This post has been updated.
Four former contestants in the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant told Buzzfeed News that Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while they were changing clothes.
“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,'” Mariah Billado, former Miss Vermont Teen USA, told Buzzfeed News.
Billado said that Trump said something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before,” when he walked into the room.
As Buzzfeed News noted, girls as young as 15 competed in the pageant, and contestants told Buzzfeed that the dressing rooms were typically open spaces without barriers shielding them while they changed clothes.
Three other former contestants in the Miss Teen USA pageant confirmed to Buzzfeed News that Trump walked into the dressing room, but they asked to not be named. One former contestant said that Trump’s decision to enter the dressing room was “shocking” and “creepy,” according to Buzzfeed News.
Buzzfeed News reached out to 49 of the 51 contestants who competed in 1997, and 11 of them don’t recall Trump walking into the dressing room. And none of the 15 women who spoke with Buzzfeed News said that Trump said anything sexually explicit or made physical contact with any of the contestants.
A former contestant in Miss USA also told CBS LA that the teenagers competing in the pageant were forced to meet Trump while they were in the middle of changing clothes.
“Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked changing into our bikinis,” Tasha Dixon, who competed in Miss USA in 2001, when she was 18 years old, told CBS LA. “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”
Dixon said it was uncomfortable for “the owner come waltzing in when we were naked or half naked in a very physically vulnerable position and then to have the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention.”
She believes “Donald Trump owned the pageant for the reasons to utilize his power to get around beautiful women.”
Trump had previously bragged about being able to walk into pageant dressing rooms when he owned the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA contests, but it had not been clear whether he had walked into a room with teenage girls who were changing.
“I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed,” Trump told Howard Stern in 2005, according to recordings released Saturday by CNN. “No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. … And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
Read the full Buzzfeed News report here.
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