A look back at happier times as Reuters archive video shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with his now outspoken critic, Alicia Machado, who won the 1996 Miss Universe title.
THE former Miss Universe winner who Donald Trump called “Miss Piggy” has struck back at the presidential candidate after allegations of his sexist insults towards her stole the show at the first US leaders debate.
Alicia Machado was hurled into the spotlight on Tuesday when Hillary Clinton raised her opponent’s history of sexist comments, using the former beauty queen’s story as her prime example.
“One of the worst things he has said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them, and he called this woman Miss Piggy, then called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina,” Clinton said.
“Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado and she has become a US citizen, and you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”
Ms Machado, who is a Clinton supporter, has said she was surprised to hear the presidential nominee invoke her name in the debate, but it’s Clinton’s opponent who she’s blamed for using her for publicity.
In an overnight blitz of news and current affairs networks, the former Miss Universe Venezuela — and first winner of the competition under Trump’s ownership — slammed the Republican candidate and former Miss Universe proprietor.
Ms Machado told Good Morning America: “He used me to make publicity.”
The former beauty queen has blamed Trump for sparking the eating disorders that plagued her for years after her 1996 pageant victory. She said he forced her to work out in front of the press and publicly ridiculed her over gaining weight after she claimed the title.
In private, Ms Machado said Trump insulted her and pressured her to lose weight.
Speaking to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, she warned his supporters.
“I don’t believe that person is the right person trying to be president,” she said.
“I think I can open a few eyes. I can change a few minds, then I don’t think this is the right person that can be a president. I know this person and he’s not a good person.”
Also on Tuesday, Ms Machado spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, telling him Trump was “really rude with me”.
“He tried to destroy my self esteem,” she said.
Ms Machado has conceded Trump’s comments came two decades ago, but says she has felt the effects of his words for years after.
She said the man she sees running for president today is the same one who publicly insulted her in front of TV cameras after her Miss Universe win.
“This happened 20 years ago … he was more just a business guy, and I was a little girl, too, 18 years old,” she told Kelly on Fox.
“I’m here because I know this person and he’s not a good person. The point is, no more abuse for us. No more abuse for the girls. If you gain weight, if you don’t look the most beautiful girl in the world, you have your mind, you have your heart, you are intelligent.”
Since being mentioned in the debate, Ms Machado has also had some not so favourable press, with allegations she was involved in a murder plot also emerging.
Reports from 1998 claim she was accused of aiding attempted murder and threats to kill in Venezuela.
A CNN report from 1997 shows Mr Trump defending Ms Machado, and appearing supportive of her following her post-win weight gain.
“Some people when they have pressure eat too much. Like me. Like Alicia,” he said told media in New York.
According to the report, Trump said he would never allow Ms Machado to be forced to give up her crown.