Who Is Alicia Machado? Former Miss Universe Says She Fell Into Depression, Anorexia After Donald Trump Publicly Mocked Her Weight Gain

Alicia Machado gained fame as the winner of Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant 20 years ago, and now she’s in the news again thanks to Hillary Clinton’s name-dropping at the debate and Donald Trump’s very public insults about her weight gain.

Clinton brought up Machado in Monday night’s presidential debate in reference to Trump’s demeaning and bullying statements about women, saying that the former pageant winner was belittled for her weight gain. With Clinton looking to shore up women voters, that has been a concerted line of attack and few were surprised to see the Democratic candidate bring it up at the first presidential debate.

In fact, Clinton’s team even had a tweet ready for those who came looking for information about Alicia Machado and her history with Donald Trump.

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Even before Monday’s presidential debate, Alicia Machado had been back in the news for her sordid history with Donald Trump. Earlier this campaign season, she talked to the New York Times for a story on Trump’s controversial statements and treatment of women.

Machado won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996 when she was a 19-year-old from Venezuela. That was the first year that Trump had taken over the pageant, and his then-wife Marla Maples was one of the hosts.

Winning was a high moment for Machado, but in the months that followed she began to gain weight and there were rumors that Trump might have her crown taken away, Inside Edition reported.

Donald Trump even took to bashing Alicia Machado publicly, going on Howard Stern’s radio show and calling her an “eating machine.”

Machado said she gained about 15 pounds, but Trump claimed publicly that it was much more.

“She weighed 118 pounds or 117 pounds and she went to 160 or 170. So this is somebody that likes to eat,” he said in an interview.

With the attention weighing down on her, Machado said she turned to a trusted confidant with some help in losing some weight. Donald Trump used that as an opportunity to humiliate her, she told the New York Times.

“I told the president of Miss Universe, a very sweet woman, I said I need some time to recuperate, to rest, to exercise, to eat right. I asked them to bring me a doctor to help me — to have a special diet and get exercise, and they said yes. They took me to New York, installed me in a hotel. The next day, they took me to the gym, and I’m exposed to 90 media outlets. Donald Trump was there. I had no idea that would happen.”

Alicia Machado said she was humiliated by the attention and spiraled into depression. In the years that followed, she suffered from eating disorders and underwent psychotherapy.

Machado said she blamed Donald Trump and his very public shaming of her weight.

“For sure he is not a good person,” Machado told Inside Edition.

And Alicia Machado has been doing more than just attacking Donald Trump. The Venezuela native recently became a United States citizen — something Clinton mentioned during Monday’s debate — and is stumping for the Democratic candidate.

“I so proud and inspiration to be a U.S. Citizen! I’ll be Voting!” Machado posted to Instagram.

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Hillary Clinton’s mention of Alicia Machado seemed to have the desired effect. Within an hour of the debate ending, Machado’s name was trending across several social media platforms and a number of stories were published telling her story and re-hashing her quotes describing Donald Trump’s bullying of her. Many commentators also mentioned Clinton’s quip about Machado as one of her stronger points in a debate where she was widely seen as the victor.

[Featured Image by Alicia Machado/Instagram]