THEY present as the sweetest girls in the world, preaching peace, love and goodwill.But it can be real bitchy backstage at the Miss Universe pageant, with Australia's latest entrant claiming dirty tricks and sabotage.
Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell revealed yesterday one of her 82 competitors - or someone associated with them - booby-trapped an outfit by sticking pins in delicate places at the Las Vegas event three weeks ago.
Not only that, the target was her so-called and widely derided "national dress", made up of high-heeled ugg-boots, an aboriginal-art styled one piece swim suit and rainbow flamenco dress.
"I put it on just before I was due to go out on parade but I felt these sharp pains when something stuck into my back," she said.
"I took the top off and found all these pins had been stuck into it.
"I didn't have any injuries or marks, but I didn't have much time to take them out and get it back on because I had to be out there."
Campbell finished third despite the out-there outfit being laughed at by critics.
"The sabotage was a bit harsh, but you have to laugh at these things and not take it too seriously and it did give me a story to tell when I got home," Campbell said yesterday. who yesterday started a week's work experience as entertainment reporter for Channel 7's The Morning Show said she had none.
While she wouldn't point a finger, she did admit the contestants from Mexico, Central and South American countries plus the Philippines were extremely competitive.
"Winning is so important for those girls because they become queens in their country and are worshipped if they win - and it changes everything forever for them," she said.
"But there were 82 other girls there and I can't narrow it down, so it's a mystery to me.
"But I know who didn't do it - my best friends were the girls from Ireland, Belgium, Great Britain and Guam and I know they wouldn't have done that to me."