October 9, 2017


Future Hispanic History Month: 8 Activists Changing the World Now

#1Alicia Machado

Hometown: Maracay, Venezuela

Why You Should Pay Attention: In the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a majority of the country was introduced to a Venezuela-born beauty queen who eventually stood for much, much more than her looks. News came to mainstream light that then-Republican nominee Trump had criticized Machado's weight and heritage (reportedly referring to her as "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping") when she competed in, and won, his 1996 Miss Universe competition. After Clinton brought to light those remarks, Machado was back in the spotlight to speak more about why it was important to not let comments like these go unnoticed. "I'm a Latina, I'm from Venezuela and Cuba, I need to share my story," she explained during an interview on Fox News with Megyn Kelly that was going to be tough, but allowed Machado's passion to shine. "The point is: No more abuse for us, no more abuse for the girls. If you gain weight, if you don't look [like] the most beautiful girl in the world, you have your mind, you have your heart, you are strong, you are intelligent and, in the future, ladies can be a president too...We need to change minds and to respect for all the women in this country." Now a U.S. citizen, Machado continues to remind us why it's important to speak out about wrongdoing no matter how long ago the events were or what we can possibly gain or lose from it. Jeff Benjamin

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