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The former Miss Universe who has said Donald Trump once called her "Miss Piggy" said Tuesday that she was surprised her story was told during Monday night's presidential debate — but she hopes her experience will lead to more support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Alicia Machado told Inside Edition in May that the Republican presidential nominee called her "Miss Piggy" and an "eating machine" after she gained weight after winning the beauty pageant that Trump once owned.
She later told Natalie Morales in an interview to air in full on TODAY Wednesday morning that the insults were not unusual.
"Miss Piggy, Miss Housekeeping, Miss Eating Machine," Machado said in the interview. "All the time. That was really normal for him, in that moment," she added.
"It’s hard for me, and I don’t want to remember that moment," Machado said in the interview. "Because I work really hard to forget that moment. That experience, with 18 years old, that hurt to me, really deep inside me."
Machado said the insults Trump hurled at her in 1996 left here depressed and led to eating disorders.
"I never thought, and I never imagined then 20 years later, I'll be in this position ... watching this guy again doing stupid things and stupid comments and ... so machista," the Venezuelan-born Machado told reporters on Tuesday in Spanish.
Machado, now a U.S. citizen, said she's voting for Clinton in November and she hopes her story will urge others to do the same.
"I'm not beauty queen, I'm not Miss Universe anymore, I'm a worker, I'm a mother ... I have a family, I have a career, I have a business and, you know, if my story can open eyes for this election that is what I'm trying to do," said Machado.
She said she was completely surprised on Monday when Clinton confronted Trump about his alleged degrading comments.
"And he called this woman 'Miss Piggy.' Then he called her 'Miss Housekeeping,' because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name," Clinton said during the debate. "Her name is Alicia Machado."
"Where did you find this," Trump questioned three times.
"He always treated me like trash," said Machado, " and no, his face [in the debate] was like, 'Now this trash is back, again.'"
On Tuesday, Trump defended the alleged comments in an interview with Fox News.
"She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem," Trump said.