A Miss USA Speaks: The Secret Battle of a Beauty Queen

In She Speaks by Alyssa Campanella47 Comments

www.sheismore.com

www.sheismore.com

The very first Miss Universe pageant I ever watched was Miss Universe 2006, and it seemed so prestigious. Women from all over the world were coming together to compete for one crown. Wow! To make it to Miss Universe is a pretty huge accomplishment, I thought. Any girl who follows pageants imagines herself competing for Miss Universe, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it was going to happen to me… and never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be an experience I wanted to forget.

On June 19, 2011, I won the title of Miss USA 2011. This meant I had earned the right to compete at Miss Universe! What an honor! But I had no idea what was about to happen. Being thrust into the spotlight and having a hardcore schedule was not an easy adjustment for me. I began to feel a lot of pressure. Miss USA had not won the Miss Universe crown since 1997, and a lot of people were dubbing me the Miss USA who could finally bring that crown home again. Even though I was so incredibly flattered that I had so much support behind me, the anxiety began to eat me up inside. Was I determined to do well at Miss Universe? Absolutely. USA always does well at Miss Universe. I was not about to let anybody down. But that mentality began to cause trouble. The unexpected stress I began to feel for my new position became overwhelming. My appetite decreased, and sometimes my schedule was so busy that I would miss a breakfast or lunch. I had no idea that it was affecting my body so rapidly and the pounds were just coming off by the minute – NONE of it on purpose, contrary to what people believed. The first time I realized I was in trouble was when one of our talent managers came over to the apartment. She could wrap her fingers around my arm. So I stopped doing cardio and I tried to eat as much as I could before I had to leave for Brazil to try to gain some of the weight back. I was confident it would work.

I was to spend three and a half weeks in Brazil competing for Miss Universe. A few days after registration, the arrival pictures were posted on the Miss Universe website. Everything went downhill from there. My swimsuit picture was being posted all over the Internet, and that’s when it all began. I was now being called “Miss Anorexic USA.” Part of your job as Miss USA is to communicate via social media – Twitter, Facebook, etc. Every day I would log on to my Miss USA twitter account and that’s where I would see all the messages tweeted at me: “Miss USA aka Miss Anorexic USA.” “Look at Miss USA’s legs in her picture! Her thighs can’t even come together because she’s a sickly stick.” “ How could Miss USA even let herself show up like this?” Every day, as we did more and more appearances and more and more photos were posted, the comments kept coming. For any swimsuit photo, I tried to push my belly out to hide any bones from being seen. Most girls suck in their bellies for a swimsuit picture, and here I was trying to make myself at least look bloated to hide my protruding hipbones to diminish some bashing. I even tried posting on Twitter to let everyone know I did not have an eating disorder but that I was just really thin. It went ignored. I was now becoming desperate to appease everyone criticizing me.

Alyssa's Official Swimsuit Photo

Alyssa’s Official Swimsuit Photo

 

At every meal, I went for the fatty foods and carbs. The other girls were eating fruit salads and I was downing chocolate waffles. At lunch I was the only girl digging into the rice, hoping it would make me constipated and keep my weight on. Every night at dinner I asked for an ice cream sundae. But no matter how much I consumed, my body was rejecting the calories and fat. It was physically impossible to gain weight. Then I fell ill with the flu and had to be hospitalized. This was NOT how I pictured the Miss Universe experience would go for me. To top it all off, I was told that because I was so thin, my organs were starting to take nutrients from my heart and could cause me to go into cardiac arrest. Depression and fear sank in. I began to consider myself “the failed Miss USA.” It became difficult to smile. It became difficult to even want to get up each morning. I began counting down the days until I could go home.

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In my interview with the preliminary judges, one judge asked me how did I expect to be a role model with my body type? I had answered that I hoped I was a role model for how I apply myself as a person. I want other girls to do the same and acknowledge there is only one of them in this world and that they are beautiful – whether they are obese or thin. Body types can change, but what defines you should not. I’d rather be remembered for who I was than what I looked like.

