SAN ANTONIO — A Texas beauty queen gained enough weight that airbrushing couldn't fix photos of her in a bikini, but that's not why the size-2 teen had her Miss San Antonio crown revoked, the pageant president told a jury Thursday.
She said the girl was let go because she didn't follow pageant rules.
Domonique Ramirez caused a stir worldwide when she said pageant organizers harassed her about her weight and allegedly told her to "get off the tacos" before stripping her sash in January. The 17-year-old has sued to reclaim her title and compete for Miss Texas.
The first day of testimony revealed details of a drama practically made for Texas, with questions about the appropriateness of a minor modeling a wedding dress and the pageant director serving federal prison time for tax fraud.
That's to say nothing of what's generated the most attention: whether a 5-foot-8, 129-pound college student on track to compete for Miss America was booted for packing on a few pounds.
That wasn't the case, Miss San Antonio organizers said.
"Domonique is not fat by any stretch of the imagination. She's a beautiful girl," said Linda Woods, president of the Miss Bexar County organization, which runs the Miss San Antonio pageant.
But Woods told jurors Ramirez's measurements had changed.
She was named 2011 Miss San Antonio, in part, on the strength of her bikini competition, Woods said. But when Ramirez was photographed in a bikini months later in preparation for the Miss Texas pageant, the pictures were "unusable," she said, and fixing them was beyond the limits of photo-editing software.
Former pageant executive director Glynda Coyle said she only suggested once that Ramirez lose weight.
"The only thing I suggested to her, is that she might want to try to lose an inch in her hip," she said, "but because she is who she is, I said we can pad the top part to make you more symmetrical."
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Woods said insubordination — not weight gain — ultimately cost Ramirez her crown. She said the teen violated her contract by being chronically late for events or not showing up altogether, not writing thank-you notes for gifts, and embarrassing the pageant board by turning down vocal coaching from an opera singer who Woods said has performed with Luciano Pavarotti.
Ramirez also modeled in a wedding dress without permission, and Woods said the pageant felt that wasn't the right image for a 17-year-old to project.
Ramirez has denied violating her contract or putting on weight. She once mocked the allegations by eating a doughnut in front of a horde of television cameras at the courthouse.
The teen is expected to testify, as she did last month during a hearing on her request for a temporary restraining order blocking the pageant from taking her crown. A judge ruled against her.
Ashley Dixon, who was runner-up to Ramirez, has since been named Miss San Antonio. She was asked to leave the courtroom immediately after entering Thursday because she is a potential witness.
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