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Miss USA not worried about her weight

February 6, 1997

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) _ Shortly after Miss Hawaii Brooke Lee won the Miss USA title by saying said she could handle getting fat, a Cajun spread of crawfish, jambalaya and gumbo put her willpower to the test.

Miss Lee, 26, was feted Wednesday along with other contestants at a riverboat casino ball with a Mardi Gras theme, complete with food, floats and maskers throwing beads to guests.

Earlier in the evening, the new Miss USA wowed judges with her response to co-host George Hamilton’s question to finalists about how they would deal with weight gains.

``I would take a good hard look at myself, and I’d look from the inside out, and I would know that I’m the same girl that won the crown that day and it wouldn’t really matter what I look like on the outside because I won,″ Miss Lee said to huge cheers from the audience.

The answer moved Miss Lee ahead of the two remaining finalists, runner-up Miss Idaho Brandi Sherwood and Miss Tennessee Towanna Stone.

Hamilton’s question alluded to Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who made headlines when she gained an undisclosed amount of weight after she won the crown last May.

Immediately after Miss Lee was crowned, she and the other 51 contestants went to Harrah’s Casino for the coronation ball and were invited to chow down on the buffet.

Miss Lee, a dancer and model from Pearl City, Hawaii, gets more than $170,000 in cash and prizes, and a chance to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in May.

Contestants were judged on the basis of interviews, a swimsuit competition and an evening gown competition. The judges included race car driver Michael Andretti, sports announcer Greg Gumbel, pro football kicker Nick Lowery and model Gayle Gurchick.

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