After the preliminary competition, it just got worse. I specifically chose my evening gown because it hid EVERYTHING – my bony shoulders, my tiny waistline, my ribs, and my stick legs. I thought it would reduce the negative talk about my body. But then for the swimsuit competition, I knew I was damned. The messages kept coming: “I’m embarrassed that you’re my country’s representative.” “You are a complete disappointment. We had such high hopes for you.” “You are NOT a role model for my daughter. How can I let her look up to a Miss USA who thinks this body is healthy?” “What happened to you? You were so beautiful before.” Pictures were now being messaged to me of my face attached on a skeleton’s body. At this point, I did not even want to compete in the telecast. What was the point? I was losing myself. I was not Alyssa anymore.

A photo tweeted to Alyssa

A photo tweeted to Alyssa

I did not feel beautiful the night of the Miss Universe telecast, and because I was so thin my hair was a dry, stiff, brittle mess. But to my surprise, I was called into the top 16. I had truly thought I would not make the cut. Of course, the first part of the competition was swimsuit. I kept saying to myself, “Just have the same attitude that you did at Miss USA. Then whip that sarong off and don’t let them see you are afraid,“ I said to myself. So I confidently ripped my sarong off during my swimsuit routine and even the commentators were impressed with my onstage attitude. But I did not make it to the top 10. I cannot say I was surprised at that, though. Was I disappointed? Of course, but I was disappointed in myself not the judges. Even after the pageant, I was STILL facing the wrath of cyber bullies. “You had no business in that top 16.” “You were only put in because you’re USA. You did NOT earn that spot.” Even though I found myself believing them, it still hurt.

 

Alyssa in Evening Gown for Prelim Competition

Alyssa in Evening Gown for Prelim Competition

 

Alyssa in Swimsuit for the Miss Universe Telecast

Alyssa in Swimsuit for the Miss Universe Telecast

Now, two years later, I am still feeling the effects of what happened to me as Miss USA. Every year when the Miss Universe pageant airs, I die a little inside because I am reminded of what I went through and that I would love nothing more than to redo my entire experience. It’s not healthy. It’s true that every titleholder has her own issues with critics and the occasional bashing throughout her year and I expected that, but I did not expect what I ended up receiving. It had become so severe that I ended up being put in therapy for my depression with weekly visits to a psychiatrist for the remainder of my reign and even after. I also had developed a severe anxiety disorder and severe social anxiety, which I have only recently begun to overcome. I became paranoid of what people thought of me and I couldn’t stay in public for very long before a severe panic attack would ensue. I also refused to wear anything that did not cover my shoulders so I could hide any bones, and to this day seeing me wear anything strapless or with thin straps is very rare. I was terrified that I would only be remembered as the “stick Miss USA” that disappointed everyone. We have only just discovered why I could not gain weight no matter what I ate after a series of medical tests and exams. It turns out there was an underlying problem internally that would never have been discovered had I not had these tests done, and now gaining weight is much easier. I was never anorexic, but the stress I endured only aggravated my condition.

My mom used to tell me the story of a boy whose mother made him hammer a nail into their fence every time he would bully someone, and when he apologized to each person for his actions he could remove a nail. Ultimately, the nails were gone but the holes remained, symbolizing that you can never take words back. I know I was thin but the bullying I suffered did hurt, and bullying can have lasting negative effects. I am a human being, not a robot. The pain I felt was deep and it lingered. However, at the end of the day I have come a long way from all those cruel words. I continued to strive to be a positive role model for young girls across the globe. I was Miss USA, a title that is not easy to achieve. I could have quit the crown entirely and returned home, but then all those bullies would have won. What kind of role model could I have been then? I’d be showing it’s okay to run away, which it isn’t. It has taken me over two years to publicly talk about my story out of considerable apprehension, but I no longer wanted to feel the poison eating away at me inside. I will never be able to get past what happened until I can let it go, and now I feel like I can spread my wings and move forward. I am happy to say that the blissful, positive, and healthy Alyssa Campanella has returned. I have won.

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Double Take!

Alyssa, happy and free in her decision to release her story!

 

Alyssa Wins

Alyssa Wins

 

 

 

If Alyssa’s story blessed you, please share it with others!

