One day after the new Miss USA was crowned, many are still talking about the question posed to the pageant’s first runner-up.
Miss Hawaii USA Chelsea Hardin was asked: “If the election were tomorrow, would you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for president?”
The question immediately drew a chorus of boos from the audience.
“I was in the zone. I was listening to every word said in the question. Once the booing kind of happened, I looked up and I was just like, ‘Wow, this question is heavy,'” she told KHON2. “I thought right away, I can either take it super seriously, or kind of laugh at it.”
Ultimately, she came up with the answer: “All I have to say is, it doesn’t matter what gender. All we need in the United States is someone who represents those of us who don’t feel like we have a voice. Those of us who want our voices heard. We need a president to push for what is right and push for what America really needs.”
“I just said it like how I would talk to anyone else,” she reflected. “The audience reaction definitely intensified the pressure, but I’m lucky enough to where I’ve been put in situations like that, so it was nothing new.”
Hardin says while training and doing mock interviews leading up to the pageant, she actually prepared for a similar question “where it was important to walk the line in the middle and stay neutral, so that way I didn’t lose any judges or offend anyone.”
With 24 hours hindsight, Hardin told us she would answer the question exactly the same way, with one caveat.
“I think I would have just added in that that’s what makes America great, is that we have the right to vote, and that this vote remains a private one,” she said. “I would have added as well as I encourage the rest of my generation to get out and vote and get our voices heard.”
Hardin says she couldn’t be happier, and believes everything happens for a reason.
“It’s been really amazing. It’s kind of a whirlwind of a storm, but I’m lucky that everything, on my end at least, is positive,” she said. “It’s been almost 24 hours and I’ve already had people calling me, emailing me, passing me business cards, opportunities and potential doors opening up, so I’m totally happy with it and I’m okay. Just the whole experience in general was amazing. I had so much fun.”
She says she’s now looking to explore opportunities in modeling and public speaking.