Question about fair pay trips up Miss USA contestant Marissa Powell

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 June, 2013, 1:51am


Miss Utah is the latest beauty queen to trip on American television - not over her gown, but during the interview segment.

Asked about fair pay for women at the Miss USA pageant on Sunday night, Marissa Powell gave a rambling, awkwardly worded answer that included several long pauses and the phrase "create education better".

We need to see how to create education better ... Thank you

The cringe-inducing response was getting lots of buzz on Monday. As a video of the interview racked up hundreds of thousands of views, pageant co-owner Donald Trump told the haters on Twitter that anyone can lose their train of thought.

The question was a bit of a head scratcher in itself.

"A recent report shows that in 40 per cent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?" judge Nene Leakes asked.

"I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive … to …," said Powell, 21, appearing to lose her way. After a long pause, she continued: "… figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think, especially the men are … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you."

Despite the stammering, she came third runner-up.

Powell is not the only beauty to mangle the interview. Blunders are part of the appeal of the live show, and hers was certainly not the pageant's worst.

Miss South Carolina took that crown with her 2007 "such as"-filled response to a question about why Americans can't find their own country on a map. That word-soup answer managed to include South Africa, Iraq, nation building and an allusion to a supposed map shortage in the US

Miss California 2009 brought the phrase "opposite marriage" into the mainstream when she told gay blogger Perez Hilton that she opposed same-sex marriage.

In December, Miss Venezuela became the talk of the internet after she attempted to answer a question in English during the Miss Universe contest, also held in Las Vegas. Her answer was unintelligible at times, and fans said it cost her the competition.

But at least Miss Venezuela had a language barrier to blame.