Actress and model Claudia Jordan says it's about time the Miss USA organization broke the age barrier in beauty ... by finally permitting women over 28 to compete for the crown.
We spoke to Claudia, herself a former contestant, and she's glad the pageant's outdated message that women have an expiration date is over -- especially since she's known women racing against the clock, knowing they have one more year of eligibility to achieve their Miss USA goal.
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Claudia represented Rhode Island in Miss USA 1997, and says there's no way a man wasn't responsible for the initial age restriction ... blasting the notion that a woman over 28 is spoiled milk, and a woman with kids isn't their sexual fantasy anymore.
She wishes she could compete now because in her opinion she looks better now at 50, and there are a lot of women out there way past 28 who could compete.
She addresses the broader topic of double standards in beauty ideals between the sexes, saying it's unfair men have "spots on their heads, fat ass stomachs, and horrible toupées," but are still judged on their personality/talents ... while women have to achieve impossible standards across the board.
At the end of the day, Claudia's thankful the inclusive new rules align with the acceptance of transgender women competing in the pageant -- which went into effect in 2012. Basically, she's saying let the best women win.
As for Claudia, her start in pageantry did her entertainment career wonders.
She's been in the running for the open co-host gig on "The Breakfast Club -- and the former "Deal or No Deal" briefcase model returns next month as a cast member on NBC's reboot, "Deal or No Deal Island."