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Beauty Pageant Judge Resigns

July 15, 1998

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) _ A Miss New York State judge has been barred from the beauty contest for saying a pageant also-ran wore a dress with a deeply slit skirt that made her look ``trashy.″

``The judge says the clothing made her look ... trashy. The judge didn’t say she was trashy,″ said Joan Jones, executive director of the Miss New York Pageant that held this year’s contest June 20 in Watertown.

She said today that the judge, Melody Martin, admitted using the word, apologized to contestant Sallie Toussaint and won’t take part in future Miss New York State competitions.

Miss Toussaint, who was Miss Manhattan, requested those steps in order to put the issue behind everyone, Miss Jones said. But Miss Toussaint says the organization didn’t respond quickly to her complaints, and that Ms. Martin’s language went far beyond the word ``trashy.″

The confrontation came after the contest. Miss Toussaint overheard the judge talking to the winner, Deana Herrera, allegedly criticizing Miss Toussaint’s dress. Ms. Herrera will be competing in the Miss America pageant in September.

``She just started slamming me,″ Miss Toussaint, 24, told the New York Post, which published a photo of her today dabbing at her eye, the handkerchief carefully angled to not cover her pretty face.

``She said I was pure trash, that I had evil in my eyes, I looked like a cheap slut _ she went on and on for 10 minutes. I was shocked.″

Ms. Martin denied using the word ``slut.″ Miss Jones said she doesn’t recall whether the organization’s investigation finding any use of the word.

``I think that here is a young lady who is looking for her 15 minutes in the glow,″ Miss Jones said. ``She’s a magnificent actress.″

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