An attractive young woman moves to Hollywood and meets an older powerful man who says he can make her a star, but only if she sleeps with him. Then after he gets what he wants, he forgets her and moves on to the next hopeful.
It’s a story as old as Hollywood itself, but in this instance the victim is a failed contestant in the 2012 Miss California USA beauty pageant who claims that behind the glitz and glamor is a shady organization exploiting young contestants.
Miranda Bryant, now 24, moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2010 after breaking up with an abusive boyfriend in her native Tennessee.
Miranda Bryant claims that 'top pageant recruiter' Erik DeSando said he could help her find a career in Hollywood provided that she sleep with him
Not long after arriving in the Golden State, she met Erik DeSando, co-founder of the Miss California USA recruitment company Chase the Crown.
DeSando, who has worked in Hollywood for more than 20 years, regularly refers to himself as ‘the top pageant recruiter in the country’ and told Bryant he could change her life forever.
He showered her with compliments and promised that she heading for fame and fortune and he could help her - provided she alleges that she slept with him.
‘He went on and on: “You live in the Golden State, you have golden skin, you're the golden girl,'" said told Jezebal
‘He said he knew I was special and that I was going to be famous. He said he had all these plans for me that he would disclose in the future.’
Seduced by his patter, Bryant paid his company a non-refundable registration fee of $845. She also opened up to DeSando about her past and her reasons for leaving Tennessee.
DeSando has resigned from his latest venture following Bryant's allegations that she slept with him over an eight month period in return for food and help with her career
In retrospect she believes that was a bad move, but admits she must take full responsibility for allowing him to get so close to her.
DeSando promised to mentor her career and hook her up with his friends in the movie and music businesses.
Then came the bombshell. ‘He said if you help me out, I'll help you out,’ said Bryant.
Over the next eight months, she alleges that says she slept with him at least once a month and in return he took her to restaurants and helped pay for her groceries.
Bryant also alleges that DeSando gave her several special gifts - a pair of shorts and a t-shirt featuring the official Miss California USA logo - that he claimed Donald Trump had sent him to personally give to the ‘most special’ girls.
Trump jointly owns the Miss Universe Organization together with NBC Universal.
Failed beauty pageant contestant Bryant claims that behind the glitz and glamor of the Miss California USA beauty pageant are shady characters looking to exploit young contestants for sex
But their ‘special arrangement’ ended abruptly after the Miss California USA pageant in January 2012, which Bryant didn’t win.
Their relationship was suddenly over and DeSando never followed through on all the promises he had made over the previous eight months.
After her Hollywood experience, Bryant moved back to Tennessee, where she is taking college classes in criminal justice and hopes to become a FBI agent. She is also debating trying out for Miss Tennessee USA.
DeSando, who remains in Hollywood, denies having a sexual relationship with Bryant.
'We were friends, and I was kind to all the girls, but everyone knew Miranda had problems,' he told Jezebel.
He has also just resigned from his latest venture It Girls, which on it’s website claims that it wants to help ‘beautiful women between the ages of 18-32 who want to grow into independent leaders interested in living their dreams.’
In the wake of Bryant’s allegations, perhaps DeSando isn't the best person to be fronting an organization that claims to 'help girls change their lives and the world.'