Q+A: Carrie Prejean
Former Miss California runner-up Carrie Prejean became a lightning rod for controversy this spring after she answered Perez Hilton's question about whether states should legalize gay marriage.
"We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage," Prejean said. "And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised, and that's how I believe that it should be—between a man and a woman."
Several Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family, Liberty University, the Gospel Music Association, and Family Research Council, quickly scheduled Prejean for interviews and speaking engagements. Photos of Prejean in her underwear emerged, and pageant officials announced that they had paid for her breast implants. Miss California terminated Prejean's contract in June, alleging that she had breached her contract. Prejean then sued the pageant on several grounds, including libel. Prejean settled the lawsuit with the pageant last week, while a gossip blog reported that she had appeared in a solo sex tape. Prejean spoke with Christianity Today on Monday about her new book, Still Standing, and the recent allegation.
It's been quite a ride for you since the pageant. What's been the best part, what's been the hardest part, and how have you dealt with the turn of events?
I guess the hardest part was just all the attacks. I was just an innocent person at a pageant. I was asked a question and I gave an honest answer, and I wasn't trying to be this political person. I did not have my own agenda. I was just being honest. I think the best part was that some of my most memorable experiences have come from the pageant. It's so funny, in my book I talk about when I ended up at the hospital with the children instead of the other [event after pageant officials] gave me the wrong address, so I was able to visit for over two hours with kids in the cancer ward, just visit them. That's the kind of stuff I thought Miss California did. It's amazing how God works in such mysterious ways, because I wasn't even supposed to end up there, but I was able to serve and do what I really love doing—be with kids, especially those who are disabled or who have their last chance to live.
The hardest part was definitely giving an honest answer and being attacked for it. I've never experienced such hateful attacks and such personal attacks. It's not about me hating anyone. It was me answering a question and being honest with myself and the people around me, and it just so happened that because of the liberally biased media and culture that we live in, everything was just twisted around. Because I said I was a Christian, all of a sudden people are just trying to undermine me and discredit me and make me look like a fool.
Do you feel like you've become a spokesperson for traditional marriage since the pageant? Is that something you want to be known for?
That was never my original platform. I'm not the most vocal, but I'm the most visible as of right now. I'm not out there at rallies, and I'm not campaigning against gay marriage, but it's an honest opinion of mine. And I was asked; that's what people forget. I was asked what I thought. I told them what I thought, and no one should be punished and no one should be fired and no one should be attacked in the way that I was.