In a déjà vu moment last night during the 2013 Miss USA competition, a contestant left American squirming uncomfortably as she tried to answer a question about income disparity.
Last night, Miss Utah USA Marissa Powell recalled a moment during the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant when then Miss South Carolina Teen USA Caitlin Upton gained international notoriety for her nonsensical answer to a question.
During the question and answer portion of the competition, pageant judge Nene Leakes cited a recent report showing that in 40 percent of American families with children, woman are the primary earners, yet they earn less than men.
Leaks asked Powell what this says about society. Powell's answer was less eloquent and certainly not rehearsed.
“I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive to…to figure out how to create jobs right now,” Powell replied, clearly thrown off by the context of the question.
“That is the biggest problem,” she continued. “I think especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem.”
Of course in the high-stress world of pageantry, Powell is not the first contestant to fumble out of the gate. In 2007, Upton infamously answered a question with a response that had America gasping, face-palming and grinding its teeth.
When asked why she thought a fifth of Americans are unable to locate the United States on a world map, Upton responded, “I personally believe that, U.S. Americans are unable to do so, because some … people out there in our nation that don't have maps.”
She continued, much to our chagrin, “I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should … our education over here in the U.S., should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”
Powell placed as the third runner up last night. Upton also placed fourth.