Puerto Rican beauty pageant contestant Genesis Davila worked hard to achieve her dream of being crowned winner of Miss Florida USA. However, the young beauty was left in pieces after unfairly having the crown stripped from her.
Every beauty queen has hopes and dreams of becoming crowned champion in some of the most prestigious pageants around the world. In 2016, a 24-year-old Puerto Rican law student achieved this dream to then have it ripped away from her.
An Exotic Beauty
Genesis Davila, the Puerto Rican beauty was a teenager when she started competing in beauty pageants and by the age of 21, she had won the Miss World Puerto Rico 2014 competition where she represented Arroyo. The year before, in 2013, she won the award for first runner up and best legs in the competition which gave her the green light to represent Puerto Rico at Miss Intercontinental 2012. From an early age, many people knew that she was destined for greatness.
Miss World 2014
Davila’s striking beauty led her to make waves in the industry, being the first woman of predominantly African heritage to represent Puerto Rico at the Miss World competition. The pageant was held in London in 2014 but despite her amazing effort and her ability to shine in front of the judges and audience, she didn’t end up placing in the competition. However, Davila was not deterred and she then went on to compete in the most important competition of her career.
Miss Florida USA 2017
In 2017, Genesis Davila represented her hometown of Miami Beach in the Miss Florida USA 2017 pageant on July 16th 2016. Prior to her competing in the competition, she posted a video on Youtube, speaking about her achievements in the competition “I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. But, most importantly, I am a determined, hard-working, disciplined and passionate woman who understands and celebrates the fabric of our nation. I am a leader who will never give up on her dreams.”
The day arrived and Genesis took her chances, competing against 66 other hopefuls, wowing the judges with their beauty and elegance after being preened to perfection. After a grueling couple of days, the time finally came for the host to announce the winner of the competition. As she stood there praying, Genesis closed her eyes during the dramatic build up and the host finally shouted her name as the winner of the competition. However, the way that this would change Genesis’s life was not expected.
Genesis was absolutely shocked but elated at being crowned the pageant queen. All of her hard work had paid off and she was rewarded big time. Immediately after her name was announced she found it hard to speak but eventually thanked everyone around her and paid homage to all of the other beautiful women who had been her harsh competition over the last couple of days. She was excited about the future and her new accolade as Miss Florida USA.
Not only was Genesis crowned champion, but she was also given a number of different rewards by sponsors who were linked to the event. The list of items she received was a designer evening gown, a stunning custom made necklace, a 21-day trip in order to have an extended stay at the next competition, Miss USA 2017. Genesis was so thankful for all she had received and knew that this was going to change her life for the better.
It was a hectic couple of days for the newly crowned model, taking interviews from all of the press and delivering her promises to continue in the pageants to get as far as she possibly could. When she finally got some time out to reflect on everything that had happened, she took to her Facebook page to give thanks to her fans and supporters, stating “Dreaming on a cloud! I am Miss Florida USA 2017,” It was a surreal moment for Genesis.
The Controversy Begins
Despite getting stuck in to her new role, just a week later, Genesis was hit with claims and accusations surrounding the fairness of her winning the competition. It had come to light that the star had allegedly used outside help to assist her in winning the competition, going against rules which stipulated that help must only come from that provided by the pageant organizers. This help had come in the form of a personal hair and make up team.
Personal Glam Squad
As it turned out, many of the other contestants found it an unfair advantage that Genesis had her own professional glam squad to style her hair and make up whereas the other contestants were given assistants provided by the organizers of the pageant. Although this may seem small in the scheme of things, pageant producers took it very seriously with one of the producers of the event, Grant Gavitt speaking to news channels stating that Genesis had “made a poor life choice.”
When the allegations came to light, more and more contestants from the pageant went forward to express their dismay at the model hiring outside help. One of the shows producers said that he had received “30 to 40 complaints” from the others who all cited the champion’s Instagram page, showing her being made up by professionals. However, it later transpired that the photo taken off her Instagram was from weeks before the pageant and that producers had disregarded the date on the photo.
According to the model, the first meeting she was pulled in by pageant officials was said to have dealt with the validity of her US citizenship. The model has maintained that producers tried to dethrone her and said they had prejudice over Puerto Ricans. The meeting in question was turned into a press conference with the model forced to lie to press about her decision to resign, stating it was “because her mother was sick in hospital”.
Immediately following the press conference, Genesis was stripped of her beauty queen title after producers found her guilty of violating pageant rules. In response to their decision, Genesis released a statement saying “I am innocent. All these false allegations have taken me completely by surprise, I am honest and hard-working.” From this, it was evident that Genesis was not going to take the decision lightly and would absolutely fight with everything she had to clear her name of cheating.
More accusations came out accusing the executive producers of the pageant telling their sponsors fake stories about Genesis so even they would not agree to continue their contracts with her. “We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules. Whether it’s something major or minor, it’s all about keeping an equal and level playing field.” The producers went on to say that they must penalize the model for her actions as they had 64 other contestants upset and it wasn’t fair to the majority.
Despite trying to harm her name, pageant bosses maintained that they wish her the best in her career and wish no no ill-will. However, Genesis wouldn’t back down and the law student used her initiative and hired a legal team. Her attorney Mayra Joll stated “She’s still a queen, she’s still Miss Florida. She’s still Miss Florida USA. Justice is going to be served.” The bizarre nature of the whole scenario led many to question if there was something more to it.
