US with Quantico. Currently, she is settled in LA with her husband Nick Jonas and daughter Malti Marie Chopra Jonas. Priyanka is actively working in Hollywood.