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After risque images surface, Mexican model's candidacy sparks controversy

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 3:31 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
  • Giselle Arellano wanted to run for a post as a lawmaker for Mexico's National Action Party
  • Candidacy came under fire earlier this month after some accused her of working as an escort
  • She says she worked as a model, but never as an escort
  • Arellano says she is "not ashamed" of a video showing her scantily clad

(CNN) -- In one picture, the political candidate wears a bright blue business suit, standing with her arms crossed beside her campaign pledge to bring "hope for your family." In another, she wears white lace underwear and angel wings.

Both images show Giselle Arellano, who was running for a spot on the ballot as a conservative National Action Party candidate representing migrants in the local congress of Mexico's Zacatecas state.

The 33-year-old's candidacy came under fire earlier this month after some accused her of working as an escort in Las Vegas.

Arellano lost a party primary this week, but Tuesday she said that she's planning to contest the results.

She denies that she ever worked as an escort and says the risque images of her, which sparked debate when they started circulating online and in local media reports earlier this month, came from a modeling shoot.

Arellano accused political opponents of attacking her and all women in Zacatecas.

"Those who have orchestrated this campaign will not be successful, because these angel wings that are seen in the video, are those that have allowed many women to fly through these kinds of storms and the macho desires of those who keep seeing women as objects," she wrote on her website.

She said the widely circulated video, which shows her scantily clad and posing with several other women, was promoting a party in Las Vegas that she did not attend.

"I am not ashamed of it. ... I want to make it very clear, that I do not own nor have I ever worked in a brothel, nor have I been an escort," she wrote.

But the video drew the attention of leaders from the National Action Party, who disavowed her candidacy last week, saying she did not have "an honest means of living," Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency reported.

In campaign videos, Arellano says she competed in beauty pageants, studied marketing, speaks five languages, worked as a translator in immigrant courts in Los Angeles and started two businesses in Las Vegas.

"I have lived in flesh and blood the pain of migration, and I know the needs that come up when you are in a foreign country. I have also suffered discrimination. I know the great effort of migrants to achieve their goals," she says. "There has been much speculation about my character on social networks and in some media, about my past. Today, I am here facing it, because I am ashamed of nothing. I have a calm conscience and I am good with God."

CNN's Ariel Crespo contributed to this report.

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