Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Oksana Loses Her Miss Universe Crown

St. Petersburg -- Just four months after Oksana Fyodorova was crowned Miss Universe, she has been stripped of her title for refusing to fulfill her duties and for gaining weight, pageant organizers said Monday.

Fyodorova, the first Russian to win the Miss Universe pageant in its 51-year history, said she had stepped down for personal reasons.

Pageant spokeswoman Esther Swan said the dark-haired, green-eyed St. Petersburger was sacked last week after being warned about her lackluster performance.

"She was told that she must fulfill all the obligations, and she said that she would make sure that it didn't happen again," Swan said by telephone from New York. "However, nothing changed for the better."

Swan said pageant organizers sent Fyodorova, 24, a letter last week informing her of their decision. The letter said her refusal to perform her duties as a Miss Universe titleholder "has and will cost the Miss Universe organization hundreds of thousands of dollars while gravely affecting our reputation," according to the New York Post, which reported the sacking Monday.

The newspaper said Fyodorova, among other things, had refused to participate in a recent live, two-hour broadcast of the 2002 Miss Teen U.S.A. competition.

The crown was handed over to the first runner-up of the May 29 contest, Justine Pasek of Panama.

"It's too bad it didn't work out better with Oksana, but our new Miss Universe is equally beautiful and she is a tremendous crowd-pleaser," pageant owner Donald Trump was quoted by the New York Post as saying.

Swan said Fyodorova had blamed personal problems for her behavior. She refused to elaborate.

The New York Post quoted an unnamed source in the pageant as saying Fyodorova was "an unbelievable beauty and an unbelievably spoiled bitch" who "does not want to do anything."

The source also said pageant organizers believed Fyodorova may be secretly married to her "well-connected boyfriend." The source said the boyfriend had showered Fyodorova with gifts since she was 16.

Fyodorova said at the pageant that she had a 38-year-old boyfriend named Vladimir.

Another insider told the New York Post that Fyodorova had gained about seven kilograms since the pageant and may be pregnant.

Swan acknowledged that Fyodorova had gained weight and said none of her specially tailored clothes fit anymore.

"I saw her last weekend, but these girls have such amazing bodies that you can't say immediately if they have gotten bigger," she said. "But when she can't put on anything from her full wardrobe ..."

Fyodorova, a ranking police lieutenant and a postgraduate student in civil law, denied being married or pregnant.

"The duties of Miss Universe are a very good thing, but I would not have been able to continue my studies," she said in televised remarks. "As for marriage and pregnancy, they are excellent but still a dream [for me]."

In Fyodorova's hometown, acquaintances greeted the news of her sacking with disbelief.

"I am a military person, and I won't believe this newspaper until I see the official document," said Vyacheslav Bulavinov, the deputy head of the postgraduate faculty at the Interior Ministry University where Fyodorova is a third-year student.

He said she has never stopped her studies and has remained in regular contact with the university's rector, Viktor Salnikov, and her mentor. He said she had nearly completed her dissertation on the regulation of private detective and security activities. She is expected to defend the dissertation next month and, after that, could be dispatched by the Interior Ministry as a senior police lieutenant.

Salnikov blamed pageant organizers for being too hard on Fyodorova, Interfax reported. He quoted Fyodorova as telling him on the telephone that the organizers did not want to let her go to the university to defend her dissertation in October.

"All the speculation that has appeared in the Western press that Fyodorova got married, pregnant and seven kilograms heavier have no grounds," he was quoted by Interfax as saying. "She did not get married, did not get fatter and is not pregnant."

Fyodorova said she would always be Miss Universe at heart.

"I will remain Miss Universe for our citizens and, above all, for myself," she said.