SHE beat a saucy photo scandal to win her place in the pageant but Australia's Erin McNaught could only look on as Puerto Rican Zuleyka Rivera was crowned Miss Universe yesterday.Despite her favouritism with bookies, McNaught failed to make the first cut, missing out on a place in the top 20.
The result stunned the Shrine Auditorium crowd in Los Angeles, but none more so than the 18-year-old winner, who dramatically fainted after her win and had to be carried off stage.
McNaught played down suggestions her topless past could have cost her the crown. "I was a little disappointed, but I can honestly say I don't think it was an issue when it came around to the judging," she told The Daily Telegraph.
However an emotional national director, Jim Davie, said he was still considering legal action against local factions he claimed had been "harmful" in digging up her pictorial past.
Mr Davie, who has run the Australian chapter of the pageant for the past 15 years, also claimed the Latin-heavy judging panel worked against a local win.
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