HANOI, Vietnam — Miss USA has learned a simple lesson from her humiliating tumble during the Miss Universe pageant — the second year in a row the American contestant has taken a spill.
"I think I'm going to have to take some walking classes," Crystle Stewart said during a telephone interview Monday, just hours after her mishap was broadcast live across the globe.
"I would never have thought in a million years that I would fall down at the Miss Universe pageant — right after Miss USA fell last year," Stewart said. "I always wondered: My God, if that happened to me, what would I do?"
Stewart is taking the episode with equal parts humor and philosophy, determined to move on.
"Things happen," said Stewart, 26. "I'm perfectly fine. I'm going to move back to New York and get on with my life."
Stewart's fall came as she walked on stage for the evening gown competition.
"My dress has beautiful beads on the bottom of it, and I stepped on my gown and they made me slip. It was like I was on Rollerblades. There was no conspiracy or anything. Nobody left marbles on the floor. It was just me."
Miss Venezuela, who won the contest, will now become Stewart's roommate in New York, where Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA share an apartment provided by the company that owns all three pageants.
Stewart and the other contestants attended a coronation party for the new Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, on Monday night in Nha Trang, where the pageant was held.
Stewart is a motivational speaker and has developed a character education program that she teaches in a New York City school. She plans to turn her mishap into a lesson.
"I'll be talking to my students about it when I get back," she said. "Sometimes you fall in life, not just in the pageant but financially or emotionally. It's not about the fall but how you pick yourself up."
After she fell down, Stewart stood up, gave herself a round of applause, and kept on walking.
During the 2007 Miss Universe contest in Mexico City, Miss USA Rachel Smith also tumbled during the evening gown competition and became an unintended star on YouTube, where the video was shown over and over.
Now Stewart has become an Internet sensation, drawing thousands of hits on YouTube and lighting up the conversation in Internet chat rooms.