Amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel’s win at the Miss USA pageant, a former Miss World pageant contest, Leilani McConney has levied some shocking allegations against Priyanka Chopra and her big beauty pageant win in 2000.
Former Miss Barbados Leilani McConne, who took part in the Miss World 2000 beauty pageant, has claimed that the event was rigged in Priyanka Chopra’s favour. Chopra, then 18, went on to win the pageant held at the Millennium Dome in London, United Kingdom. McConne spoke about the pageant after controversy arose regarding Miss USA 2022. Miss Texas USA R’Bonney Gabriel won the title but Miss Montana USA Heather Lee O’Keefe and Miss Georgia USA Holly Haynes alleged that the competition was rigged in her favour. Gabriel has refuted the claims. McConne shared a video on YouTube, and claimed that she “literally went through the same thing at Miss World.”
In the video, the former beauty queen reveals she felt Priyanka Chopra Jonas was favourited over the others and was made the exception one too many times. The Barbados beauty further even claimed the Quantico star was ‘not nice’ and ‘unlikeable’ as a person.
“Me, I went through that,” she said. Priyanka’s co-contestant added that the Bollywood star, who has also been a part of many Hollywood projects, won because of favouritism, and that she was not likeable.
“So, I was Miss Barbados and I went to Miss World, and the year I went, Miss India won. Mind you, Miss India had won the previous year,” she said. Yukta Mookhey had won the Miss World pageant the previous year.
McConne also said on to say that Priyanka was using a skin tone cream and that her skin was splotchy. “I did not say it was a bleaching cream, it was a skin tone cream. It didn’t work, her skin was blotchy so she did not want to remove her sarong. So during the actual judgement, she is actually in a dress,” she went on. She alleged Priyanka Chopra’s large photos came out in newspapers while the other contestants were in group on a beach. She also said that Priyanka was allowed to wear a sarong for the swimsuit round while others were not.
In a video, Leilani alleged that Priyanka’s gowns were better made and she was even allowed food in her room.
Citing other examples, Leilani said, “Priyanka Chopra didn’t even go to rehearsals, and she didn’t go to morning meals. It was brought to her in her bed… Priyanka Chopra had absolute press calls by herself, that nobody else went to… Nobody else in the Asian region, nobody else was ever called for these press calls… During the contest, before she won, she had these pictures of her walking on the beach. Meanwhile, we’re all grouped together in this sand pit… The designer who designed her gown, also designed all of our gowns. Our gowns were basically mini bride gowns of her gown. And the gowns fit like crap, by the way. Her gown was immaculate.”
Leilani said that when Priyanka was eventually crowned the winner, the other contestants walked off the stage because of the unfairness. “It was so amazing that they had that solidarity… At Miss World, everyone knew that Priyanka Chopra was going to win, and that it was rigged…”
Priyanka moved to the film industry after her win. After a successful career, she moved to Hollywood, where she primarily works these days. She returned to India after three years this week, to launch her haircare line, Anomaly.
Priyanka was involved in a few controversies over the years and has always taken a stand. A few months ago, after a New York magazine published an article calling her a ‘global scam artist’, she had responded on social media. More recently, she responded when comedian Hasan Minhaj questioned her marriage to Nick Jonas and implied that it was a sham. She also apologised after attracting backlash for participating in a proposed reality show that would have ‘activists’ compete against other for their causes. On all three occasions, Priyanka responded. It remains to be seen if she will react to Leilani’s claims.