HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the years, responses to beauty pageant questions have been known to produce some cringe-worthy moments.
But it's the question asked to Hawaii's Chelsea Hardin on Sunday night at the Miss USA contest that has fans in an uproar.
Miss Hawaii USA was asked: "If the election were held tomorrow, who would you choose, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? And why would you choose one over the other?"
The question elicited a chorus of boos from the studio audience. There's also been backlash on social media, with many calling the question unfair.
To her credit, Hardin took the question in stride -- without divulging who she'd vote for. She went on to be named first runner-up.
Reached on Monday by phone, Hardin said she was a bit startled by the question.
"I do think the way they asked point blank, 'who are you going to vote for' was a little maybe stepping over the line," she said. "And I think the followers of the pageant think it was inappropriate."
Alicia Jones, executive director of the Miss Hawaii USA pageant, said Hardin handled the question well.
"Chelsea answered the question the best she could have, without violating her own privacy," she said.
She added questions can come from the judges, writers, or even the public.
"My specific instructions have always been 'make them challenging' because we want to challenge these girls to see how they do under pressure," Jones said. "But we don't want to set them up to embarrass them."
As for the aftermath, the viral nature of the question has actually given Hardin more publicity than she would've received otherwise.
"We have so many major networks and talk shows calling and wanting to talk to Chelsea," Jones said.
Hardin added, "It's only been 12 hours and I've had so many opportunities open up, so I'm doing OK. I'm happy."