April 30, 2009 -- Though she missed out on the Miss USA crown, Miss California Carrie Prejean is embracing a new title: protector of "traditional marriages."
She told NBC's "Today" show Thursday that she's going to Washington to work with the National Organization for Marriage, saying the union between a man and a woman is "something that is very dear to my heart."
While Carrie Prejean's preaching her values, others are dropping bombshells about her body. Shanna Moakler, co-executive director of the Miss California Organization, confirmed to "Access Hollywood" Wednesday that the group paid for Prejean's breast implants weeks before she competed in the 2009 Miss USA pageant.
"It was something that we all spoke about together," Moakler said referring to herself, Carrie Prejean and Keith Lewis, who also serves as co-executive director for the organization. "It was an option and she wanted it. And we supported that decision."
The beauty queen's family is also voicing their support for her. More than a week after Carrie Prejean spoke out against "opposite marriage" at the Miss USA pageant, her "gay activist" sister came to her defense and lashed out at Perez Hilton, judge who questioned Prejean about gay marriage during the competition and subsequently bashed her on his blog.
"Considering what she was going through, the circumstances of being put on the spot, given such a short amount of time to think and respond … she said what she felt in her heart would be the best answer," Christina Prejean told ABCNews.com. "She and I have talked about this subject; we both respect each other's views. I support civil unions that would give same sex couples equal, legal rights and privileges."
At the pageant, Prejean seemed initially tongue-tied answering to Hilton's question before saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman, drawing a mixed reaction from the audience and a look of thinly veiled disgust from Hilton.
In the days afterward, Prejean attempted to quell criticism of her conservative marriage views by saying that her sister is a gay activist.
"My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist," Prejean told "Access Hollywood" last week, adding that Christina is not gay. "She supports gay people, she supports gay marriage. My beliefs have nothing to do with my sister or my mom, or whatever."
Christina Prejean, 22, admitted she was surprised to hear the beauty queen, 21, call her a gay activist.
"I have never even given myself that title. I was kind of surprised that she mentioned it, but I think she wanted to get the point across that our family is tolerant," Christina Prejean said, adding that she only recently got involved in gay rights activism.
"A couple weeks back, I attended a public forum in Idaho about protecting the LGBT community against discrimination," she continued. "That was the very first thing I attended, and I told her about it on the night of the pageant, after she said she felt bad that people might be offended by her response. … But that's obviously such a hot topic that either way, someone was going to be offended."
Miss California's Sister 'Appalled' by Perez Hilton
Christina Prejean said she is offended by Hilton's (real name: Mario Lavandeira) treatment of her sister after the pageant, whom he called a dumb b**** in a video posted on his blog. (Hilton later apologized on his blog, offering to take Prejean out for coffee and a "talk.")
"I was disappointed and appalled by his unprofessional behavior. He used language that's offensive not only to my sister but to all women," she said. "It showed his own hypocrisy because he speaks out about how people should be more tolerant, but at the same time he puts down people who don't share his own opinion."
Asked to respond, Hilton said simply, "I am praying for both her and her sister."
Since the fallout from the Miss USA pageant, Carrie Prejean, who finished as first runner-up, has defended her stance on gay marriage through the media and in church appearances, notably at San Diego's The Rock Church, which was active in the campaign to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriages in California last year. She was the guest of honor at morning services Sunday, where she recounted her side of the story to the congregation.
She said pageant officials counseled her to apologize, saying "'You need to apologize to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand,'" she recalled. "I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California."
Lewis, co-executive director of the Miss California Organization, responded with the following statement:
"Given the fact that Carrie Prejean's first act upon returning to California was to headline five services at a church that promotes homosexuality as both unnatural and abnormal, we stand by our concern for her individual image and look forward to a time in the near future when she can put down her personal agenda and assume the responsibilities associated with being Miss California USA."
Some, including "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck, have suggested Carrie Prejean might make the prefect poster child for conservative values.
Prejean's sister agrees.
"She wants to be a role model," Christina Prejean said. "Before the pageant, she said she wanted to explore modeling or be a teacher for children with special needs, but she is open to political opportunities. I know she doesn't want to close the door to anything."
And with her new role with the National Organization for Marriage, it looks like Carrie Prejean won't shy away from Washington.