Just after the first presidential debate — at which she became a final flashpoint — concluded Monday night, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado posted a photo of herself with her brand-new U.S. passport.
Machado, who grew up in Venezuela, said she was ready to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Clinton was making a point about Donald Trump and women at the end of the debate when she brought up Machado.
“This is a man who has calling women pigs, slobs and dogs and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said that women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men,” Clinton said on the debate stage.
“And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest — he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them — and he called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina,” Clinton continued. “Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado. And she has become a US citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November.”
Trump seemed to double down on his blunt assessment the morning after the debate, telling “Fox and Friends” in an interview on Tuesday that Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”
“She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem,” Trump said. “Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her. So Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl — this was many years ago. And found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa.”
Machado, meanwhile, became a U.S. citizen in August. She has campaign for Clinton in Florida.
Beauty queen encouraged to lose weight
Machado competed and won the Miss Universe title representing Venezuela in 1996 when she was 19 years old — but then she gained nearly 60 pounds, according to a CNN report at the time.
“Some people when they have pressure eat too much. Like me. Like Alicia,” Trump said at the time. He was then executive producer of the Miss Universe Pageant.
In 1997, rumors surfaced that Machado would be forced to give up her Miss Universe crown — but Trump said he wouldn’t let it happen, according to the CNN report.
“We had a choice of: termination or do this,” he said at the time. “We wanted to do this.”
By “this,” he meant encourage her to lose weight.
Machado told Inside Edition in May that she actually gained closer to 15 pounds and that Trump called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she is Latina, and “Miss Piggy.” It made her feel “so fat” that it made her “very depressed,” she said.
Trump told the New York Times that he pushed her to lose weight.
“To that, I will plead guilty,” he said.
But Machado said that she was affected by the comments.
“After that episode, I was sick, had anorexia and bulimia for five years,” she said. “Over the past 20 years, I’ve gone to a lot of psychologists to combat this.”
On Monday, after the debate, she tweeted in Spanish, “Thank you Mrs. Hillary Clinton your respect for women and our differences make you great! I’m with you!”
Soon after the debate, the Clinton campaign released a nearly 2 1/2-minute video starring Machado, who recounts her experiences with Trump, saying she wasn’t paid for work she did after the pageant.
KTLA's Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.