Former Miss Barbados Leilani McConney believes that the Miss World 2000 pageant was “rigged” in favor of winner and then-Miss India Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
In her age-restricted YouTube video posted on Oct. 27, McConney, who is now a YouTuber, claims that the Miss World 2000 pageant was “rigged” because its sponsor was Zee TV, an Indian cable station. She also points out that the previous year’s Miss India had won the previous year’s competition while it was sponsored by the same company.
“I literally went through the same thing at Miss World,” McConney says in her video. “I was Miss Barbados, and the year I went, Miss India won. Mind you, Miss India had won the previous year,” she continues, referring to Miss World 1999 winner Yukta Mookhey.
Last month, Miss Montana Heather Lee O’Keefe alleged there was favoritism toward reigning Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, who notably was the first Filipino American to be crowned Miss Texas USA. The controversy led to an investigation and the subsequent suspension of former Miss Texas USA Crystle Stewart’s The Miss Brand Corp, which produced the beauty pageant.
In her video, McConney points out unfair moments during the Miss World 2000 pageant. She notes that Chopra Jonas, who is now married to American singer Nick Jonas, was allowed to wear a sarong while other contestants wore their swimsuits during the competition’s swimsuit round.
“Apparently she was using some skin tone cream, to even out her skin tone and it was splotchy,” McConney says in the video. “It didn’t work, her skin was blotchy so she did not want to remove her sarong. So during the actual judgment, she is actually in a dress… none of us were able to do that.”
McConney also highlights a picture that surfaced at the time which shows Chopra Jonas taking the majority of the spotlight in her sarong while a group of contestants wearing their swimsuits stands in the background.
Earlier in the video, McConney compares Chopra Jonas to Gabriel, stating that the latter is a “beautiful girl, she’s tall, she’s lovely, she is nice, she’s kind, she has all the makings of a Miss USA.”
When it comes to Chopra Jonas, however, McConney claims that she was “not nice” and “kind of pushed it in our faces how much control she had over the pageant.”
“My only problem with Priyanka was that getting to know her in the pageant… she’s just unlikeable, and she’s Meghan Markle’s best friend, so go figure,” she continues.
“Our gowns in the dance number in the beginning were basically like mini bride gowns of her gown,” she adds. “The gowns fit like crap, by the way. Her gown was immaculate, ours fit like it came from Shein.”
Featured Image via Leilani Of Barbados, Vogue