Trump Admitted Entering Changing Rooms of Beauty Pageant Contestants?

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In mid-2024, viral social media posts claimed former U.S. President Donald Trump had boasted about entering changing rooms of Miss Teen USA contestants, many of whom were underage. 


(Screenshot via X)

Various posts pointed out that Trump once owned a number of beauty pageants, including Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA, but did not specify which pageant contestant rooms he supposedly bragged about entering. 


(Screenshot via X)

One post claimed to quote Trump telling radio host Howard Stern on “The Howard Stern Show” that he walked in on Miss Teen USA contestants who were around 14 to 16 years old at the time: “I’ll go backstage before a Miss Teen USA show and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything and no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant […].”

(Screenshot via X)

We looked closely at Trump’s past comments, as well as real allegations made by former beauty pageant contestants from both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions. Trump did indeed brag about walking in on contestants, but was referring to Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants, whose contestants are 18 or older. The above quote in which he appeared to brag about walking in on Miss Teen USA contestants misrepresented a real comment he made to Stern.

That said, there have been numerous serious allegations about Trump from both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contestants, reporting that decades ago, he walked into their dressing rooms while they were partially naked (which Trump’s spokesperson denied in 2016). We cannot prove or disprove their exact accounts, and while Trump did not admit to walking in on underage contestants, he certainly admitted to Stern his inappropriate behavior during other pageants. 

What Exactly Did Trump Say to Stern? 

From 1995 to 2015, Trump co-owned the Miss Universe Organization, which included Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. CNN in 2016 reviewed clips of his numerous conversations with Stern and said they depicted Trump as being frequently demeaning to women. CNN published sections of the audio clips as well, and the quote in question can be heard at the 1:40 mark:

In an April 2005 episode, Stern asked Trump if he ever had sex with Miss USA or Miss Universe contestants, according to CNN’s report, to which Trump said, “I never comment on things like that.” 

They continued to chat for a few minutes, when co-host Robin Quivers asked Trump if he thought sleeping with contestants was a conflict of interest. Trump said, “It could be a conflict of interest. But, you know, it’s the kind of thing you worry about later, you tend to think about the conflict a little bit later on.”

Stern then put on a fake foreign accent—referring to international contestants in the Miss Universe pageant — and said, “Some of these foreign girls” say hello in their country “with vagina.” Trump then said, “Well, what you could also say is that, as the owner of the pageant, it’s your obligation to do that.”

He then described how he got away with going backstage while the contestants were naked:

Well, I’ll tell you the funniest is that before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good. […] You know, the dresses. ‘Is everyone okay?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody okay?’ And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that. But no, I’ve been very good.

According to Miss USA and Miss Universe websites, contestants have to be at least 18 years old. In the above conversation with Stern, Trump was referring to those contests. He did not reference Miss Teen USA in his comments, indicating that the above X post edited his actual words. 

Did Trump Walk in on Partially Dressed Contestants?

Trump, in his own words from 2005, admitted to doing so with regard to some of the pageants (referring to either Miss USA or Miss Universe). However, his representatives would deny years later that he ever behaved that way.

But some former Miss Teen USA pageant contestants have accused him of walking into their changing room. In a 2016 Buzzfeed News investigation, nearly half a dozen former contestants of Miss Teen USA claimed that Trump walked in on them changing — some of the girls in those rooms were reportedly 15 years old when it happened. 

One incident reportedly occurred in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant. Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA, recalled, “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here’.” She then remembered Trump saying, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.” Four other women also alleged that Trump entered the dressing room; eleven contestants that Buzzfeed reached said they did not recall him in the dressing room. 

In 2016, a former Miss USA contestant, who was 18 years old at the time, said that Trump walked into their changing room: “Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked changing into our bikinis. He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”

She said they were told to greet him while in an awkward position where “the owner [came] waltzing in when we were naked or half naked in a very physically vulnerable position and then to have the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention.”

In a statement to media in October 2016, in the midst of his first presidential campaign, Trump’s spokesperson denied all the allegations from the former contestants: “These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present. When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations are and why the media is pushing it.”

In Summary

It is clear that Trump himself boasted about entering contestant dressing rooms, but those comments occurred during a discussion about Miss USA and Miss Universe, not Miss Teen USA. However, real allegations from former contestants of both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA bolstered claims that Trump behaved inappropriately. However, given that the events occurred decades ago, and we only have the contradicting accounts from Trump himself, as well as his accusers’ statements, we are unable to definitively say ourselves whether or not he actually entered the dressing rooms. 

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