Actress Roselyn Sanchez "took a little heat" over her decision to drop out as co-host of Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant following his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants in America, because it took her nine days to act after the scandal broke.
The Apprentice tycoon hit headlines as he announced his run for U.S. president on 16 June, when he revealed plans to build a huge wall separating America from Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out, as he claimed many Mexicans living in the U.S. were "rapists" who brought drugs and crime into the country.
The derogatory remarks sparked a public backlash, which led to Colombian star J. Balvin announcing he would no longer be performing at the annual beauty contest as planned.
The day after Balvin pulled out, Sanchez and her co-host, actor Cristian De La Fuente, also parted ways with the pageant in separate statements to the press, but their delay in taking immediate action prompted some to criticise the pair.
The Puerto Rican star, a former beauty queen, now reveals she was advised to wait and take her lead from bosses at Spanish-language TV network Univision, for which she was fronting the event, and hours after they dumped plans to broadcast Miss USA on 12 July, she went public with her own decision.
She tells U.S. news show Access Hollywood Live, "We took a little heat... When (Trump) said the remarks, we didn't come out immediately because my manager for the Latino market said, 'Listen, let's see what's gonna be the... stance that Univision is gonna take before you guys flip out and say, 'We're out of here'.' So we waited a couple of days and when J. Balvin... pulled out, I read it (his statement) and I told my manager, 'I'm done, there's no way I'm doing this.' It's intense."
Sanchez admits she was grateful for the outpouring of support she and De La Fuente received for stepping down, even though there were a few harsh comments directed at the pair on social media.
She says, "Ninety-nine percent (of the comments were positive), it was incredible support, and I appreciated it immensely, and yeah, you get the messages that are just nasty and you know, the people who don't agree and they are pro-Trump, so they will just say something ridiculous. But the support was just incredible, especially from the Latino community, which is the one I really care about."
Sanchez agrees there needs to be action over U.S. immigration issues to reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the country, but she wants Trump to go about his campaign in a different, less confrontational way.
She adds, "Clearly we have an issue with the border; clearly people are coming in, yeah, that is true, but the way he goes about it is just completely out of line. Just be smarter about it. You're running for President, you're highly educated; don't speak like that."