SAN ANTONIO — A 17-year-old Texas beauty queen allegedly told to "get off the tacos" after gaining weight has had her crown returned by a judge after a jury ruled that she was wrongly stripped of her title.
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Domonique Ramirez won her lawsuit against the Miss San Antonio pageant, said her attorney, Luis Vera Jr. "She won 100 percent," Vera said.
Judge Barbara Nellermoe restored Ramirez's crown, clearing the way for her to compete for Miss Texas and Miss America, said court clerk Grace Montalvo. After deliberating 11 1/2 hours over two days in the week-long trial, the Bexar County jury of five men and seven women found that pageant officials, not Ramirez, had breached the contract.
"It's a sad day for us," said pageant director Linda Woods. "We think the judge and jury made a huge mistake."
Woods said she would not personally promote or support Ramirez in her bid for Miss Texas.
The size-2 teenager was fired in January amid allegations of weight gain and bad behavior. Pageant officials testified that Ramirez showed up to a bikini photo shoot overweight, making the pictures "unusable."
Pageant officials said, however, that weight wasn't the issue. Instead, they said the 5-foot-8, 129-pound teen was unreliable, chronically showing up late for events such as grocery-store openings, and violated her contract in ways ranging from not writing thank-you notes to blowing off a physical-fitness program and vocal lessons.
In an interview on NBC's Today show, Ramirez said Miss San Antonio pageant board president Linda Woods told her lose 13 pounds and said, "get off the tacos, get off the chips, you've got to lose this weight to get ready for Miss Texas."
"If I lost 13 pounds, I'd be anorexic," said Ramirez. "No one should ever have to be treated this way."