 

 

Comments

  1. Samantha Levy

    Alyssa, thank you so much for sharing this story! I’ve always looked up to you and I still do. You are down to earth, humble, and very passionate about all that you do – and that’s why I admire you! You’re such a strong young woman and I know many people will relate to and appreciate this story!!

    xx
    Sam

  2. PageantFanMA

    Alyssa, thank you for sharing your story. People are cruel but please know that there are those of us out there who thought you were and still are one of the most stunning miss usa of our generation. What you went through was cruel and heartless and something no one should have to endure. Just because you’re hiding behind a computer screen doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t hurt. I competed in various pageants as a child and a teen and I can’t even imagine seeing that. I honestly believe that those who were bullying you have never stepped foot on a stage and are just petty jealous fools.
    You are truley an amazing women and you will always be one of my most favorite miss usa’s

  3. Mrs. Szesko

    I’m so sorry that you went through that traumatic event, Alyssa. You were always a great and caring friend toward Julie and Bruny throughout high school and we had no idea of your troubles. We think about you often and pray for your health, happiness and success. Be strong. Love always.

  4. Charlotte

    I cried a little reading this. Alyssa is SUCH a big motivation for me and someone who represents beauty with a purpose – she’s poised, elegant and only wants the best for herself. I find it genuinely sickening that people would treat her like that and talk about her in such a manner – sometimes people don’t realise that people are skinny because that’s the way they’re built – you can’t SIMPLY change your body type. If you’re reading this, Alyssa; you’re such an incredible, hard-working, beautiful, AMAZING woman who deserves the world and nothing but love. I’m so sorry that your time at Universe was marred by such hatred and that you can only forget what happened to you at it, you’re too beautiful and amazing to let all of the negativity get to you and affect you in any way.
    All my love,
    Charlotte xoxo

  5. Lana

    Alyssa, thank you for sharing your story. As a teen, I received the same types of negative comments and accusations of Anorexia, despite eating more than most of my peers and having many tall, thin relatives. I can’t imagine dealing with those comments in such a public setting! I’m glad to hear that you are working through all this and I think your story will be helpful for young women facing similar criticism (and hopefully will reach a few bullies who may not realize how cruel they are!)

  6. Brittany Toll

    What a powerful story. Thank you for having the courage to share Alyssa, I have so much to learn form your strength & courage.

  7. Jenn

    Very inspiring post! You are a stronger person for getting through all of the hard times. For the record, you were an AMAZING Miss USA. Thank you for the message, it is encouraging to keep pushing through when others beat you down.

  8. Shannon Gast

    You are beautiful, Alyssa! It takes great courage to share your story. God only gives us what we can handle and you overcame this hardship with beauty and grace 🙂

  9. Lyndee

    Brave, Beautiful, and Inspiring! What a heart breaking story, but such a beautiful recovery! Shame on all the bullies! You never know what a person is going through! You should be so proud of sharing this, your story will help so many other young women! Team Alyssa!!! <3

  10. Shakeira

    You are so brave and courageous and from the moment you won USA you’ve always been a huge idol to look up to no matter what to me. Going on that stage and in a bikini at that isn’t easy and it’s easier said then done when people are sitting in front of a TV screen or computer monitor judging you! Who are they to do so?! Reading this has made me even more excited to compete in Miss Arizona USA this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I admire you

  11. Kirin

    Thank you for sharing your story Alyssa!

    For all the verbal and outspoken bullies you knew about, you didn’t hear from the NON-verbal ones of us who did (and still) consider you a role model! So let me now loudly proclaim how inspirational you are.

    Before I competed for my dream title, Mrs. Arizona America, I posted photos of you on my inspiration board….photos of you BEFORE I even knew you were competing for Miss California! Once you won California and USA, that was just icing on the cake. You were my role model long before then. Sure, you’re totally cute….but your spirit, and sparkling personality are what make you shine!

    So glad you are now armed with knowing what health issues caused your unexplained weight loss. To me, you’ve always been (and will always BE) one of the most beautiful women in the world! Wishing you much success in the years to come. Something tells me being Miss USA was only the beginning for you! Can’t wait to see how you will shape and inspire others in this next chapter of your life. Thank you for inspiring me.

    Warmly,

    Kirin Christianson

  12. Lea

    You have no idea how much I relate to your story.

