Latina Miss USA Contestants on Why They Will Still Strut Despite Donald Trump

“Not once did I think of backing out of the competition,” Miss California Natasha Alexis Martinez says

Last Updated: July 7, 2015 @ 11:24 PM

The number of people and corporations ditching Donald Trump is growing faster than the list of Bill Cosby accusers, but many Latina Miss USA contestants are sticking with the pageant.

Co-hosts Thomas Roberts, Cheryl Burke, Roselyn Sanchez, Cristian de la Fuente and Jeannie Mai have all dropped out. But several Latina beauties say they will still take part in the July 12 competition despite Trump’s controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.

“My mother is an immigrant from Nicaragua, and my father is of Mexican descent,” Miss California Natasha Alexis Martinez told Latina Magazine. “That’s a deep part of my family history, so to hear those comments was extremely hurtful.”

Despite being offended, Martinez still plans to strut across the Miss USA stage.

“Not once did I think of backing out of the competition. I don’t see a better way of representing the Latina community than by standing up, staring them in the face and proving them wrong,” she added.

Miss Louisiana Candice Marie Bennatt, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said she was disgusted by Trump’s “rapist” comment, but she is not dropping out. “I’m not for that comment at all. But I don’t believe that dictates why I should or should not be here,” she said. “I want to continue to represent the Latina culture in a positive light, and just show what I’ve done for the state of Louisiana.”

Meanwhile, Miss New York Thatiana Diaz, of Dominican descent, agreed with part of what Trump said, but not all of it. “I do agree that we need more border protection, but I don’t agree with the name-calling and generalization of the Latino community.”

As for the beauty pageant being dropped by both NBC and Univision, Diaz said that was a tough pill to swallow. “It hurt to be dropped by the other networks, especially Univision,” she said. “We were very excited to be on Univision, because our families were going to watch us and be able to understand — like my father, who only speaks Spanish. But, as we’ve been saying, the show must go on.”

Other Latina contestants who are going on to compete are Miss Kansas Alexis Railsback, Miss West Virginia Andrea Mucino, Miss Texas Ylianna Guerra, Miss Rhode Island Anea Garcia and Miss Nevada Brittany McGowan.

Miss USA airs from Baton Rouge, LouisianaJuly 12, on Reelz.