Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner says she doesn’t think the pageant’s new photos – which feature the ladies in various states of undress and wearing lingerie – are a big deal. In fact, she welcomes the image change.
“For so many years they’ve tried to make the girls look as wholesome or ‘Polly Purebread’ as possible,” Tara told Access Hollywood on Tuesday. “It’s refreshing… it’s sexy and you’re allowed to be sexy. Women are allowed to be sexy.”
After almost losing her crown following a battle with drug addiction and rehab stint, Tara is no stranger to pageant controversy. The 24-year-old beauty – who has been sober for over three years – told Access that she doesn’t find the photos too provocative.
“I don’t find them racy. In fact, I wish I had a photo shoot like that while I was Miss USA because most girls who end up being Victoria’s Secret models or get on the cover of Sports Illustrated, they’re gonna do shots like that,” she continued. “It’s not a rare thing that’s never been done. So, I really don’t see what the big deal is.”
The former beauty queen says the new photos are actually quite similar to ones she took with the rest of the contestants in 2006.
“We did the same poses. We had a different backdrop and different jewelry and they actually had more clothes on than what we did!” she told Access. “A swimsuit and lingerie are…they’re exactly the same thing. One’s just different material.”
Tara explained that she would have felt “comfortable” doing this photo shoot, saying, “To me, it’s been done before. It’s just in different clothing.”
Access also spoke with pageant owner Donald Trump on Tuesday, who said the photos in question are keeping Miss USA in step with the times.
“They’re beautiful pictures. They’re magnificent girls and the photographer is one of the best and he’s really frankly done a good job. They’re artsy,” he told Access. “We have to stay up with the times, we have to stay relevant and…that’s what we’ve done.”
The Miss USA pageant will air on May 16 on NBC at 7 PM.