CLICK HERE to watch Miss Washington, Elyse Umemto's apology. I recommend watching it, but you can also read it below.
A handful of unflattering and foolish photos of me have recently been posted in various places on the internet. I deeply regret the negative publicity that has fallen on the Miss Washington and Miss America Organizations. The dedicated volunteers who run these programs are above reproach and I am so proud to be associated with them. People have jumped to a lot of conclusions and and a great deal of misinformation circling.
The fact is that these pictures were stolen form me. This matter has been referred to law enforcement for investigation. And I want to be very clear about this. None of these pictures were taken during my year of service as Miss Washington. Most of these pictures were taken with my own camera and in setting that I considered to be private and when I was among friends I could trust. Clearly someone has violated that trust and I am deeply hurt by such an act of betrayal. I am not proud of the way I am depicted in these photographs and in my defense I can only say that being a role model and public figure is a full time job.
Everyone needs a brief respite from the need to be in top form at all times and these photos were taken when I was at ease and not expecting to be on duty. The photographs to not represent my true essence in anyway and they depict me clowning around. I have worked hard to represent the Miss Washington and Miss America organizations in a way that would make both programs proud.
I apologize for acting in a way that allowed this situation to occur. I will be a long time in a healing process both in my own wounds and in the pain that my poor judgment has caused my family, my friends and this organization. For those, and there are many, who have offered your support I am so grateful.
For those who have been appalled by what they have seen I ask that you open your hearts to ideals of the MAO and to not let this situation cloud your perception of the great work this organization does for on behalf of young women.
I've never represented to be someone that I am not. I have never claimed to be better than anyone. I have never claimed to be above anyone, at the end of the day I am a pretty genuine person. And this is me genuinely apologizing, genuinely admitting that I am only human.