From pregnancy, to having sex on TV, and a nude photo scandal: 5 pageant queens who were stripped of their titles

Vanessa Williams relinquishes her Miss America title July 23, 1984 (Photo: Getty)
Vanessa Williams relinquishes her Miss America title July 23, 1984 (Photo: Getty)

Johannesburg – The pageant world is not always glitz, glamour, and sparkling crowns.

Just like royalty of any kind, pageant queens have strict rules and regulations that they have to abide by.

The world is watching, and one wrong move could mean the end of your reign, even if the reasoning is not always fair. 

Here are five beauty queens who had their titles removed. 

1. Vanessa Williams: Miss America 1984

Now a famed singer and TV personality, in September of 1983 Vanessa Williams won the title of Miss America 1984. She was the first African American to do so. Her victory, however, did not last long. 

A few months after winning the pageant, Vanessa relinquished her title when nude images of her were released in Penthouse magazine.

However, it seems that may all be water under the bridge now as the star returned to the Miss America pageant in 2015 where she was a judge.

2. Cristina Silva: Miss California USA 2007

Cristina proudly wore her title for four days when she had to hand the crown back because of an alleged error when tallying votes.

According to the LA Times, the then 24-year-old, was overjoyed when she was called to a meeting with the pageant director only to be told that the crown did not belong to her and had to be handed over to the runner-up of the competition, Miss Barstow, Raquel Beezley. 

3. Zara Holland: Miss Great Britain 2015/16

Zara Holland was stripped of her Miss Great Britain crown in 2016 after appearing on reality TV show Love Island.

According to reports, the decision to de-crown the beauty queen came after an episode of the show in which Zara allegedly had sex with the ex-boyfriend of another reality star. 

The Miss Great Britain organisation received backlash after the decision. In an attempt to clear the air, they responded to the incident via Twitter writing: "To be clear we have no problem at all with sex – it is perfectly natural. We simply can’t condone what happened on national TV."


4. Kathy Zhu: Miss Michigan 2019 

Kathy was known for her conservative views and her support for US President Donald Trump. She was eventually stripped of her title after a number of tweets which the Miss World America Michigan organisation deemed "offensive". 

According to an article by CNN, one such tweet, reportedly read: "Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others."

5. Joyce Prado: Miss Bolivia 2018

Joyce took home the title of Miss Bolivia in 2018 and went on to represent the country at the Miss Universe pageant that year. 

The beauty queen, who was unsuccessful at the Miss Universe pageant, returned home to complete her reign as Miss Bolivia but was later stripped of her crown for "breach of contract" after announcing in April of 2019 that she was pregnant.

A strict rule in most pageants is that contestants are not allowed to have children, be pregnant at the time of entering or fall pregnant during their reign. 

She may have lost her pageant title, but Joyce did not seem that phased, trading in her crown for something that was much more special to her.

In a message shared on Instagram, she called herself the "happiest woman in the world".   

Compiled by Nikita Coetzee (Sources: TIME, Los Angeles Times, The Telegraph, CNN, New York Post)