Not just a pretty face as contest gets ugly
MISS California may have looked calm and confident on the Las Vegas stage on her way to victory in the Miss USA pageant last Sunday, but the contest will be remembered for leaving the entrants "scared to death" at the contentious questions they were asked.
Alyssa Campanella (21) and her rivals were interrogated on whether evolution should be taught in schools, and whether the US Constitution should protect the burning of religious books. They were also asked if internet bullies should be prosecuted, and for their opinion on posing naked for photographs.
The organisers were criticised for the "polarising and intimidating" tone of the interview round, following the outcry after the 2009 pageant when Carrie Prejean, Miss California, stated that she was opposed to same-sex marriage.
This year's questions were designed to be "news-topical", but Keith Lewis, the state pageant director for California, New York and New Hampshire, said before the contest: "The girls are scared to death. They witnessed with Carrie Prejean how a firestorm can create a road kill."
Miss Campanella answered unequivocally that evolution should be taught in schools, but stumbled on the issue of marijuana legalisation.
She said: "I'm not sure if it should be legalised, if it would really affect, with the drug war I mean, it's abused today, unfortunately, so that's the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it's okay."
Miss Campanella also said she was a "huge history geek" and was "obsessed with the Stuart and Tudor era".
She said: "Whenever I go to the bookshop I'm always in the history section and that is where you will find me." (© Daily Telegraph, London)