After years struggling with eating disorders, Machado says she's not letting his words bring her down anymore.
Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado found herself in the headlines this week on Monday night when Hillary Clinton brought up Donald Trump's past body shaming of Machado.
Now, the Venezuelan-born Machado, who just became a U.S. citizen, is speaking out about her experience as Miss Universe and says that Trump's body shaming may have contributed to her struggles with anorexia and bulimia. Speaking to Natalie Morales on the Today Show, Machado said that in addition to calling her "Miss Piggy," Trump called her "Miss Housekeeping" (because she's Latina) and "Miss Eating Machine."
"All the time," she added. "That was really normal for him in that moment."
At the time, Machado says she was only 18 years old and struggled with low self-esteem. According to People magazine, three months after Machado was crowned Miss Universe, rumors about her weight started circulating. While Machado maintains that she only gained 18 pounds the year after she won, Trump told People in 1997 that she had gained 55 pounds and that she had "an obligation to stay in perfect shape."
Subsequently, Machado says her confidence plummeted and she struggled with eating disorders for years afterward. Now 39, the actress, model, and author says that she sees that chapter of her life as "one year, one episode in my life."
"I don't want to focus my life in this country talking all the time about this guy," she told Cosmopolitan. "Maybe for the rest of the world, that episode was something stupid...I know that, but after 20 years, I'm not the stupid beauty queen anymore."