It's been 20 years since Alicia Machado was crowned Miss Universe. Now the former beauty queen has become a part of the U.S. presidential campaign after her experience with Donald Trump was brought up in Monday's presidential debate.
Machado was 19 years old when she won the Miss Universe contest in 1996, the same year Trump took over the pageant. She said Trump publicly humiliated her when she started putting on weight. He allegedly called her names like "Miss Piggy," "Miss Housekeeping" and "Miss Eating Machine," and he invited the press to watch her work out, according to Machado.
"As a mother, I am very worried he could be president," she told ABC News in an interview that aired on "Good Morning America" today. "Maybe he will be saying bad things about me or try and discredit to me. But it's OK. I'm strong."
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton brought up the controversy with Machado during the debate, adding that Trump has called women "pigs, slobs and dogs."
"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," Clinton said from the debate stage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. "And he called this woman 'Miss Piggy.' Then he called her 'Miss Housekeeping,' because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a U.S. citizen. And you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”
Machado said she suffered from eating disorders after the experience.
"I don't like to remember that moment," she said. "I had a lot of problems."
Machado became an American citizen in May and said she plans to vote for Clinton in November.
Trump has since pushed back against the criticism regarding his treatment of Machado.
"She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem," he said of Machado during an interview on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning. "We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her."
Trump went on to compare Machado with other Miss Universe winners, describing her as "the worst we ever had."
ABC News’ Sabina Ghebremedhin, Michael Edison Hayden and Santina Leuci contributed to this report.