It was clear that the battle was taking it’s toll on Genesis who stated “I have faced many challenges in my life, but nothing like this.” Furthermore, when the story was brought to light and many of the media caught on, there were many questions being asked if this was racially provoked. Many fingers were being pointed to another beauty queen who was white and had tweeted racist comments yet got to keep her crown in the end.
When more and more people were finding out about the injustices towards Genesis, she had many people supporting her and voicing her innocence. For example, her stylist Iide Conclaves who appeared in the Instagram shot of the model having her make up done insisted that she is not a cheater and that picture was taken on the day he did her make up, not on the day of the pageant- he was not even there. He also asserted “Genesis is innocent and deserves her crown.”
As the drama unfolded, the claws began to come out between Genesis’s lawyers and the pageant executives. One of the producers spoke to the media about the situation and explained how Genesis’s main lawyer was actually a volunteer for their arch rivals the Miss America pageant, noting that he believed the lawyer and volunteer had intent to severely embarrass their organization and give them a bad name. However, the lawyers were not accepting these allegations so came out with their own.
The New Queen
When Genesis Davila was stripped of her title due to the make up artist scandal, it was then given to runner up Linette de los Santos who told the media “I’m just excited to have this opportunity, I didn’t think it was going to happen, especially like this.” However, the crowning of Dominican Republic native Linette was accused of having ties to the pageants executive producers which caused even more twists in the bizarre quest for a new beauty queen.
The Corrupt System
After gathering plenty of evidence, it came to light that the runner up and new queen, Linette de los Santos had been coached by producers from the Miss Florida USA show. The reason she was coached was said to be due to the fact producers wanted to gain exposure for the company and enhance relationships with their sponsors. Of the accusations, Davila’s lawyer said “This was all done to get rid of my client, so one of the insiders could be propped up as Miss Florida.”
Behind Closed Doors
Although many of the legal cases were being handled privately, different pieces of information had come to light surrounding the case and the people involved. Months after the incident in question, Genesis took to her personal Instagram to post a throwback picture with a revealing caption that stated “#TBT to a dream that was interrupted by the lack of ethic and professionalism of a group of individuals. Had anyone thought about how I felt? Never!” But it didn’t end there…
Genesis seemed to then go on a rant and express her feelings and hurt over her dethroning. She said “I was punished with NO evidence of a wrong doing. I felt so many emotions… Scared, afraid, humiliated, embarrassed and almost a loser for all those who I had let down after a victorious win that we had all worked so hard for.” Her comments left her fans worrying what the outcome had been and what had provoked this reaction.
The Cost of Bad Treatment
With all the social media posts slating the beauty pageant organization, many news outlets looked into the lawsuit and found some revelations surrounding costs and the ill-treatment given to Genesis. After reiterating the fact she was completely innocent, even going so far to provide concrete evidence, the pageant producers disregarded her comments. Genesis went all out and together with the help from her lawyers, she decided to sue the pageant for a enormous $15 million in damages and defamation.
After providing numerous pieces of evidence showing that Davila had no outside assistance, the lawyers released a statement depicting the malicious nature of their behavior. Davila’s attorney, Richard Wolfe stated “We believe [Gravitt] acted maliciously and intentionally, to defame and hurt my client,” Wolfe said in a press conference Monday in Miami.” Through removing official dates on her Instagram photos having her make up done, the pageant executives seemed to make her out to be something that she wasn’t.
An Early Retirement
With all the hype surrounding the case, it did not reflect well on the pageant or the bosses which led them into some troubles. Soon after, it was announced that producer Grant Gravitt and his company Tel-Air Interests would no longer have anything to do with the organization as they went their separate ways. As it was assumed that he was fired from the position, Gravitt took to his Facebook account to assert that he had actually retired, but rumors said otherwise.
The rumors surrounding executive producer Gravitt’s parting ways were said to be from a number of issues. Firstly, the Miss Universe organization had commented that he was fired due to financial issues. There were also rumors spread by others that the producer had sent out emails claiming that he was fired due to the incident with Genesis Davila. Another reason said was to be for the fact the company could not afford to pay out the $15 million Genesis was demanding and thought to remove the aggressor, Gravitt instead.
Plotting Against The Queen
The majority of the case focused on producer Gravitt’s unfair treatment of Genesis, which is what her lawyers focused on. Her lawyer, Wolfe, said “We have a smoking gun, I’ve never seen such a strong smoking gun showing one man’s malice.” Along with the defamation costs, Davila’s lawyers filed an immediate emergency injunction to restore Davila’s crown. The premise for stripping the crown from Davila was centered around an unfair advantage that was allegedly made up.
Evidence Against Genesis
Although both Genesis and her lawyers asserted she was innocent and a picture’s date was edited to look like she was in fact lying, new evidence came out which turned the case against her. Pageant producers stated, “We finally had substantial proof to link her and her vendors to her room on an evening which they were not allowed.” What that substantial proof ended up being was not stipulated but it seemed the beauty queen was fighting a losing battle.
No Justice For Genesis
After the whole situation with many back and forth between lawyers and the pageant producers, it was finally decided that Genesis would not win her crown back after producers maintained she had an unfair advantage over everyone else. Many people thought that producers were pressured by the other 64 contestants who did not feel it was fair to give the crown to her. This was a huge knock to the model and she had to pick up the pieces after feeling broken.
A New Leaf
As time passed after the incident, Genesis adopted the attitude that she would not let any of this affect her in her future modeling career or dampen her outlook on life. Showing her resilience and strength, she recently posted to her Instagram “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”