Christy Fichtner-Alhadef, Miss USA 1986, says she was exploited during her yearlong reign, making her the second former beauty queen to criticize the pageant operation.
"No one is pushed that hard, not Miss Universe, not the chaperones, just Miss USA," she told the Wichita Eagle in a recent interview.
Miss USA 1989, Gretchen Polhemus, also complained about her treatment when she wore the crown. Pageant management was changed in 1988, but many of the complaints were similar, centering on long hours and few days off.
The day after the new Miss USA, Carole Gist, was crowned March 2 in a televised show from Wichita, Polhemus, 24, aired her gripes.
"She was the first one to be honest and say something negative about the pageant," Fichtner-Alhadef, 27, said from her Dallas home last week. "You get trained and conditioned to say the right thing. I don't care any more."