Those who are in the pageant circuit together, get press together stick together.
Shanna Moakler, herself a former Miss USA and current director of the Miss California pageant, is defending—to a point—her sister-in-tiaras. In a new post on her MySpace blog, Moakler weighs in on Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean's opposition to gay marriage.
"First, I want to be clear on the fact, that I have NOT and will not abandon our reigning Miss California, thou I have a STRONG difference of opinion, I do NOT hate her, nor do I have any issue with her stating her opinion, she is not the first conservative christian titleholder to be in pageants," the spellcheck-challenged Moakler said of her protégé.
However, while Travis Barker's off-again love applauds Prejean's decision to exercise her right to free speech, Moakler argues that it was not what Prejean said but how she said it—"more personal than it needed to be"—that really cost her the sash.
According to Moakler, Miss USA is expected to be an "ambassador, a role model, and needs to be able to show diplomacy on all issues. Sadly for California, THIS is where we lost the crown.
"She lost the crown because she wasn't able to convey compassion for ALL the people that as MISS USA she would be representing. And if you like it or not, gays and lesbians make up this country as well. THIS is why we have judges so they can find the RIGHT woman who obtains these qualities…The panel of judges was qualified and did their job, they represented all of us, men, woman, black, white, gay and straight."
Still, Moakler said that there is one silver lining to the pageant debacle—though Prejean might not see it that way—and that is its ability to open up a public forum on equal rights.
"I have blogged and petitioned for gay rights in the past…We need MANY conversations on this topic to take place, especially in the state of California and with Prop 8."
(Originally published April 22, 2009, at 8:15 a.m. PT)