Controversy's King Ahead of Miss Universe Pageant

PHOTO: Miss Colombia 2011 Catalina Robayo
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A winner's yet to be crowned, but already, Miss Universe is raising eyebrows.

Ahead of the Sept. 12 pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a few details have leaked out about Donald Trump's annual celebration of some of the world's most beautiful women. Like, Miss Colombia maybe has a penchant for not wearing underpants.

Twenty-two-year-old Catalina Robayo's miniskirts garnered more attention than usual when photographers documented what looked like a lack of garments beneath them. This week, she was reprimanded by pageant organizers.

"Our supervisors talked to all of the contestants about dressing appropriately, and one of our p.r. people spoke to her, and apparently she said she was wearing underwear," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, told E! Online. "But regardless, it created quite a stir here for a few days."

Pageant officials refused to confirm whether or not Robayo was wearing underwear. But Colombia's brunette bombshell need not fear. Actress Vivica Fox, who will help judge this year's competition, offered advice on how Robayo, and any scandal-scarred contestant, for that matter, can rebound from a bout of bad, pre-pageant publicity.

"The first thing I would say is to breathe," she told ABCNews.com during a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Do not put so much pressure on yourself that you freeze up. Just be yourself, be likable."

Bravo executive vice president Andy Cohen, who's co-hosting the ceremonies, had more direct advice.

"She's coming into this with some people who maybe already have opinions about her but, you know, what she's got to do … she's got to be even stronger," he said. "She can't lose her confidence. She's really got to wow. And, she should probably wear undies."

Robayo's alleged ban on briefs hasn't been the pageant's only problem. Officials were forced to return bikini bottoms from sponsor Catalina Brasil Swimwear after they were deemed too skimpy for audiences. (What flies on the sands of Rio, unsurprisingly, raises issues on prime time network TV.)

It's far from the first time controversy's reigned at one of Trump's many pageants. Carrie Prejean memorably condemned gay marriage at the 2009 Miss USA pageant, posed for partially nude photos and later lost her crown due to breach of contract. Last year, the Miss USA organization came under fire after releasing racy portraits of the contestants clad in lingerie.

The headlines about Trump's latest pageant will no doubt woo more viewers to NBC's Monday broadcast. There's a silver lining for Robayo, too.

"If it doesn't work for her at Miss Universe, she could always go to Hollywood," said Shandi Finnessey, fashion commentator for the pageant. "It worked for Paris and Britney."

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