    People always speak about how harmful it is to call someone “fat” or “overweight” and how it can affect them psychologically and emotionally–which is completely true–however, people tend to forget how making comments about a person being “too thin” or “anorexic looking” can also have devastating, damaging effects on a person. I am also naturally thin (perfectly healthy) and it is so hurtful to always have the same comments thrown around: “you’re too thin”, “gain some weight”, “you have no meat on you–just skin and bones”. It forces me to eat more and feel like I HAVE to gain weight instead of just feeling content with being naturally skinny.

    So thankful for your story!

    xo.

  13. Rachel G

    I am beyond proud to be called Alyssa’s number one fan as well as call her a #1 role model. Things like this take time to come out to everyone and share a story like this, but the thing we need to realize is that majority of us aren’t famous and don’t have to deal with thousands of people yelling at us to be a certain way or deal with criticism just because said person isnt happy with how we look. Even though I did realize Alyssa was loosing weight, her confidence that I saw exceeded the negative comments she received. I do get upset when people tell me that they think they are more of Alyssa’s number one fan than I am, which is okay (sort of….), but I know that I am proud to be her number one fan because we share such similar traits and I know that if she can get through things, so can i.

  14. Amber

    I know what bullying is like, and I’m so very sorry this happened. No one deserves this. I understand stress and how it can affect the body. Nothing like this, I’m glad to say, but I am VERY proud of you for overcoming this. I’m happy to hear that despite the issues and the bullying you had to endure, you survived and came out on top.

    Well done Alyssa! You truly ARE a role model!

  15. Tabbi McCallister

    Alyssa, I have been a fan of yours since your performance at Miss Teen USA. I was so incredibly thrilled the night you won Miss USA. It broke my heart to see what you went through at Miss Universe and I am so very sorry you were so emotionally damaged by what should have been the most incredible experience of your life. You will always be my Miss Universe. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find peace and closure over this incident. Much love from a big fan!

  16. Amy Dousay

    Alyssa as a pageant competitor myself I know how hard the stress can be. At the national and international level I can only image how hard it becomes. I remember watching you win Miss USA and thinking “Wow that girl is so beautiful and boy do i LOVE that green gown!!” I honestly don’t remember your body at all. At Miss USA or Miss Universe. Because I was so distracted by your fabulous attitude and absolutely gorgeous face. You did USA proud!! I don’t know if you’ll ever read this but just in case you do, know that you were fabulous, you are gorgeous, you are a wonderful person, and there are SOOOOO many girls that look up to you. Myself included. Bullying is an awful thing and your story will help girls everywhere face their bullies. So thank you for becoming an even better role model! If Miss USA has bullies and can overcome them then that tells girls everywhere that they can too. Thank you. 🙂

  17. Kem Anderson

    Alyssa, Thank you for sharing your story. The pressures of life and people are real. No one knows what a person goes through until they have walked a day in their shoes. It is too easy for people to hide behind the use of social media to spew forth insensitive remarks and bully others. You are not a failure! Don’t ever give others the power to diminish who you are. I wish you abundant health and peace.

  18. Delina

    Hi Alyssa,

    Ive been following pageants all my life and I remember your struggle as if it was yesterday. I remember following the pageant for the 3 weeks and looking at your body and wondering what was happening as it did look as if you were struggling to keep healthy. Keep strong. You have tons of girls that admire your determination. Youre my favorite miss USA ever. Thanks for sharing.

  19. donn

    Thank you Alyssa for sharing your story. You are and always will be my favorite Miss CA and Miss USA. i am glad you got the help you needed and thrilled for all of your successes since passing on the crown. Now you can put this behind you and have the AMAZING life you deserve!

  20. Molly

    Wow, what a powerful story. You look so much happier in the last photos – the face of true beauty! I have anxiety too, and so to hear this story is really inspirational. 🙂

  21. Adam

    Alyssa,
    I went to Brazil to support you. I even had a picture with you and your BF. You are an amazing girl. I never thought you were having a hard time during that period because you were always so gracious with all your fans.

