Miss Universe under fire in India for Taj Mahal footwear photo shoot

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Miss Universe Olivia Culpo
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo

[Huffington Post]Miss Universe Olivia Culpo is under fire in India after taking part in a photo shoot for shoes at the hallowed Taj Mahal.

On Sunday, October 6, the 2012 Miss Universe winner and her team headed to the Taj Mahal as part of a 10-day tour of India to spread awareness about women’s issues.

While there, Culpo took part in a footwear photo shoot on the marble ledge known as the Diana Seat, modeling multiple pairs of shoes taken from a large bag and using the Taj Mahal as the backdrop.

The Hindustan Times, which described the shoot as “covert ‘promotion,'” reported that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is now threatening to file a complaint with the police against the agency behind the trip because “any branding or publicity on the Taj premises is prohibited.”

“We are gathering information from the tourism police about those who were managing the visit,” an official with ASI said Monday, per the Hindustan Times. “After we get the names, an FIR [first information report] would be lodged against the agency involved in violating norms at the Taj.”

ASI’s Syed Muuzzar Ali told NDTV that initial reports on the incident suggest there may have been a lapse on the part of the Central Industrial Security Force and tourism police, whose officials allegedly saw the Miss Universe photo shoot going on at the Taj Mahal but did not stop it.

Neither the ASI nor the Miss Universe Organization were immediately available for comment.

It is unclear what brand of shoes was being photographed, however, the 21-year-old beauty pageant winner visited the monument with fashion designer Sanjana Jon, according to NDTV.

As for Culpo, she seemed unaware of any controversy surrounding the visit. On Monday, she uploaded a photo of the Taj Mahal to the Miss Universe Instagram account, writing: “We made it to the Taj Mahal. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!!!! So amazing.”

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