MANILA – Reigning Miss Universe Paulina Vega continues to distance herself from pageant co-owner Donald Trump, who recently made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.
But Vega, who hails from Colombia, refused to give up her crown, even if Trump called her a “hypocrite” on Twitter for doing so.
In an exclusive interview with Latina.com, Vega said she finds Trump’s remark “comical,” adding that she will not let the comments of the 2016 US presidential hopeful affect her.
She also explained why she is keeping the Miss Universe crown.
“The most comical is using the word: hypocrisy… Not renouncing my crown has nothing to do with what I do or what I don’t do. I have a legally binding contract and legal relationship with the organization, and it’s not so easy for me, like the artists have done, to renounce and say, ‘No. I’m not working for you anymore.’ I have a contract of one year,” she said.
“So it’s a much more complicated situation, but we have to understand that Trump is a very polemic person. I’m going to keep going forward and refuse his comments to affect me. Miss Universe the organization and I are much more than what this man says on Twitter.”
Last week, Vega released a statement on Trump’s anti-Latin remarks, which she described as “unjust and hurtful.”
“I find Trump’s comments unjust and hurtful. As a Colombian and as Miss Universe, I want to show my support and validate the sentiments of the Latin community,” she wrote.
She added: “The Miss Universe Organization works independently from its owners. For the past 64 years, they have created partnerships with great charity groups and have helped thousands of communities. Their legacy of uniting countries from around the world has been inspiring to many. If the Miss Universe Organization shared any anti-Latin statements or any type of racial biases, I wouldn’t be in this position today.
“I strongly believe that dividing and categorizing humankind only holds it back. Acknowledging and embracing the differences that exist across humanity is the first step in real and substantial development. We must strive together in order to improve the common good.”
Panama, Mexico and Costa Rica have pulled their contestants out of the Miss Universe pageant following Trump’s remarks about Mexicans during his campaign announcement last month.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
On Monday (Tuesday in Manila), Trump issued a new statement about Mexican immigration.
While he reiterated that “the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government,” he also noted that “many fabulous people come from Mexico and our country is better for it.”