  22. Pingback: Spotlight Story: The Secret Battle of a Beauty Queen | Torrance Coombs Network

  23. Chelsea

    Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for sharing this story.. I am so sorry for what you went through. I too went through the same thing but in high school. Everyone was saying how I was anorexic and had such issues when I literally could not gain weight because my metabolism was so high because of the amount of training I had to do for our crew team. It is such a painful experience. Even my own mother was forcing me to eat in front of boyfriends and my parents would joke before dates to make sure that I had a steak and ate. It was humiliating and I would stuff my face full of food just to prove to people that I ate. I went to countless doctor appointments with my parents having them discuss with me eating issues and taking blood tests to prove how it was affecting me to hten have the tests come back perfect. The doctors finally asked to stop crew and see if I could gain. I did… but very slowly and not to the extent that people approved of. Like you I was embarrassed to wear swim suits and certain outifts. I hated my body and dreamed of having curves.

    I ended up going to college and becoming extremely depressed. I would go grocery shopping and have young girls snickering at me with their friends asking if I even ate. After a year of struggle with not only my body image but anxiety and who I was as a person ( I have a type A perfectionist personality) I finally got help for my depression. I am happy to say that I have finally made peace with myself and my body image. It’s sometimes still a struggle and it is sad how society creates this pencil thin line that girls have to be in. And if you are not that small percentage then you are either fat and disgusting or thin and disgusting. I also received a lot of help for my anxiety which was causing issues as well since I would not be hungry because of painful stomach pains from stress. Hopefully things will change and stories like yours will help people learn to see other for who they are and not how they look like.

  24. Laura

    Dear Alyssa,

    First of all, I want to say that I think it’s very brave of you that you shared your story like this and I hope you can let it go now, at least for a bit.

    Although I don’t have personal experience with bullying, I do have personal experience with being depressed. I’ve been depressed for over 5 years, between the ages of 16 and 21 and later for more short periods. The reason of my depression was that I have Tourette Syndrome, but most of all, because of that I felt less than everybody else and I always had the obsessive need to please everybody, to the point where I completly forgot my own needs.
    For the past few years, I’ve been learning to stand up for myself and loving myself for who I am. I had to learn that I am good enough, the way that I am.

    One of my ‘down’ periods was during your reign, post Miss Universe. And in that time, you have helped me a lot. You learned me that I was always beautiful, no matter what. You told ‘me’ on twitter that it’s OK to go out without make-up, because natural is ALWAYS beautiful.
    Besides that, you were always honest, instead of the ‘pageant-perfect’ answer, you told the world what you believed in. One time you said in a tweet were you mentioned me, that you thought the idea of a lesbian Miss was great. Maybe you got shot down for it, I don’t know, but I loved the fact that you were honest and believed that your words were good enough to share with the world.
    On multiple occasions you’ve shared and liked the photos of the cakes and cupcakes I make and you even retweeted a tweet of mine about a little-known fact about Tourette (being creative!).

    I have many more examples, but these all tell me one thing: YOU CARE!
    And I think that’s the most important thing of all. It makes you amazing and beautiful, even if you don’t believe that yourself. I really think that because of this, you would’ve been an amazing Miss Universe. And I think you are one of the best Miss USA’s in history. Because you care and because you are honest. This is the essence of what a Miss should be.

    Since your reign, you’ve been one of my rolemodels, for all the reasons I just mentioned. I hope you give yourself enough credit to see how many people around the world you’ve helped by just being you 🙂

    Since the end of my depression, I’ve tried to do my part as well, speaking about Tourette and how to live with it and embrace it. My speeches are on http://www.tourettelaura.nl, it will be a website some day, but there’s a time for everything 🙂

    Love,
    Laura (25, from The Netherlands)

  25. Melissa Marie Younkins

    Amen Alyssa! You were already such an inspiration to so many before the release of your story. So, being courageous enough to come forth now, with the hurt and pain you felt and endured, I’m sure was less than an easy feat. Your strength and fortitude is to be admired by anyone, and your inner light shines far beyond your outward beauty my dear!
    Thank you for sharing your story and paying to forward. God Bless! xo

  26. Kelli

    God bless you Alyssa! I pray that the scars continue to heal and that the people who are now seeing how wrong they were can find forgiveness. You ARE and inspiration and I’m grateful for your story. It really makes us think about our rash judgments. We are not always right, no matter how it may seem.

