She’s finally being crowned the new – and real – Miss California after one of the biggest beauty pageant snafus ever.
Now, speaking for the first time, a still shell-shocked Raquel Beezley revealed to “Extra” in an exclusive interview how she got the astonishing news while waitressing in her small home town.
“I’m like, throwing my hands in the air,” Raquel recalled. “I fell to my knees. I’m crying, the girls are hugging me – it felt like that was my crowning moment.”
For almost a week, the 21-year-old beauty believed she was second runner-up after an accounting error led the judges to crown the wrong winner, 24-year-old Christina Silva.
Even the audience appeared shocked, as captured by videojug.com, booing loudly when Christina took the crown on Nov. 25.
“I have never, ever experienced that in any pageant that I’ve ever been in,” Raquel said.
So did she have an inkling that something was wrong?
“I felt that was my night,” she said.
In another stunning twist, Raquel learned about the mistake in a phone call from none other than the wrongly-crowned winner herself.
Raquel recalled, “And she says, ‘I just wasn’t to tell you congratulations, you’re Miss California.’”
Now Raquel says she can imagine Christina’s emotional pain and disappointment.
“It’s equally hard for her as it is for me,” she admitted.
When asked if she missed the moment of being crowned with the flowers and the sash, Raquel admitted, “It’s something I’ll never get back…but [when] I received the phone call when they actually told me I was Miss California. That moment in itself was my crowning moment. Although I was at work, I was in my hometown. I was working with my hometown girls. They are a big support system to me so to reveal that news to them in my waitressing uniform, working hard, greeting guests…and if that’s the way it’s supposed to happen, so be it.”
Pageant director Keith Lewis told “Extra” that Christina is being allowed to keep her crown, sash and necklace, along with her $1,500 entry fee.
“You can’t take away the fact that she was given the crown incorrectly,” said Lewis, “but we certainly didn’t want to add any kind of injury.”
So what exactly went wrong?
“Miss Universe organization requires we give the crown to the one [contestant] who has the most votes,” explained Lewis. “In the [final] five, there are five different positions… and each of them have a point valuation…on the [final] tabulation they were reverse.”
Once the error was discovered, “We posed it to her [Christina] what the best course of action ould be. I think she made the right decision [to relinquish the crown],” said Lewis. “I think that was the appropriate decision. It shows her character and it shows the truth wins out.”
Christina is reportedly considering legal action against the pageant.
“I believe that everyone’s entitled to search out the truth in whatever form they’ll find it, but at the end of the day there isn’t manipulation,” Lewis said about a possible lawsuit. “There isn’t impropriety. It was a human error.”