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Miss USA Tara Conner talks sobriety, tattoos

The embattled beauty queen opened up about her childhood abuser, reaching 90 days of sobriety and how the pageant has come to accept her six tattoos.
/ Source: Access Hollywood

Just a week before her reign as Miss USA 2006 comes to an end, Tara Conner sat down with Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell for an exclusive interview, where the embattled beauty queen opened up about her childhood abuser, reaching 90 days of sobriety and how the pageant has come to accept her six tattoos.

In regard to hints of experiencing childhood abuse that Conner brought up in a TODAY show interview with Matt Lauer last month, Tara told Nancy, “I have confronted that [person] with my family … I am taking steps everyday to uncover some of the hidden things that used to eat at me … Now I am freed from all of these things, so everything is so much better.”

When asked if she went directly to talk with the abuser, Conner said, “Yeah, you directly talk to people and the thing is, you have to forgive them. You have to forgive people for what they have done in order for yourself to be forgiven.”

“I feel one million times better,” she added.

Conner, who entered a Pennsylvania rehab facility on December 21, 2006, said she has just passed her 90 days of sobriety (94 days as of March 15, 2007) and said that she is sensing things that she never felt before.

“Yeah, I was completely numb. When I got my 90 day chip or coin I cried … I will cry when I am happy or I will get so excited…” Conner added that her next sobriety milestone she is aiming for is her “one year” and said that “is going to be great, God willing, I will make it there.”

Conner described the memorable day saying, “I celebrated my ‘90 day’ with my friend. He celebrated his ‘two year’ and it was the best feeling in the world just to be able to share it with family around you and people watching you grow.”

She also revealed that she has six tattoos and even got one of them during her reign.

“I went and got this one on my wrist and [pageant officials] were like, ‘You have to ask before you do stuff like that … You can’t do that to your image because it’s an image thing,’” Tara told Nancy.

She revealed she “covered them up” when she competed last year, but added that she will not do so when handing over her title next week since the pageant has come to accept her and her tattoos. “No, it’s me. They’re cute … That is the great thing, even now, they are so accepting of me and it is like this huge family now. Before, we didn’t have that close relationship and now they are always checking up on me. They celebrated my ‘90 Days’ with a big Starbucks breakfast.”

Conner reflected on her early days as Miss USA 2006 admitting that she was “very wishy-washy with [pageant officials]” and “you didn’t know if I was telling you the truth or if I was creating this story … I knew [the truth], but you are a compulsive liar sometimes you will believe what you say because it will make you feel better…”

Looking back on all the personal and public trials she dealt with the past year, Conner said that she thinks the pageant will benefit from her experiences. “I think it is going to bring out a whole different era of people … The new girl will bring a new flavor to the title just like I brought a very strange flavor to the title.”

The 56th Annual Miss USA 2007 Pageant will air from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Friday, March 23, 2007 from 9-11 ET/PT on NBC.