  27. Allison

    I remember first seeing Alyssa at the Miss USA pageant and I instantly loved everything about her – her red hair like mine, her state of California, the dress, and most of all her CONFIDENCE. I still remember to this day the moment that she talks about in this article – when she ripped off the sarong at Miss Universe. Her entire performance on that stage made me so proud to be American and have her represent us! I had no idea any of this was going on, and this just makes me love Alyssa even more. What a role model! <3

  28. Diane

    There was a guy I worked with once who was a real jerk. He was kind of cute, and I was young and flirty, and I couldn’t understand how he could be so negative and rude. One day I finally commented about it out loud to my co-workers, and one said, “Didn’t you know? He shot himself in the head last year.” There was no indication, no outward sign.

    I try to remind myself of this with people – their problems or past are not tattooed on their foreheads, and we don’t know always what issues they’re dealing with. Obviously, your own problem was unknown even to yourself until you were tested. Unfortunately, we all tend to jump to conclusions and judge.

    Hugs to you, dearie, and hugs to your handsome man. Love.

  29. Maria

    I knew you were going to win. Me and my sister both. Especially when you were in the top ten. We both looked at each other and said: “She is going to win-I can feel it” It was meant to be. You stood out-a chance to shine, and you shined. I was told my someone recently that a person that shines the most is the easiest target. It really is a complement

  30. Pablo Modernell

    Beautiful Alyssa, No idea did I have you went through this all. Let me tell you I´ve been watching Miss Universe for 36 years (since I was a little kid). I did realize you were too thin, but still, you were my favorite in that edition. I shared one of the prelim interviews with my dad, and he also loved you. You were smart and radiant, believe me.

    However, what you now share with us makes me think of what we do not see. And I couldn´t agree with you more when you say that “words can hurt”. And I tell you, I am a man who loves beauty and I am so ashamed of the comments that many “men” or so called “men” make about the girls in beauty pageants. I guess they deep inside hate women becasue they can not be one, instead of admiring them for how beautiful they are.

    No wonder your testimony will help and bless past and future beauty queens. All my respect to you. You are a whole beautiful woman. May God bless you every single day of your life. From Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, the “southest” city in the world, or almost so, haha. Be blessed.

  31. Sheila

    Oh honey, I had no idea you were going through all of this!!! For the record, I thought you were beautiful… spectacular at Miss Universe! I hate that some people were making you feel horrible. Let them try and do what you did! Let them try and balance the title, the responsibilities of the crown while trying to get ready for Universe!!!! I am so glad you released your story… now you will be able to experience the love and support of friends and fans who think you are and always were, AWESOME!

  32. Maggie Fey

    I love you Alyssa! When I was doing my predictions for Miss USA 2011, you were my winner from the second I saw you were competing. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that.

  33. Bryant Dale

    Hi Alyssa,

    I know you may not be able to read this message because of the tons of reply from your fans. I am from the Philippines and I really love following Miss Universe for the past 15 years. I did not miss any telecast of it. Believe it or not I also always watch Miss USA pageant year after year. There are only 2 miss USAs I really like and love. That is you and Olivia. 🙂 When you won Miss USA I told myself USA finally chose a contender to the miss universe that will win it all. Even though you really looked thinner when you competed in the miss universe I still can’t deny that you are the most beautiful. Your bashers did not affect me at all. I even tried to defend you but I can’t believe them, some of their attacks are really uncalled for and below the belt. Because I really love you I ignored them, I did not open the website again until after the pageant night because even if I am not the one being bashed I get hurt. So I imagined how it is to be on your shoes. I was very happy that you got into the top 16, I was hoping you can also make it to the top 10. Sadly you didn’t I felt sad but I am not hypocrite to say that I am also happy because Miss Philippines went all the way to top 5. I know how it feels like to be bullied whether in the internet or in person. I don’t judge people because I know how it is to be judged wrongly. Anyway, I am very happy that you are back in shape and you know I still check your whereabouts from time to time. By the way, if you get a chance to see Olivia tell her also that I really really like her as well. You 2 are the most beautiful Miss USA I have seen. 🙂

  34. Christina Ricks

    Alyssa, ever since I participated in my first pageant last year when I was 17, you have always stood out to me the most. You’re not just a beautiful face; you have a wonderful soul. You are my role model, and not just in the pageantry world, but in life in general. You are just so real. This article justified this. You are a strong woman but still vulnerable. And I feel like I can relate to you more now. As I’m sure other people can too. I sincerely hope you will heal from all of this. I had no idea you were experiencing this emotional cluster while competing for Miss Universe. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you in my prayers. I am hoping to compete in a pageant next year and I will try win, not just for me, but partly for you.

