Miss USA’s Racy Photos: Controlled Controversy

When life gives you lemons, go to Las Vegas. That’s what Donald Trump is doing with his Miss USA pageant, which takes place this week. And it looks like Donald is running the Vegas theme all the way through, with all 51 contestants posing for their official pageant photos in racy lingerie, reports NBC.

Taken by fashion photographer Fadil Berisha, the black-and-white photos look stunning. But are they too provocative for the Miss USA pageant? With the motif “Waking Up in Vegas” this year’s photos feature barely-clad contestants, all looking quite sexy in the kind of spread you’d normally find in Maxim.

But it’s not just the photos themselves that are stirring up controversy–it’s the fact that last year’s Miss USA was nearly fired when her topless photos surfaced on the web. Everyone remembers Carrie Prejean’s impassioned apology last year, as Donald Trump came to the rescue by saving her job. In the days of digital discovery, the Miss USA pageant is looking to take more control over its image by giving into the wolves.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

Instead of waiting for controversial photos to be discovered on the web, the Miss USA pageant will just incorporate some controversial photos into their contest. Appealing to all those that would perk their ears and eyes to a nearly-nude photo, the beauty pageant is drumming up its own scandal of sorts. And it seems to be working.

Miss USA Racy PicsParents and women’s rights advocates have voiced their disdain for the new Miss USA campaign, saying the sexier new image is not one that young girls should be emulating. It’s an ongoing battle that must consider the popular vote as well as the politically correct.

When it comes to saving a declining business, re-branding is a must. Every decade or so, many beauty pageants have dealt with a major scandal that shifts public option to the point of necessary change. Vanessa Williams’ nude photos lost her the title of Miss America in the 1980s, rebounding to win a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony Award, starring in major films and television shows. Not only did Williams’ scandal force a reformation within the beauty pageant industry, but it indirectly helped to launch her career.

With sexiness being infused into everything we see, from video games to hamburgers, beauty pageants have become a little prudish by current standards. Compromising some of those standards is a decision the Miss USA pageant has had to ponder, and not surprisingly, sexiness has won out.

Representatives from the Miss USA pageant have responded to the controversy by reminding us that they’re in the business of beauty, emphasizing that the new direction of this year’s photo shoot is a sign of the times. Lacking a talent portion in its competition, the Miss USA pageant has always been a little more about “beauty” than the long-established Miss America pageant. But as a contest that began with the rebellion and determination of a Miss America winner that resigned from her position when asked to pose for swimsuit photos, the “in-your-face” attitude of Miss USA lives on…in Vegas.

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