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'Pageant Place' star Tara Conner sees mistakes as "life lessons"


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/25/2007 

It's been an up-and-down year for Pageant Place star Tara Conner, but the former Miss USA said everything that's occurred has helped her get back on track.

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"Mistakes are life lessons," said Conner in the October 22 issue of In Touch Weekly.  "If you ever want to take a bite of humble pie, go to rehab and then explain to the world, 'I was a cokehead.  I drank.  I went out and raged.'"

The Apprentice star Donald Trump -- who is co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA -- took matters into his own hands in January when Conner was accused of underage drinking as well as drug use.  Instead of taking Conner's crown away, The Donald announced she would keep her title and attend an in-patient substance abuse rehabilitation center. 

"It's a weird father-daughter and boss-employee relationship," Conner explained to In Touch about her relationship with Trump.

Conner -- now 21 years old -- serves as the "unofficial peer advisor" to current Miss Universe Riyo Mori; Miss USA Rachel Smith; former Miss Teen USA Katie Blair; and current Miss Teen USA Hilary Cruz on MTV's Pageant Place docu-reality series, which is produced by Trump's new Trump Productions television production company.

Conner told In Touch she's been sober a "year in December, God willing" and has been imparting words of wisdom on the other girls as well as trying to set the best example she can through her actions.

"Every now and then, I still go out and shake my tail-feather; I am 21 years old," Conner told In Touch.  "But now, instead of bottle service, I get Red Bull service."

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