    With Love,
    Christina Ricks

  35. Rashid

    Alyssa,I knew something wrong back then but I had no idea you had to go through all those mental and physical trauma.I am sorry and if it is any consolation,you are a very beautiful and charismatic person I have ever known.You are more than a role model,you are a leader and girls far and wide will look up to you for courage and perseverance to defeat all odds and come out in flying colors!Don’t you worry about a thing love!In the words of Miley Cyrus “FORGET ABOUT THE HATERS COZ SOMEBODY LOVED YOU!!!!We love you Alyssa

  36. Edward philip

    Be proud of yourself girl! You win the Miss USA 2011 crown and the battle against your health. Nobody can take that away from you. Stay strong and healthy.

    Fan from the Philippines

  37. Pingback: You have won. | lifeisajourney3

  38. Emily Tuma

    Dear Alyssa,
    Hi! My name is Emily. I am 13, almost 14, years old and I am 4 foot 11. I get many comments on my height, some of them nice, some of them bad. But the bad thing is, I am not skinny. Sure, I have boobs, and I wear an Adult small in T-Shirts, but I also wear a size 5-6 in jeans, and sometimes bigger than that. I can’t fit into any of my friend’s clothes and I have to get my jeans custom fit because I am a petite medium. At school, people call me fat jokingly, but I still take it seriously. I am also a runner, so it is very hard when I run 2 miles in the morning, then tell my friends and they don’t believe me. If I had your body, then I would be the most popular girl in school. Don’t let what other people say bring you down. You tried your hardest, and the cyberbullies can’t say that! I would like to see them win the title of Miss USA, then be invited to compete for Miss Universe! You are amazing at what you do, and you looked beautiful in those pictures. I know you probably not going to read this, but know that you are loved and looked up to, so keep telling us your stories. Also, I have a Pageant-Girl friend that absolutely LOVES you, and if you could, could you friend her on Facebook? Her name is Natasha Alvarez, and she is Miss National Kentucky. Instead of trying to put on weight like you were, she is trying to lose weight. If you could give her some tips on modeling or pageants, or whatever, please do. She is very important in my life and I don’t want to lose her.
    Yours Truly,
    Emily Tuma

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  40. ann Lavine

    Alyssa, You are one of my favorite Miss USAs, I met you when you were Miss new Jersey Teen USA. You were kind to me and to the other teens. I thought you should have won Miss Teen USA.I am so sorry you went through this at a time that should have been the best time in your life. God will use this for good. You have a good heart, I remember around the time of miss California you rescued a cat.

  41. Bawbi

    Each Struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today Being thankful for the hard times helps us remember – they make us stronger! You are stinger still – I imagine that young women with weight problems in the other direction experience bullying like that too.

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  43. Wanda

    Thank you for sharing your story.People dont know what women go through with these jobs Miss USA.etc.I thought you looked amazing even thin thats just what happens running around working so much.You were a stella rep.for USA.I work with ladies in pageants and tell them its a job and you did a great job with yours.The weight lost should have been looked into byyour boss and addressed to the country instead of letting people attack you like that.I know it hurt.keep us informed we love you and wish you all the best.God Bless

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  45. Sangita Datta

    I am disgusted by the way youwere treated. Telling a woman she can’t be a role model for young girls just because she is skinny is just as bad as saying the same thing because she is fat. Its all this horrible obsession with having what is considered the “perfect” body type in the day. Neither version of body shaming is acceptable. I’m so sorry for the terrible things people said. I’m sure you already know this, bit you are incredibly gorgeous. You and Torrence Coombs are by far the cutest celebrity couple of your day.

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