Miss Florida Is Now Fighting Back Against Her Dethroning

Update: Looks like Génesis Dávila, the Miss Florida winner who was stripped of her crown, is now fighting back against her recent dethroning. According to the Miami Herald, Dávila is seeking $15 million for defamation and the return of her crown, claiming that one of the key photos used against her was taken more than a week before the pageant. "She didn't have a professional hair and makeup person. She did it herself," her attorney Richard Wolfe said during a press conference. "No one is going to have their hair and makeup done nine days in advance of a pageant."

This story was originally published on July 26, 2016, at 5:45 p.m.
When competing in a statewide pageant, it's only natural to desire the help of a pro glam squad. (Or, at least, get a manicure from your favorite local spot.) But in the Miss Florida USA 2017 competition, using the help of a professional makeup artist, hairstylist, or manicurist is against the rules — a regulation that has dethroned pageant winner Génesis Dávila just a week after winning the title.

According to Grant Gravitt, Jr., executive producer of the Miss Florida USA pageant, Dávila was stripped of her title after the organization discovered photos she had posted to Instagram showing hair and makeup pros in her hotel room while she was getting ready. “We don’t assign makeup artists or hairstylists to the girls,” he explains to Refinery29, adding that competitors are not allowed to bring in their own pros, either. “We feel part of the sport is doing everything yourself. You’ve got to keep everything fair.”
Questions have been raised as to whether the photos were actually taken during the pageant, and whether Dávila was prepping in a hotel room other than her own. However, Gravitt explains that the organization has a policy regarding hotel-room guests as well. “Because we are responsible for the safety and welfare of 65 girls, no one outside of the pageant can enter [a competitor’s] hotel room, nor can a competitor go into the hotel room of someone who is not with the pageant,” he says.

While Dávila's Instagram images don't necessarily prove that she had professional help during the competition, Gravitt tells Refinery29 that the organization found what it considers irrefutable evidence of such help in a social media post from Dávila’s nail tech. In the photo, Dávila is wearing the same dress worn in one portion of the competition. The image was taken at Dávila’s hotel and, Gravitt says, connects to other social media posts that confirm the timeframe in which the services were allegedly completed. These findings are what ultimately prompted the organization to take away Dávila’s Miss Florida USA 2017 title.
And while it may seem disappointing that so much focus is being placed on appearances in this situation, there's actually a bigger issue at play. “I’m not happy doing this. Nobody is happy,” Gravitt says. “She didn’t cut up dresses or cut straps, but she did seek an unfair advantage. The little rules are just as important as the big rules. I couldn't look the other 64 girls in the eye knowing the 65th didn't follow the rules.”

We reached out to Dávila via her modeling agency, Front Management. Its cofounder and CFO Augie Lasseter responded to our query, saying, “Génesis has been advised by legal counsel not to comment.”

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