Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006 and Irish America cover story (Oct./Nov.) has been called to task about conduct unbecoming a beauty queen. It seems that the transition from the small town of Russell Springs, Kentucky to New York City has been a lot to handle for the petite blonde. On December 14, entertainment website TMZ.com broke a story saying she was going to be dethroned “due to inappropriate behavior.” The same day the Miss Universe organization released a statement saying that Conner “had not been dethroned,” but that Donald Trump and other executives would be “evaluating her behavioral and personal issues to see what we can do to work with her, and what we will do about her reign going forward.”
Further revelations in newspapers over the next few days alleged that Conner had been drinking while underage (she turned 21 on December 18) at New York City nightspots. The New York Daily News led its Saturday paper with the headline “Miss USA Run Out of Town,” saying Conner had already left the Trump apartment she shared with Miss Teen USA Katie Blair and Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera and returned to Kentucky.
However, on December 19, Donald Trump showed a little Christmas spirit by confirming that Conner would be given a second chance and would head to rehab to address her problems. “I’ve always been a believer in second chances,” Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBC, said with Conner at his side. Turning to Trump, a tearful Conner said, “You’ll never know what this means to me, and I swear I will not let you down.” “I told them [the Miss Universe organization] I wanted to be one of the best Miss USA’s they have ever had. I am passionate about this and I want to leave my mark,” Conner said in an interview with Irish America just a few months ago. Hopefully she can use the remainder of her reign to leave the mark she originally aspired to. One thing for sure, is that all the hoopla has guaranteed that the 5 foot 5 blonde, who has been competing in beauty pageants since age four, is now a household name. Irish America is predicting a bright future for Conner, whose reign as Miss USA ends in April. ♦